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Michael Emerson

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Michael Emerson
Born September 7, 1954 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
Notable Roles Benjamin Linus in Lost
William Hinks in The Practice
Notable Episodes
Awards 2 Emmy Awards
2 IVy Awards

Michael Emerson is an American actor. He played the role of Benjamin Linus on ABC's Lost.



Michael Emerson was born in 1954 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and grew up in nearby Toledo. He attended Drake University in Iowa, graduating in 1976 with a degree in Theatre Arts and moved to New York City, New York. Unable to find work as an actor, Emerson took retail jobs and worked as a freelance illustrator for publications like The Boston Globe and The New York Times. In 1986, he moved to Jacksonville, Florida and acted in local productions through 1993. In 1993, Emerson enrolled in the Alabama Shakespeare Festival's University of Alabama-sponsored Master of Fine Arts/Professional Actor Training program. Graduating in 1995, he returned to New York and appeared in the annual Alabama Shakespeare Festival showcase. Divorced once, Emerson married actress Carrie Preston in September of 1998.

While acting in regional theater productions, Michael Emerson got his big break in 1997 when he starred as Oscar Wilde in the off-broadway play, Gross Indecency: The Trials of Oscar Wilde. The following year he acted in the off-Broadway production of The Misanthrope with Uma Thurman and in 1999's The Iceman Cometh with Kevin Spacey. In 2000 to 2001, Emerson moved into television, playing a confessed serial killer in several episodes of The Practice for which he won a 2001 Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. A few years later he then appeared in the 2004 horror movie Saw as Zep Hindle.


Starring Roles

Series Role Year(s) Season(s)
Lost Benjamin Linus 2006–2010 2 3 4 5 6
Person of Interest Harold Finch 2011–2016 1 2 3 4 5

Guest Starring Roles

Series Role Episode Airdate
The District 1x01 - Pilot October 7, 2000
The Practice William Hinks 5x08 - Mr. Hinks Goes to Town November 26, 2000
The Practice William Hinks 5x09 - The Deal December 10, 2000
The Practice William Hinks 5x10 - Friends and Ex-Lovers December 17, 2000
The Practice William Hinks 5x11 - An Early Frost January 7, 2001
The Practice
William Hinks 5x12 - Payback January 14, 2001
The Practice
William Hinks 5x13 - The Thin Line January 14, 2001
The Education of Max Bickford 1x02 - Herding Cats September 30, 2001
Law & Order: Criminal Intent Gerald "Gerry" Rankin 1x16 - Phantom March 17, 2002
The X-Files Oliver Martin 9x17 - Sunshine Days May 12, 2002
Without a Trace Stuart Wesmar 1x19 - Victory for Humanity April 10, 2003
Skin Scarpelli 1x02 - Secrets & Lies October 27, 2003
Whoopi F. Thomas Erickson 1x11 - The Fat and the Frivolous December 9, 2003
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Allan Shaye 5x14 - Ritual February 3, 2004
The Inside Marty Manning 1x03 - Pre-Filer June 22, 2005

Made-for-TV Movies

Title Role Airdate Series/Banner
Orpheus Descending Clown September 24, 1990
Grace & Glorie Arnold Dudley December 13, 1998 Hallmark Hall of Fame (specials)

Awards and Accolades

IVy Awards

(3 Nominations, 2 Wins)

  • Nominated: Best Guest Actor or Actress in a Drama Series (2005-06)
Lost: 2x14 - One of Them through 2x20 - Two for the Road and 2x23 - Live Together, Die Alone
  • Won: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2006-07)
  • Won: Readers' Choice Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2006-07)

Primetime Emmy Awards

(2 Wins in 5 Nominations)

  • Won: Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series (2001)
The Practice
  • Won: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2009)