Michael Michele

Michael Michele Williams (born August 30, 1966) is an American actress and fashion designer.[1] She began her career on stage before appearing opposite Wesley Snipes in the 1991 film New Jack City.

Michael Michele
Michael Michele Williams

(1966-08-30) August 30, 1966 (age 55)
OccupationActress, fashion designer
Years active1987–present

In the 1990s, Michele had leading roles in two CBS television series: crime drama Dangerous Curves (1992–93) and prime time soap opera Central Park West. Michele also had a role as Malik Yoba‘s love interest on the police drama New York Undercover. She later joined the cast of NBC police drama Homicide: Life on the Street (1998–99) playing Det. Rene Sheppard, and from 1999 to 2002 played Dr. Cleo Finch in the NBC medical drama ER. She also has appeared in the films The 6th Man (1997), Ali (2001), Dark Blue (2002) and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003). From 2017 to 2018, Michele starred as Ayanna Floyd in the Fox prime time soap opera Star, and in 2019 she joined The CW prime time soap opera Dynasty as Dominique Deveraux.

Early lifeEdit

Michael Michele Williams was born in Evansville, Indiana, the elder of two daughters. Her father, Jerry, is a furniture-rental entrepreneur and her mother, Theresa, was employed by Bristol-Myers.[2] She was named for her mother's best friend, Michael Ann. Michele attended Howard Roosa Elementary School (a K-8 school at the time) and Benjamin Bosse High School, where she was active on the basketball team.[3]


Michele has appeared in music videos by R&B singers Freddie Jackson and Eric Gable. In 1989 she sued actor Eddie Murphy in a high-profile Hollywood lawsuit alleging she was fired from the movie Harlem Nights for rejecting his romantic advances.[2] "She had the role that's now being played by Jasmine Guy, from A Different World," Murphy told Rolling Stone. "The fact of the matter is, I wanted someone with greater marquee value than Michael Michele. She wasn't working out. As for her claim that I was touching her, realistically speaking, if you're gonna be a sleaze and try to sleep with somebody, you try to sleep with 'em before you give 'em the part… In her lawsuit, she says I tried to touch her, like I was a pervert. I never tried to touch this woman. We had, like, four conversations, each time with up to sixty people around us on a sound stage. But the lawsuit itself didn't bother me. Lawsuits for me are an occupational hazard."[4] Michele's suit was later settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.[5]

In 1991, Michele had a starring role opposite Wesley Snipes in the 1991 film New Jack City directed by Mario Van Peebles.[6] Despite the film's success, Michele did not have her next movie role until six years later, starring opposite Marlon Wayans in the comedy film The 6th Man. In 1992, she went on to star on the CBS late-night crime drama series Dangerous Curves, which ran for two seasons.[7][8] In 1993, she played a leading role in the six-part NBC soap opera miniseries Trade Winds.[9] The following year, she had a major recurring role in the Fox police drama series New York Undercover. She left the show in early 1995 to play one of the leads in the CBS prime time soap opera Central Park West alongside Mädchen Amick, Lauren Hutton and Raquel Welch.[10] The series was not successful and was cancelled after two seasons in 1996.

In 1998, Michele joined the cast of NBC police drama Homicide: Life on the Street as Det. Rene Sheppard on the show's final season.[11] She received her first NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series nomination for this role. Michele reprised her role in a Law & Order episode in 1999 and in the television movie Homicide: The Movie in 2000. She later joined another NBC series, medical drama ER playing Dr. Cleo Finch from 1999 to 2002, for three seasons. She received another NAACP Image Award nomination.

In 2001, Michele played Veronica Porché Ali in the biographical drama film Ali opposite Will Smith.[12] She later had two more movie roles: crime drama Dark Blue (2002) and romantic comedy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003).[7] She returned to television in 2004, with a starring role in the short-lived UPN legal drama series Kevin Hill opposite Taye Diggs. In 2007, she guest starred on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and in two episodes of House as a doctor who had previously worked with the CIA. In 2009, Michele starred in the Hallmark Channel film Relative Stranger with fellow ER cast member Eriq La Salle. In 2011, Michele had a recurring role on the CW teen drama Gossip Girl. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, Michele also starred in a number of unsold television pilots.

