Michael Annals was born in what was then Harrow, Middlesex (later incorporated into Greater London) on 21 April 1938. His parents were Henry Ernest Annals and Constance Anne Annals (née Walter). He attended the Harrow Weald County Grammar School and the Hornsey College of Art.
Michael Annals began his career in 1961 by designing the sets and costumes for the Old Vic company's Soviet Union tour of Macbeth and their production of Dr Faustus at the Edinburgh Festival. In 1964, Annals designed the sets and costumes for another production of Macbeth, this time at the National Theatre of Portugal. Annals produced designs for several original Broadway theatre productions, including The Royal Hunt of the Sun in 1965, the short-lived Those That Play the Clowns in 1966, Staircase in 1968, and Noises Off in 1983.
From 1966 through 1967, Annals served as Associate Professor of Scenic Design at Yale University. Annals was nominated for the 1969 Tony Award for Best Costume Design for his work in Morning, Noon and Night, though the award was won by Loudon Sainthill  for his work on Canterbury Tales.
Michael Annals has produced designs for two major films: The 1962 film adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's play Long Day's Journey into Night and the 1977 film adaptation of Henry Fielding's play Joseph Andrews. Annals served as both the production designer and costume designer for both films. Annals was nominated for the 1977 BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design for his work in Joseph Andrews, though the award was won by Danilo Donati for his work in Fellini's Casanova.
- Ian McKellen (2003-12-06). "Ian McKellen remembers theatre designer Michael Annals | Stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-04-25.
- Ian Herbert, ed. (1981). "ANNALS, Michael". Who's Who in the Theatre. 1. Gale Research Company. p. 20. ISSN 0083-9833.
- Michael Annals at the Internet Broadway Database
- Australia Dancing — Sainthill, Loudon (1919–1969) Archived 2011-02-19 at the Wayback Machine.
- "1969 Tony Award Winners". BroadwayWorld.com. 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-17.
- Michael Annals on IMDb
- "Film Nominations 1977". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-16.