Conversation on November 10, 2012
Michael Beach made his first foray into acting in high school, when a friend talked him into auditioning for a school play. He secured entry to, and graduated from New York’s famed Juilliard School; from there he performed in many off-Broadway and regional theater plays. Eventually he made his way to Los Angeles, starring in theater productions “Ascension Day” and “Much Ado About Nothing.”
Breaking into films Beach worked with acclaimed directors such as Tony Scott, James Cameron, Robert Altman and Mike Figgis. Beach splashed into menacing roles such as Pluto in Billy Bob Thornton’s crime-drama One False Move (1992). In a conflict of critique, many fans considered his role as the cheating husband John in 1995’s Waiting to Exhale (1995), opposite Angela Bassett and Whitney Houston, as his breakout role. On the other hand, critics panned the movie for its syrupy overzealous tones. Beach moved to a more meatier, albeit typecast, role as the cheating husband in 1997’s hit Soul Food (1997) opposite Vanessa Williams and Vivica A. Fox, about a family dealing with death and family survival. Directed by George Tillman Jr. and produced by Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, the film received rave reviews from critics.
Switching from television to film, Beach starred as Monte “Doc” Parker, an idealistic paramedic, on NBC’s Third Watch (1999). He also had a recurring role for a few seasons on NBC’s Emmy Award-winning drama ER (1994), portraying Jeanie Boulet’s (Gloria Reuben) husband who had contracted the HIV virus and passed it on to her. Stretching his Juilliard training, Beach sandwiches mainstream films such as A Family Thing (1996) with Robert Duvall and James Earl Jones with independent films. Beach co-starred in his friend Eriq La Salle‘s cable movie Rebound: The Legend of Earl ‘The Goat’ Manigault (1996) opposite Don Cheadle. The two will team together for La Salle’s upcoming Crazy as Hell (2002). Beach also starred in indie director and TV star Tim Reid‘s Asunder (1999) with Blair Underwood.