I just became a fan of Michael Ealy. What can you tell me about him?
—Rebecca Black, Tucson, Ariz.
The Silver Spring, Maryland-born actor, 38, first grabbed attention with the role of Ricky Nash in Barbershop and Barbershop 2. He quickly followed that with a character completely opposite, giving a spine-tingling performance as an FBI agent who infiltrates a terrorist cell in Showtime’s Sleeper Cell. That same year, he was handpicked by Oprah Winfrey to star opposite Halle Berry in the TV movie Their Eyes Were Watching God. Sleeper Cell earned Ealy a Golden Globe nomination for outstanding lead actor in a miniseries, and Eyes earned him an NAACP Image Award nomination for outstanding actor in a television movie, miniseries or dramatic special.
Other film credits include Underworld: Awakening and the box-office hit Think Like a Man, Takers, For Colored Girls, Seven Pounds and Miracle at St. Anna.
Ealy’s other series work includes FlashForward, Californication and The Good Wife.
He currently can be seen showing his lighter side as Travis Marks on the USA Network series Common Law.
“I have always wanted to play roles with impact,” he says. “If you look at a show like Sleeper Cell, Darwyn was the first African-American FBI agent who was also a Muslim who infiltrated a terrorist cell, whose father was a Black Panther. He had so many layers, and it was such a powerful show, and it was so timely when it happened,” he says.
“The same thing with Common Law. Travis is an important part of the show. He is a hard-nosed detective, but he also has a lot of heart and he knows how to deal with people. He is one of the most likeable characters I have ever played.”