Michael Boatman – Actor/Writer
Michael Boatman is an American actor and writer and WIU graduate. He is known for his roles as New York City mayoral aide Carter Heywood in the ABC sitcom Spin City, as U.S. Army Specialist Samuel Beckett in the ABC drama series China Beach, as 101st Airborne soldier Motown in the Vietnam War movie Hamburger Hill, and as sports agent Stanley Babson in the HBO sitcom Arli$$.
Boatman studied acting at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL, where he was mentored by the Theatre Department chair, Gene Kozlowski. He played a variety of roles including Oberon in William Shakespeare‘s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Purlie in Purlie Victorious. He was also a member of the student sketch comedy troupe Shock Treatment, which performed at Macomb’s local bars and nightclubs. During his senior year Boatman won the prestigious Irene Ryan theater award for best supporting actor during the finals competition at the Kennedy Center.
In 1986, Boatman moved to Chicago, where he studied acting with Jane Brody, a popular acting teacher and casting director. Later that same year, he auditioned for and won the role of “Motown” in the critically acclaimed Vietnam War action drama, Hamburger Hill. That same year he appeared in Running on Empty with River Phoenix, and The Trial of Bernard Goetz for the PBS American Playhouse series. In 1988, he auditioned for the pilot episode of the Vietnam War era television drama, China Beach. He went on to play Samuel Beckett, the mortician in the China Beach mortuary, for the next three seasons. He later co-starred on The Jackie Thomas Show with Tom Arnold, and the short-lived WB series Muscle. In 1996, he landed a role on the ABC sitcom, Spin City, playing “Carter”, the irascible, openly gay minority affairs liaison. For his work on Spin City he was nominated for five NAACP Image Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy. He also won the GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Association Against Defamation) award for Best Actor.
At the same time he was on Spin City, Boatman played the role of “Stanley Babson”, the anal-retentive chief financial officer on the HBO original series Arliss and starred on both series simultaneously until they were canceled in 2002. For his work on Arliss Boatman was nominated for four Image Awards, also for Best Supporting Actor. He played the lead role in the critically acclaimed Charles Burnett drama, The Glass Shield. Later, he appeared in the feature films The Peacemaker, with George Clooney and Nicole Kidman, and Woman Thou Art Loosed, and in several made-for-TV movies. Michael Boatman also narrated in the WPA slave narratives in the HBO film Unchained Memories, in 2003.
In 2007, Boatman co-starred in the feature films, The Killing of Wendy (2008), American Summer and My Father’s Will. He has had many notable guest appearances, including five episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Less Than Perfect, Yes, Dear, Scrubs, CSI: Miami, Hannah Montana and Grey’s Anatomy. Boatman guest starred in the mystery/drama Warehouse 13, in July 2009.
In 2009, he joined the cast of the Lifetime comedy series Sherri, starring Sherri Shepherd. The series is based on Shepherd’s life experiences as a divorced single mom, actress and stand up comedian. Boatman plays ‘Doctor Randy Gregg’, Sherri’s son’s pediatrician and Sherri’s love interest.
More recently he has appeared as attorney Julius Cain in The Good Wife. In 2011, Boatman guest-starred as Russell Thorpe on Gossip Girl, along with Tika Sumpter, who played his daughter Raina. In 2012, Boatman became a recurring character in the FX original series Anger Management, reuniting with his former Spin City co-star Charlie Sheen as Sheen’s next door neighbor Michael. Beginning in late September 2013, he began co-starring in Nick at Nite‘s new series Instant Mom, alongside Tia Mowry-Hardrict. In 2016 Boatman recurred on the CBS All Access drama The Good Fight, reprising the role of attorney Julius Cain, the character he played on The Good Wife. He was promoted to series regular in the second season.