Michael Emerson (born September 7, 1954) is an American theatre, television, and movie actor. He won an "Outstanding Guest Actor" Emmy in 2001 for a part on The Practice. He is best known for playing Zep Hindle in the 2004 movie Saw and Ben Linus in the television series Lost.
|Years active||1986 – present|
|Spouse(s)||Carrie Preston (1998 – present)|
|Awards||Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor, Drama Series|
2001 The Practice
Emerson was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and grew up in the nearby town of Toledo, Iowa. He studied theater and art at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and graduated in 1976. He then moved to New York City. He had trouble finding work as an actor so he took retail jobs and worked as a freelance illustrator. In 1986, he moved with his first wife to Jacksonville, Florida. In Jacksonville, between 1986 to 1993, he was in local productions, and worked as a teacher and director.
Emerson thought about not being an actor and being a teacher instead, because it is a more stable job. He decided to go back to school and get a Master of Fine Arts. He thought it might help him meet theatre professionals and directors.
Emerson's first big role was in 1997. He starred as Oscar Wilde in Moises Kaufman's play, Gross Indecency: The Trials of Oscar Wilde, and then was in many other plays. In 1998, he acted with Uma Thurman in the off-Broadway production of The Misanthrope. In 1999, he played the part of Willie Oban in The Iceman Cometh with Kevin Spacey. He co-starred with Kate Burton in both Give Me Your Answer, Do! and Hedda Gabler.
In movies and television, Emerson played somewhat dangerous, damaged characters. He played the roles so that the character would seem mysterious. In 2001, he won an Emmy Award as "Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series", for playing the (fictional) confessed serial killer William Hinks in several episodes of The Practice.
One of Emerson's most well-known works was in 2004, as the character Zep Hindle in the horror movie Saw. In 2006, Emerson began guest-starring on the television series Lost as Henry Gale/Ben Linus . He was originally planned to be in a small number of episodes, but he returned for season 3 as a main cast member. In 2007, he was nominated for another Emmy Award for his work on the series.