Michael O'Neill (actor)

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Michael O'Neill
Born (1947-05-29) May 29, 1947 (age 67)
Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.[1]
Alma mater Auburn University (1974)
Occupation actor

Michael O'Neill (born May 29)[1] is an American actor.

Early life and education[edit]

O'Neill was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama.[1] He attended Capitol Heights Junior High and Robert E. Lee High School, graduating in 1969. In high school he played basketball and was elected class beau and a class favorite. He graduated from Auburn University in 1974.[2][3] After attending Auburn, he spent time under the tutelage of actor Will Geer[4] and one of Geer's daughters, the actress Ellen Geer, at Theatricum Botanicum in Los Angeles before moving to New York to pursue his career there.


With a career stretching through three decades, he usually portrays senior law enforcement or military officers.[citation needed] He played Special Agent Ron Butterfield, the head of President Josiah Bartlet's Secret Service detail, on The West Wing, and CTU Administrative Director Richard Walsh in the first two episodes of 24. He played Sgt. Maj. Ron Cheals in CBS' action drama series The Unit. He starred in the Season 6 two-part finale of Grey's Anatomy as the broken widower who holds the hospital hostage with a 9mm while pursuing the doctors responsible for unplugging his wife. His most notable film performances occur in Seabiscuit, Secondhand Lions, Transformers, Dancer, Texas Pop. 81, Traffic, Sea of Love, A Quiet Little Marriage, Nothing but the Truth, and Green Zone.

Personal life[edit]

O'Neill splits his time between Los Angeles and Birmingham, Alabama,[1] where he lives with his wife and three daughters.[5]



Year Film Role Notes
1981 Ghost Story Churchill
1989 Sea of Love Raymond Brown
1992 The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag Jergens
Jennifer Eight Angelo Serato
Lorenzo's Oil School Psychologist
1993 For Their Own Good Clark Thompson Television movie
Victim of Love: The Shannon Mohr Story Dick Britton Television movie
1994 Blind Justice Spencer Heyman Television movie
Beyond Betrayal Ray Pasquerello Television movie
On Trial Himself Television movie
1995 Awake to Danger Detective Brickman Television movie
Bushwhacked Jon Jordan
1996 Norma Jean & Marilyn Mr. Kimmel Television movie
The Sunchaser Agent Moreland
1998 Standoff Cult Leader (voice)
Host Television movie
Dancer, Texas Pop. 81 Mr. Lusk
1999 The Mod Squad Det. Carl Greene
A.T.F. Ben Walker Television movie, Assistant Director
The Legend of Bagger Vance O.B. Keeler
2000 Traffic Lawyer Rodman
2002 The Board Room Walters
2003 Dreamcatcher Gen. Matheson
Seabiscuit Mr. Pollard
Secondhand Lions Ralph
2004 American Crime Sheriff Smyth Direct-to-video
Around the Bend Cowboy
2007 Transformers Tom Banacheck
Across the Universe Lucy and Max's uncle at dinner
Crazy Ralph Christianson
2008 A Quiet Little Marriage Bruce
2010 Green Zone Colonel Bethel
2011 J. Edgar Senator McKellar
2013 Dallas Buyers Club Barkley


Year Title Role Episode
1990 H.E.L.P. Cabot Are You There, Alpha Centauri?
1992 L.A. Law My Friend Flicker
1994 Picket Fences Prosecutor Larry Adler System Down
1995 Days of Our Lives Father Jansen 2 episodes
One West Waikiki Manpower
1996 The Cape Keith Mason The Need to Know
1997 The Pretender Captain Harrigan The Better Part of Valor
Millennium County Prosecutor Calvin Smith Covenant
Orleans Luther's Temptation
The Shining (TV mini-series) Dr. Daniel Edwards 1 episode
1998 The X-Files The Patrol Captain Drive
1999 Roswell Phillip Evans The Morning After
JAG Cmdr. Bradley Shakedown
1999–2006 The West Wing Secret Service Agent Ron Butterfield 16 episodes
2000 Chicago Hope Bill Wyzinski Everybody's Special at Chicago Hope
2001 NYPD Blue Capt. Chuck Dowling Peeping Tommy
Diagnosis: Murder Sheriff Buck O'Hara No Good Deed
24 Richard Walsh 12:00 a.m.-1:00 a.m., 1:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m.
2001–2002 Boston Public Dr. Bernard Colbert Chapter Twenty-Four, Chapter Twenty-Seven, Chapter Twenty-Eight, Chapter Thirty-One
2002 Ally McBeal Dr. Colbert All of Me
Without a Trace Thomas Shannon Silent Partner
2003 Presidio Med Breathless
Carnivàle Sheiff Lyle Donovan Tipton
2004 The Practice Judge Robert Temple Police State
Judging Amy D.A. Dave Sherman My Little Runaway
Crossing Jordan Chris Benz Out of Sight
LAX Alonso Mathews Unscheduled Arrivals
2005 Boston Legal Dr. Robert McLean It Girls and Beyond
Cold Case Warren Cousins 2005 Revolution
ER Col. Ken Kilner Here and There
Commander in Chief Congressman Wilcox First Strike, First Scandal
JAG Maj. Gen. Harold Rossing Fair Winds and Following Seas
2006 Close to Home Don Wheeler The Rapist Next Door
3 lbs James Wills Lost for Words
2006–2007 The Unit Ron Cheals First Responders, Dedication, SERE, Exposure, Off the Meter, Paradise Lost
The Nine Pete Burton Pilot, Heroes Welcome, The Inside Man
2007 Lincoln Heights Captain Suspicion
K-Ville Father Dennehy Critical Mass
Criminal Minds Det. Yarbough About Face
2008 Women's Murder Club FBI Agent Ted Thorne Never Tell
The Mentalist Sheriff Nelson Redwood
Prison Break Herb Stanton Shut Down, Selfless
My Own Worst Enemy Alexander DeSantos Love in All the Wrong Places
Leverage Judge Roy The Bank Shot Job
2009 FlashForward CIA Director Mr. Keller Gimme Some Truth
Ghost Whisperer Male Ghost Ghost Busted
Army Wives Reverent Bankerd Family Readiness, Disengagement
Sons of Anarchy Judge Franklin Fa Guan
2010 Numb3rs Boyd Keene Scratch
Fringe Sheriff Velchik Johari Window
Miami Medical Dr. Bruce Kaye 88 Seconds
Grey's Anatomy Gary Clark Sympathy for Parents, How Insensitive, Sanctuary, Death and All His friends
NCIS Former NCIS Special Agent Riley McCallister Enemies Foreign, Enemies Domestic
2012 Vegas Mayor Ted Bennett Pilot
2013-2014 Rectify Senator Roland Foulkes
2013-2014 Bates Motel Nick Ford 7 episodes
2014 Extant Alan Sparks


  1. ^ a b c d "Extant Cast: Michael O'Neill". CBS.com. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  2. ^ Watkins, Mia (September 12, 2012). "'Vegas,' 'Grey's Anatomy' star Michael O'Neill moves back to Alabama". The Birmingham News. AL.com. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  3. ^ Seckinger, Kate (April 9, 2014). "Actor Michael O'Neill discusses life after Auburn". The Auburn Plainsman. 
  4. ^ Taylor, Drew (March 2, 2014). "Auburn grad worked on Oscar-nominated film ‘Dallas Buyers Club’". Opelika-Auburn News. 
  5. ^ Munn, Patrick (July 8, 2014). "Interview: Michael O’Neill Talks CBS’ ‘Extant’, Working With Halle Berry & More". TV Wise. Archived from the original on July 16, 2014. 

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