Dexter is an extremely likeable, charming blood splatter expert for the Miami Police Department. But hiding beneath the mundane exterior hides a different Dexter, one obsessed with meting his own twisted brand of justice by stalking and murdering the guilty. He’s the perfect psychopath for the job because, in his own words, he cares “.about people as much as he cares about lawn furniture.”
Michael Carlyle Hall was born on February 1, 1971 and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. His father, William Hall, an employee of IBM, died from prostate cancer when Hall was only 11-years old. “At that age, my father’s death was a real marker. Certainly, for a young boy, there’s no good age, but I think I was on the cusp of a time in my life where I was starting to reach puberty, to relate to my father–or as a result, I was becoming more like him. To have him … Something gets frozen. As you revisit it for the rest of your life, it’s sort of this slow but hopefully sure crawling-out of that frozen moment.” Michael’s mother, Janice Hall, a guidance counselor, earned her doctorate in education after his father passed. Hall grew up an only child, a sister having died in infancy before his birth. “There was a very one-on-one, immediate family relationship, my mom and I”, he says.
A formally trained stage actor, Michael C. Hall made an indelible impression as younger brother ‘David Fisher’ on HBO’s groundbreaking series Six Feet Under. During the series’ five year run, Hall earned an Emmy Award nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Drama Series and the AFI Male Television ‘Actor of the Year’ Award. A North Carolina native and graduate of New York University’s Master of Fine Arts program in acting, Hall has appeared in nearly a dozen major stage productions. He made his Broadway debut as the emcee in Cabaret, directed by Sam Mendes and most recently starred as Billy Flynn in Chicago. Off-Broadway, Hall starred opposite Alec Baldwin and Angela Bassett in Macbeth, directed by George C. Wolfe and Cymbeline with Liev Schreiber for the New York Shakespeare Festival. Other performances include Timon of Athens and Henry V at the Public Theater, The English Teachers for Manhattan Class Company, the Manhattan Theater Club’s production of Corpus Christi, directed by Joe Mantello and Skylight at the Mark Taper Forum.
Early on in life, Michael C. Hall discovered acting, cutting his teeth in “What Love Is” while in the second grade. When he was in fifth grade, he began singing in a boy’s choir, then graduated to musicals in high school, performing in all the old standards – “The Sound of Music,” “Oklahoma!” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” He was also a member of a chamber choir that spent 10 weeks touring Austria. “There was always an impulse to perform in one way or another. Most of my experiences performing growing up were doing musicals, singing, being in choirs–I sang in choirs when I was in college as well. I was a choir geek the first couple of years. Then I became a theater geek. I took an acting class my sophomore year and realized that in terms of [my] enthusiasm and aptitude, it was definitely the thing.” After graduation, Hall attended Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana in 1993, a liberal arts school from which he assumed he would emerge as a lawyer. Instead, Michael began taking acting classes and thinking about performing as a viable, yet riskier, career. He finished his studies at Earlham as one of only three theater majors, an unenviable position for someone looking to find acting work. Hall found some cache when he ventured to New York to attend grad school at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, earning a master’s of fine arts in 1996. Across the continent, he appeared in David Hare’s Skylight at the Mark Taper Forum. But his big break – on the stage at least – came when he was in a workshop performance of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Wiseguys (later renamed Bounce for its Broadway run), directed by Sam Mendes, who later directed Hall in Cabaret.
During his run on Six Feet Under, Hall found little time to do other acting, though he did occasional work on stage. In 2002, Hall was cast in a brief stint as Billy Flynn in a Broadway production of the always-popular Chicago opposite wife Amy Spangler (the couple separated in 2006). He had a supporting role as an FBI agent hunting a computer engineer (Ben Affleck) trying to recover his erased memory in John Woo’s Paycheck (2003) and appeared in the made-for-television indie drama Bereft (2004). In 2005, Hall said goodbye to Six Feet Under when the show finished its fifth and final season. Though unsure of what his next step was, Hall was certain he didn’t want to jump right onto another television show – until he read the script for Showtime’s Dexter, a darkly comic drama about a blood-splatter technician in the Miami Police Department who moonlights as a serial killer who hunts other killers who have managed to slip through the judicial cracks. “Looking back, I guess it was kind of nuts to go straight into something else after Six Feet Under, but I recognized that Dexter would give me a chance to do something really different in a significant way,” Hall says. “I couldn’t pass it up.” The challenge of playing such a complex and ambiguous character piqued Hall’s interest right away, particularly Dexter’s inability to express authentic human emotions, giving him the opportunity to portray one of the most controversial and talked-about television characters in recent memory. While at the 67th Annual Golden Globes Awards, Michael C. Hall won Best Actor in a Drama series for his work in the fourth season of Dexter. John Lithgow who played the Trinity Killer in season four also took home Best Supporting Actor so it was a huge win for the show.
In late 2009 Michael was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s immune system. In a statement Michael said “I feel fortunate to have been diagnosed with an imminently treatable and curable condition, and I thank my doctors and nurses for their expertise and care.”