Michael Jonathan Zegen (born February 20, 1979)[1] is an American actor, best known for his role as Joel Maisel on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. He also played probie firefighter Damien Keefe on the FX Network television drama Rescue Me.

Michael Zegen
Michael Zegen (Mad Men).jpg
Zegen at the Mad Men premiere
Born (1979-02-20) February 20, 1979 (age 41)
Other namesMike Zegen
EducationSkidmore College
Years active2002 – present

Early life and educationEdit

Zegen was born to a teacher mother and a lawyer father, and lived in Glen Rock, New Jersey, before moving to nearby Ridgewood when he was five. He has two brothers.[1] He is Jewish, and his maternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors from Ukraine and Poland.[2][3][4]

He attended Ridgewood High School, where he was active in the school's theater program.[5] Zegen is a 2001 graduate of Skidmore College.[6]


His role on Rescue Me began as a recurring character in seasons 1–3, playing the nephew of series lead Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary). In seasons 5–6, he was promoted to the main cast when his character began probationary firefighter school to become a firefighter.[7]

In late 2010, Zegen was cast as gangster Bugsy Siegel for the second, third, and fifth season of the HBO series, Boardwalk Empire.[8] In 2011, Zegen, along with James Ransone, was cast in supporting roles in the HBO comedy series How To Make It In America. In mid-2011, Zegen was cast in a recurring guest role in the second season of the AMC series The Walking Dead.[9] In 2014 he created the role of Liam off-Broadway in the dark comedy Bad Jews.[1][3]


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Bittersweet Place Todd
2007 The Girl Next Door Eddie
2008 Assassination of a High School President Steven Lohman
2009 Adventureland Eric
Taking Woodstock Bernie (Young Man #1)
The Box Garcin
2012 Frances Ha Benji
Ex-Girlfriends The Blogger
2015 Brooklyn Maurizio
2017 Becks Pete
2018 Tyrel Eli
The Seagull Mikhail
TBA The Stand-In Post-production
Year Title Role Notes
2004 The Sopranos Partygoer 1 episode
2004–2011 Rescue Me Damien Keefe 42 episodes
2006 Love Monkey Luther 1 episode
2009 Mercy Jason Keener 1 episode
2011 How to Make It in America Andy Sussman 4 episodes (Season 2)
2011–2014 Boardwalk Empire Ben Siegel 11 episodes (Seasons 2–3; 5)
2012 The Walking Dead Randall Culver 4 episodes (Season 2)
2014 Girls Joe 3 episodes (Season 3)
2016 BrainDead Ben Valderrama 1 episode
2017–present The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Joel Maisel 18 episodes


  1. ^ a b c Blank, Matthew (October 15, 2013). "Playbill.com's Cue & A: "Boardwalk Empire" and Bad Jews Star Michael Zegen". Playbill.com. Archived from the original on July 27, 2014.
  2. ^ "The Allure of the Jewish Tough Guy, From 'Exodus' to 'Boardwalk Empire'". The Atlantic. June 30, 2011. Retrieved March 1, 2012. Zegen, a young Jewish actor from the suburbs of Jersey,...
  3. ^ a b "Bad Jews Kvetching Over Good Soup Off-Broadway". TheaterMania.com. December 3, 2012. Retrieved June 30, 2013. My grandfather (who was a Holocaust survivor) discovered years after that his brother had survived (also),...
  4. ^ Posted December 24, 2015 / Lonnie Firestone, JTA (December 24, 2015). "From HBO to Arthur Miller, what a 'tough guy' actor learned from his Jewish grandma". AZ Jewish Post. Retrieved April 11, 2017.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Stiansen, Laura Adams. "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel praised by Ridgewood's Michael Zegen for its Emmy wins", The Record (Bergen County), September 18, 2018. Accessed December 20, 2018. "He’s played American mobster 'Bugsy' Siegel in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and a bandit-turned-zombie in The Walking Dead; now he stars as Joel Maisel in the Amazon original series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. So, Ridgewood native Michael Zegen may look very familiar.... But the 39-year-old actor, who now calls New York City home, hasn’t forgotten his Jersey roots ('I still prefer Paramus Park to Garden State Plaza,' he says. 'Guess I’m just nostalgic') or the Ridgewood High School theater program that helped him develop his passion (and that he used to consider his 'home')."
  6. ^ "2001 Graduates" (PDF). Skidmore College.
  7. ^ "Actor Michael Zegen of 'Rescue Me' opens up about playing a brain-dead firefighter". Los Angeles Times. September 1, 2010.
  8. ^ "Catching Up With Boardwalk Empire Actor Michael Zegen". www.pastemagazine.com. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  9. ^ "Walking Dead's Michael Zegen Eulogizes [Spoiler]". tvline.com. Retrieved September 22, 2016.

External linksEdit