Michael C. Hall has definitely made a name for himself. First, it was playing David Fisher in the HBO drama series Six Feet Under and then he became a household name (not his real name but his character’s) when he played the wildly psychopathic blood-splatter analyst Dexter Morgan. But as you will soon see, there is plenty more to the actor than a closeted funeral director or a serial killer with a code.
Michael C. Hall didn’t get his start in Hollywood. His start, believe it or not, was Off-Broadway. Early on he was performing in Macbeth and Cymbeline and then found the stage with Timon of Athens and Henry V.
He then appeared in The English Teachers and followed that with the controversial play Corpus Christi, which told the story of Jesus and the Apostles who are a group of gay men living in modern-day Texas.
His stage roles didn’t end there. He was seen in Road Show, Skylight, Camelot, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Much Ado About Nothing. His Off-Broadway abilities got him the recognition he so deserved which led to his first Broadway role as the flamboyant Emcee in Cabaret, a play that was directed by Sam Mendes.
SIX FEET UNDER
Michael C. Hall got the role of David Fisher on the recommendation of Sam Mendes. Many critics have stated that the character of David Fisher is the first realistic portrayal of a gay lead male character on television. Michael C. Hall was widely praised for how he tackled the complex character who struggled mightily with his homosexuality.
For Hall’s five season’s worth of episodes, he was nominated for numerous awards, which also included nominations for the entire cast, and won three times, twice a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series and once for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival.
The series ended its run in 2005, which led Hall right to his most recognizable role.
MICHAEL C. HALL AS DEXTER WHILE BATTLING CANCER
Dexter was a series that found Michael C. Hall playing the lead for 8 seasons. It was an immediate hit and even though Hall had great success on Six Feet Under, Dexter pushed his star high into the sky.
The series told the story of Dexter Morgan who, at an early age, was orphaned after drug dealers brutally murdered his mother with a chainsaw. Miami police office Harry Morgan adopts Dexter but as the boy grows, Morgan begins to see Dexter’s sociopathic tendencies. Morgan decides to help Dexter hone his skills by manipulating Dexter into using these tendencies as a vigilante only on the horrible criminals who slip through the poor justice system. It works and history is made. In order to help conceal his bloodlust, Dexter obtains employment as a forensic analyst with his specialty including blood splatter pattern analysis.
The series was at once controversial and exciting and gory. But it wasn’t just known for that. During the shows fourth season, Michael C. Hall was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. Hall had lost his father at the young age of 39 to prostate cancer and Hall himself was only 38-years old when he got the news of his own cancer.
At first, Michael C. Hall intended on keeping his cancer a secret from his Dexter mates. He began chemotherapy during the day after he finished filming but soon realized that because of the side-effects from chemo he wasn’t going to be able to keep his secret for long: he was losing hair.
In 2010 he came clean to his co-stars and it was then he understood what his announcement meant. Michael C. Hall told The Guardian, “I really underestimated how much that would be a source of inspiration or strength to other people. Just to see someone who you know and spend time watching, who goes through the treatment process successfully, is of value.”
But the actor also claims that his diagnosis both shocked and bewildered him. “I think I’ve been preoccupied since I was 11, and my father died, with the idea of the age 39: would I live that long? What would that be like? To discover that I had the Hodgkin’s was alarming, but at the same time I felt kind of bemused, like: ‘Wow. Huh. How interesting,’” Michael C. Hall explained to The New York Times.
So far Michael C. Hall has won his battle against Hodgkin’s, but it is a fight and struggle he will have to maintain.
LIFE AFTER SERIAL KILLING
Yes, there is life after becoming America’s most beloved serial killer. While the last season didn’t sit well with many fans (Dexter fakes his own death and begins a new life as a bearded lumberjack) it didn’t seem to derail Michael C. Hall’s career.
Michael C. Hall followed Dexter with the features Cold in July, Christine, After Adderall, and Game Night. He got to play John F. Kennedy in the series The Crown. He was seen in the Netflix series thriller Safe, playing a widowed surgeon who is searching for his missing daughter and uncovers dark secrets during his search.
Michael C. Hall then supplied his vocal talents for the animated series Star vs. the Forces of Evil and was then seen in In The Shadow of the Moon. He is next set to star in Shadowplay, a series about a cop, played by Taylor Kitsch, who tries to create a new police force in Berlin in the aftermath of World War II. And if none of this works out for Hall, there is always music.
MICHAEL C. HALL: MUSICIAN
The name, Princess Goes To The Butterfly Museum, comes from the daughter of one of Michael C. Hall’s bandmates. The band consists of Hall, drummer Peter Yanowitz, who began his career playing for The Wallflowers, and Matt Katz-Bohen, whose daughter it was that provided the name.
According to Katz-Bowen, “My daughter actually came up with that, and I just thought it was the greatest band name I’ve ever heard, and so it would be a crime to not use this. I was asking her if she could have a band with her friend what she would call it, and she came up with that.” So it stuck.
For Hall’s part, he has been singing for quite some time and the trio met during his performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. With Hall starring, Katz-Bohen was the substitute musical director (among other duties) and Yanowitz played the drums. There was an immediate connection between the three and from there the band was formed.
Michael C. Hall considers his time in David Bowie’s musical Lazarus as what really pushed him over the top musically. He told mxdwn, “It was amazing when I got to work with David Bowie in the midst of his final flurry of creativity. I got to live with and perform songs of his over the course of many months and also get to have the experience of being in a room with him and experiencing his, you know, brilliance, his energy, kindness and enthusiasm. He was an amazing artist of course, but also a really amazing person.”
The band recently produced an EP consisting of six songs and looks forward to getting out and playing in front of audiences once the pandemic eases. One of their songs, Come Talk To Me, can be heard below.
Could there be more Dexter on the way? It’s possible says Michael C. Hall. He said to Variety, “Maybe. It’s a possibility given how the show ended that we could revisit ‘Dexter.’ I have just yet to, for my part, imagine or hear someone else’s idea that makes it feel worth doing. But never say never.”
Would Dexter still be sporting a beard? Would he have tired of being a lumberjack? Would he have been able to tame his bloodlust? Perhaps we need another season or two of Dexter so we can answer those burning questions.