Michael Patrick Boatman (born October 25, 1964) is an Image Award-nominated American actor and writer. He is best known for his roles as Samuel Beckett in the drama series China Beach, as Carter Heywood in the sitcom Spin City, and as Stanley Babson in the comedy series Arli$$.
Boatman was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the son of Gwendolyn Boatman Pugh, a job supervisor for the handicapped, and Daniel Boatman, an army officer. He was raised in Chicago. Boatman is a graduate of Western Illinois University and received its "Alumni Achievement Award" in 1997.
Michael studied acting at Yale University, where he played a variety of roles including Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Purlie in Purlie Victorious. He was a member of the student sketch comedy troupe Shock Treatment, which performed at local bars and nightclubs. During his senior year Boatman won the prestigious Irene Ryan theater award for best supporting actor, during the finals competition at the Kennedy Center.
In 1986, Michael moved to Chicago, where he studied acting with Jane Brody, a popular acting teacher and casting director. Later that same year, he auditioned for and won the role of "Motown" in the critically acclaimed Vietnam action drama, Hamburger Hill. That same year he appeared in Running On Empty with River Phoenix, and The Trial of Bernard Goetz for the PBS American Playhouse series. In 1988 he auditioned for the pilot episode of the Vietnam era television drama, China Beach. He went on to play Samuel Beckett, the mortician in the China Beach mortuary, for the next three seasons. He later co-starred on The Jackie Thomas Show with Tom Arnold, and the short-lived WB series Muscle. In 1996 he won the role of Carter on the ABC sitcom, Spin City, playing "Carter", the irascible, openly gay minority affairs liaison. For his work on Spin City he was nominated for five NAACP Image Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy. He also won the GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Association Against Defamation) award for Best Actor.
In 1996, Michael also played the role of "Stanley Babson", the anal-retentive Chief Financial Officer on the HBO original series ARLI$$. For his work on ARLI$$, Michael 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.
In 2007 Michael 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 and Grey's Anatomy.
Michael is also a screenwriter and novelist. He writes in the splatterpunk horror genre, and his short stories are included in the multi-author anthologies, Until Someone Loses an Eye, Sages and Swords and Badass Horror, and magazines such as Weird Tales, Horror Garage and Red Scream. His first collection of short stories, God Laughs When You Die, was published by Dybbuk Press on October 23, 2007. His humorous horror novel, The Revenant Road, will be published by Drollerie Press in October 2008.