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John Michael Beck Taylor (born February 4, 1949), commonly known as Michael Beck, is an American actor, known for his role as Swan in the 1979 film The Warriors,[1] and as Sonny Malone in Xanadu.

Michael Beck
John Michael Beck Taylor

(1949-02-04) February 4, 1949 (age 70)
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Years active1971–2005, 2015
Spouse(s)Cari Beck (1980–present)


Life and careerEdit

Early lifeEdit

Beck was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the third of nine children. He attended Memphis University School and then Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi on a football scholarship. While in college he was initiated into Kappa Alpha Order fraternity. After graduating with a degree in economics, he was one of 30 (out of 2,500) applicants chosen for London's Central School of Speech and Drama. Beck's stage credits, beginning with college, include: Camelot (he was King Arthur); Of Mice and Men (he was George Milton); Romeo and Juliet (he was Tybalt); and Cat On a Hot Tin Roof.


Beck is known predominantly for his roles as Swan in the action film The Warriors (1979), Sonny Malone in Xanadu (1980),[2] Lieutenant Commander Dallas in Megaforce (1982), and Koda in Triumphs of a Man Called Horse (1983). Both the Xanadu and Megaforce roles garnered him Razzie nominations, for Worst Actor and Worst Supporting Actor, respectively.[citation needed] Beck has appeared in other movies such as Warlords of the 21st Century (1982), Wes Craven's Chiller (1985), Gone to Texas (1986, as James Bowie) and Forest Warrior (1996).[citation needed]

Beck appeared as Hans Helms in the 1978 TV miniseries Holocaust, and starred in a short-lived television series Houston Knights (1987). More recently, he appeared in television shows such as JAG, Walker, Texas Ranger, In the Heat of the Night, as the Mars-born terrorist-turned-cyborg assassin Abel Horn in Babylon 5 (episode "Spider in the Web"), and as Mr. Jones in the spin-off series Crusade.

Beck has narrated numerous audiobooks of John Grisham's novels. He has also narrated Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz; A Darkness More Than Light by Michael Connelly; State of the Union by David Callahan; and the unabridged version of Bill Clinton's My Life. He also reprised his role as Swan in 2005, lending his voice to the popular video game adaptation of The Warriors.[3]

Selected filmographyEdit


Year Title Role Notes
1971 The Hard Ride Highway Thug Uncredited
1979 The Warriors Swan
1979 Mayflower: The Pilgrims' Adventure John Alden Television movie
1980 Xanadu Sonny Malone Nominated—Razzie Award for Worst Actor
1980 Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story Clarence Carnes Television movie
1981 Fly Away Home Mark Television movie
1982 Battletruck Hunter aka Warlords of the 21st Century and Destroyers
1982 Megaforce Dallas Nominated—Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor
1983 Triumphs of a Man Called Horse Koda
1983 The Golden Seal Crawford
1984 The Last Ninja Kenjiro Sakura Television movie
1984 The Streets Sgt. Danny Wreade Television movie
1984 Rearview Mirror Jerry Sam Hopps Television movie
1985 Chiller Miles Creighton Television movie
(aka Wes Craven's Chiller)
1985 Blackout Mike Patterson Television movie
1986 Gone to Texas James Bowie Television movie
(aka Houston: The Legend of Texas)
1990 Only One Survived Paul Haskel Television movie
1991 Deadly Game Peterson Television movie
1991 Stranger at My Door Jimmy Lee Dancey Television movie
1991 Final Judgement Delaney Television movie
1993 Fade to Black Braith Television movie
1996 Forest Warrior Arlen Slaighter
1998 The Jungle Book: Search for the Lost Treasure Prof. Gershwin Donovan
2015 The Grace of Jake Henry Haynes
2015 The Warriors: Last Subway Ride Home Swan Video


Year Title Role Notes
1977 Ryan's Hope N/A 2 episodes
1978 Holocaust Hans Helm 3 episodes
1984 Celebrity T.J. Luther 3 episodes
1987–88 Houston Knights Sgt. Levon Lundy 30 episodes
1989 Murder, She Wrote Danny Schubert Episode: "The Search for Peter Kerry"
1990 Murder, She Wrote Justin Fields Episode: "Trials and Tribulations"
1993 In the Heat of the Night Sonny Roper Episode: "A Deadly Affection"
1993 Murder, She Wrote Brian Bentall Episode: "The Big Kill"
1994 Robin's Hoods Det. Stephen DeCosta 3 episodes
1994 Babylon 5 Abel Horn Episode: "Spider in the Web"
1995 McKenna Jon Doe / Alex Episode: "Racing in the Streets"
1996−98 Walker, Texas Ranger Adam McGuire 2 episodes
1997 Diagnosis: Murder Frank Waldeck Episode: "Deadly Games"
1998 Born Free Luke Episode: "The Reunion"
1999 Crusade Mr. Jones Episode: "The Well of Forever"
2001 Nash Bridges Adult Bobby Bridges Episode: "Quack Fever"
2004 JAG Senator Carter Innes Episode: "Whole New Ball Game"


  1. ^ Maslin, Janet (February 10, 1979). "The Warriors (1979) Movie: 'Warriors' Creates Visual Style That Is Stark:The Cast". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Maslin, Janet (August 9, 1980). "Xanadu (1980) MISS NEWTON-JOHN IN 'XANADU'". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Schiesel, Seth (October 16, 2005). "Gangs of New York". The New York Times.

External linksEdit