Michael Patrick Thornton

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Michael Patrick Thornton
Occupation TV and theatre actor, director, teacher and playwright

Michael Patrick Thornton is an American actor and theater director. He recently played the character of Dr. Gabriel Fife in the ABC drama series Private Practice. He is a native of Jefferson Park, a neighborhood on Chicago's northwest side.


Thornton is a graduate of The School at Steppenwolf and The Conservatory Program and Directing Program at Second City. In 2001 Michael (with Will Nedved) founded The Gift Theatre Company in Jefferson Park, Chicago.[1] He is currently the theater's artistic director.[2] He also teaches at Second City and The School at Steppenwolf.

Thornton’s play, The Princess and the Bear, was published in excerpt by Third Coast Press and is being workshopped for production through a grant from The Second City Foundation.


  • Chicago Finalist: National Shakespeare Contest
  • Northlight’s Jack Springer Award for Outstanding Performance
  • The 2008 Tim Meier & Helen Coburn Meier Foundation Achievement Award
  • The Second City Foundation’s 2009 Jim Zulevic Chicago Arts Award
  • The Joseph Jefferson Award for Solo Performance.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Thornton suffered a "spinal stroke" on St. Patrick's Day 2003 that left him comatose for three days and paralyzed from the neck down. He subsequently regained some of his mobility above the waist, although not full use of either hand.


Feature films[edit]

Year Film Role Other notes
2003 Shut-Eye Mac
2007 Counting Backwards Joe's Father voice
2011 The Dilemma B & V Worker


Year Title Role Other notes
2009–2011 Private Practice Dr. Gabriel Fife 11 episodes (season 3-4)
2011 The Chicago Code Kent Eschelman (CPD Union Rep) "St. Valentine's Day Massacre"


External links[edit]