In 2017, Michele returned to series regular work playing villainous Ayanna Floyd, president of the record label, in the Fox prime time soap opera Star. Her character was described as a modern-day black Alexis Carrington.[13] She also was cast in a recurring role in the Oprah Winfrey Network drama series Queen Sugar.[14]

On March 22, 2019, it was announced that Michele had been cast as Dominique Deveraux for later in the second season of the Dynasty reboot series.[15][16]

Personal lifeEdit

She has a son, born in 2004.[1]

In 2005, TV Guide ranked Michele # 36 on its "50 Sexiest Stars of All Time" list.[17] In 2012, she was named one of the "50 Hottest Biracial Women" by Complex Magazine.[18]



Year Title Character Notes
1990 Def by Temptation Lady #6
1991 New Jack City Selina
1997 The 6th Man R.C. St. John
1998 The Substitute 2: School's Out Kara Lavelle
2001 Ali Veronica Porché Ali
2002 Dark Blue Beth Williamson
2003 How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days Judy Spears


Year Title Character Notes
1988 1st & Ten Gillian Episode: "Saturday, Bloody Saturday"
1991 Private Times Herself TV pilot
1992–1993 Dangerous Curves Holly Williams Main cast
1993 Trade Winds Maxine Phillips TV miniseries
1994–1995 New York Undercover Sandra Gil Recurring cast; season 1
1995–1996 Central Park West Nikki Sheridan Main cast
1998 Players Sylvie Episode: "Con-tinental"
Peter Benchley's Creature Tauna TV miniseries
1998–1999 Homicide: Life on the Street Detective Rene Sheppard Main cast; season 7
1999 Law & Order Detective Rene Sheppard Episode: "Sideshow"
1999–2002 ER Dr. Cleo Finch Main cast; seasons 6–8
2000 Homicide: The Movie Detective Rene Sheppard NBC movie
2004–2005 Kevin Hill Jessie Gray Main cast
2005 The Hunt for the BTK Killer Detective Baines CBS movie
2006 Company Town Bridget Wilson TV pilot
2007 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Valerie Sennet Episode: "Burned"
House Dr. Samira Terzi Recurring cast; season 4
2007 Judy's Got a Gun Pamela Coates TV pilot
2009 Relative Stranger Charlotte Hallmark Channel movie
2011 Gossip Girl Jane Bettinger Recurring cast; season 5
Eden Tara Martin Episode: "Pilot"
2014 Delirium Elyse Hargrove TV pilot
2015 The Following Sheila Episode: "A Hostile Witness"
2016 Blue Bloods Lois Potter Episode: "Unbearable Loss"
2016–2018 MacGyver Diane Episodes: "Scissors" & "Murdoc + Handcuffs"
2017–2018 Star Ayanna Floyd Main cast; season 2
2017–2021 Queen Sugar Darlene Sutton Recurring Cast: Season 2-5
2019–present Dynasty Dominique Deveraux Recurring cast, season 2; main cast, seasons 3–present

Music video appearancesEdit

Freddie Jackson:

  • "Have You Ever Loved Somebody" (1986)
  • "Nice and Slow" (1988)
  • "I Don't Want to Lose Your Love" (1988)
  • "Make Love Easy" (1993)

Eric Gable:

  • "Remember the First Time" (1989)
  • "Can't Wait To Get You Home" (1991)

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Awards Category Recipient Outcome
1999 NAACP Image Awards NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series "Homicide: Life on the Street" Nominated
2000 NAACP Image Awards NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series "ER" Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2001 Nominated
2003 Black Reel Awards Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actress "Dark Blue" Nominated
2004 Teen Choice Awards Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Villain "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" Nominated


  1. ^ a b Reid, Cynthia (December 26, 2011). "Actress Michael Michele Adds Fashion Designer To Her Resume". Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Susan Schindehette; Sue Carswell; Vicki Sheff (May 29, 1989). "Pink-Slipped by Eddie Murphy, Michael Michele Vows Their Only Date Will Be in Court". People. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  3. ^ Lipton, Michael A. (April 10, 2000). "All the Right Moves". People. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  4. ^ Zehme, Bill (August 24, 1989). "Eddie Murphy: Call Him Money". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 30, 2016.
  5. ^ Kinetic Koncepts (April 7, 2017). ""New Jack City" ACTRESS Revealed Why She Filed $75M LAWSUIT Against Eddie Murphy". Old School Music. Kenner, LA.
  6. ^ "New Jack City". Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Michael Michele biography and filmography - Michael Michele movies". Tribute.ca. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  8. ^ "Dangerous Curves". Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  9. ^ "Trade Winds". TVGuide.com. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  10. ^ Horst, Carole (September 11, 1995). "Central Park West". Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  11. ^ "Shooting From The Lip". Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  12. ^ "STYLE & SUBSTANCE: MICHAEL MICHELE". December 9, 2001. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  13. ^ Petski, Denise (August 14, 2017). "'Star': Michael Michele Cast As Series Regular In Season 2 Of Fox Series". Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  14. ^ Otterson, Joe (July 26, 2017). "'Queen Sugar' Renewed for Season 3, Ava DuVernay Inks First-Look TV Deal With Harpo Films". Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  15. ^ Porter, Rick (March 22, 2019). "Dynasty Adds Fan-Favorite Character to Help Offset Departures". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  16. ^ Petski, Denise (March 22, 2019). "Michael Michele To Play Dominique Deveraux In CW's Dynasty". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  17. ^ TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2007. pp. 202. ISBN 978-0-7624-3007-9.
  18. ^ "The 50 Hottest Biracial Women". Complex Magazine. Retrieved April 30, 2014.

External linksEdit