December 24, 1977
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Alexandra Elaine Ricigliano
A character actor who was often cast as a villain, Michael Raymond-James impressed audiences with a breakout role on HBO's "True Blood" (2008-14) as a Southern lady-killer. The epic vampire drama, which fused gothic love stories, cinematic gore, and plenty of onscreen nudity, became an overnight cult sensation, and turned its cast into A-list superstars. Raymond-James reaped much from "True Blood's" popularity, scoring a lead role on "Terriers" (FX, 2010), as a retired criminal who links up with a discharged police officer (Donal Logue) to form a private investigation unit. His nuanced performance and onscreen chemistry with Logue solidified Raymond-James as a viable actor, and established him as one of Hollywood's most sought-after talents for years to come.Born on Dec. 24, 1977 in Michigan, Michael Raymond-James studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York, and began his career as a stage actor. He made his onscreen acting debut in the independent feature "Minor Blues" (2000), followed by an appearance on the first season of the CBS crime drama "Hack" (CBS, 2002-04), which starred David Morse and Andre Braugher. Raymond-James guest-starred on several hit television series early in his career, including "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000-15) and "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009), while taking on edgy roles in feature films such as the sexually charged Southern drama "Black Snake Moan" (2006), opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci.Raymond-James snagged a breakout role on HBO's "True Blood," a provocative gothic drama series based on Charlaine Harris' "The Southern Vampire Mysteries" novels, including "Dead Until Dark" (2001) and "Dead in the Family" (2010). Created and produced by Academy Award winner Alan Ball, "True Blood" followed the residents, both human and supernatural, cohabitating in the fictional Louisiana town of Bon Temps. The series starred Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress who falls in love with a vampire named Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer). Raymond-James was cast as Rene Lenier, a good friend of Sookie's brother Jason (Ryan Kwanten) and frequent patron at Merlotte's, the restaurant where she worked. Raymond-James' character was revealed to be a serial murderer who targeted Bon Temps women who had relationships with vampires. Even though his character met a gruesome fate during the explosive first season, Raymond-James returned as Rene's evil ghost during later seasons.His appearance on "True Blood" launched Raymond-James career and paved the way for feature roles on television and in films. In 2010, he starred on the FX buddy-detective series "Terriers" as Britt Pollack, a hotheaded ex-thief with a Peter Pan syndrome who partners up with a former police officer (Donal Logue) and forms an unlicensed detective agency in Southern California. He first met his co-star Logue on the set of NBC's short-lived series, "Life" (2007-09), where they bonded over acting and Jack Kerouac. When asked about why the show was titled "Terriers," Raymond-James explained in an interview with Cinemablend.com that even though terriers are not the prettiest dogs, they remain loyal and get the job done. Positive critical reviews for "Terriers" created much hype for the series when it premiered in September 2010.