Day 36, No. 36. Michael Chiklis

Michael Chiklis ActorHAIRCUT 100: Day 36, No. 36. Michael Chiklis: Actor, director, producer and Thing. One of those great character actors, who seems made for hard-boiled, morally ambivalent cop roles, Greek-American Chiklis has that whole Telly Savalas thing working for him, with a craggy ‘Don’t even think about it’ look crossed with a smile that could melt steel and charm the arse of the devil himself. Chiklis came to prominence (for all the wrong reasons) playing John Belushi in the critically slated and criminally underrated Wired in 1989. He built up a solid film and TV portfolio over the next decade, most notably playing Curly Howard in the ABC Three Stooges biopic in 2000. His breakout role, however, came in The Shield (2002 – 2008), alongside The Sopranos and The Wire a show that many critics believe heralded a golden age in sophisticated American crime drama. As Detective Vic Mackey, Chiklis’ powerhouse performance defined ‘ends-justifying-the-means’ inner city policing, a characterisation deepened by corruption and based on the true story of the LAPD ‘Crash’ anti-gang squad, several members of which were implicated in Shakespearean intrigues of drug theft, bank robbery and murder. ‘I’ve been allowed to explore – OK, wallow in – grey areas,’ said Chiklis, ‘and as an actor that’s an extraordinary experience … If you asked the LAPD formally even now, they would still have to denounce the show to some degree. But if you ask the rank and file they love it – they’ll tell you it brings to life the ambiguity of the job.’ Chiklis is presently to be seen in American Horror Story and Gotham; but to a generation of geeky kids he will always be Ben Grimm, the ‘Thing,’ the edgy, funny working class one in The Fantastic Four, and he is known for never turning down an autograph request from a kid, because, he says: ‘How do you say “no” to an 8-year-old?’

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