Michael Beck

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Michael Beck
John Michael Beck Taylor

(1949-02-04) February 4, 1949 (age 71)
Years active1971–2005, 2015
Cari Brendel (m. 1980)

John Michael Beck Taylor (born February 4, 1949), commonly known as Michael Beck, is an American actor. He is known for his roles as Swan in The Warriors (1979), Sonny Malone in Xanadu (1980), and Levon Lundy in Houston Knights (1987–1988).

Early life[edit]

Beck was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the third of nine children, and grew up in the small resort town of Horseshoe Lake, Arkansas. He attended Memphis University School and then Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi on a football scholarship.[1] While in college he was initiated into Kappa Alpha Order fraternity. After graduating with a degree in economics, he was one of 30 (out of 2,500) applicants chosen for London's Central School of Speech and Drama.[2] Beck's stage credits, beginning with college, include: Camelot (he was King Arthur); Of Mice and Men (he was George Milton); Romeo and Juliet (he was Tybalt);[1] and Cat On a Hot Tin Roof.


Beck is known predominantly for his roles as Swan in the action film The Warriors (1979),[3] Sonny Malone in Xanadu (1980),[4] Lieutenant Commander Dallas in Megaforce (1982),[5] and Koda in Triumphs of a Man Called Horse (1983). Both the Xanadu and Megaforce roles garnered him Razzie nominations, for Worst Actor and Worst Supporting Actor, respectively.[6] Beck has appeared in other movies such as Warlords of the 21st Century (1982), Wes Craven's Chiller (1985), Gone to Texas (1986) as James Bowie, and Forest Warrior (1996).

Beck appeared as Hans Helms in the 1978 TV miniseries Holocaust, and starred with Michael Paré in the CBS police drama Houston Knights (1987–1988).[7] More recently, he appeared in television shows such as JAG, Walker, Texas Ranger, In the Heat of the Night, as the Mars-born terrorist-turned-cyborg assassin Abel Horn in Babylon 5 (episode "Spider in the Web"),[1] and as Mr. Jones in the spin-off series Crusade.

Beck has narrated numerous audiobooks of John Grisham's novels.[8] He has also narrated Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz;[9] A Darkness More Than Light by Michael Connelly;[10] State of the Union by David Callahan;[11] and the unabridged version of Bill Clinton's My Life.[12] He also reprised his role as Swan in 2005, lending his voice to the popular video game adaptation of The Warriors.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Beck married songwriter Carolyn "Cari" Louise Brendel in September 1980. They have two children, a son, Jesse (b. 1983), and a daughter, Ashley (b. 1986).

He is a Christian.[2]



Year Title Role Notes
1971 The Hard Ride Highway Thug Uncredited
1978 Madman
1979 The Warriors Swan
1980 Xanadu Sonny Malone
1982 Battletruck Hunter aka Warlords of the 21st Century and Destroyers
1982 Megaforce Dallas
1983 Triumphs of a Man Called Horse Koda
1983 The Golden Seal Crawford
1996 Forest Warrior Arlen Slaighter
1998 The Jungle Book: Search for the Lost Treasure Prof. Gershwin Donovan
2015 The Grace of Jake Henry Haynes
2015 The Warriors: Last Subway Ride Home Swan Video


Year Title Role Notes
1977 Ryan's Hope 2 episodes
1978 Holocaust Hans Helm 3 episodes
1979 Mayflower: The Pilgrims' Adventure John Alden Television film
1980 Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story Clarence Carnes Television film
1981 Fly Away Home Mark Television film
1983 The Last Ninja Kenjiro Sakura Television film
1984 Celebrity T.J. Luther 3 episodes
1984 The Streets Sgt. Danny Wreade Television film
1984 Rearview Mirror Jerry Sam Hopps Television film
1985 Wes Craven's Chiller Miles Creighton Television film
1985 Blackout Mike Patterson Television film
1986 Gone to Texas James Bowie Television film
1987–1988 Houston Knights Sgt. Levon Lundy 30 episodes
1989 Murder, She Wrote Danny Schubert Episode: "The Search for Peter Kerry"
1990 Murder, She Wrote Justin Fields Episode: "Trials and Tribulations"
1990 Only One Survived Paul Haskel Television film
1991 Deadly Game Peterson Television film
1991 Stranger at My Door Jimmy Lee Dancey Television film
1991 Final Judgement Delaney Television film
1993 Fade to Black Braith Television film
1993 In the Heat of the Night Sonny Roper Episode: "A Deadly Affection"
1993 Murder, She Wrote Brian Bentall Episode: "The Big Kill"
1994 Robin's Hoods Det. Stephen DeCosta 3 episodes
1994 Babylon 5 Abel Horn Episode: "Spider in the Web"
1995 McKenna Jon Doe / Alex Episode: "Racing in the Streets"
1996−1998 Walker, Texas Ranger Adam McGuire 2 episodes
1997 Diagnosis: Murder Frank Waldeck Episode: "Deadly Games"
1998 Born Free Luke Episode: "The Reunion"
1999 Crusade Mr. Jones Episode: "The Well of Forever"
2001 Nash Bridges Adult Bobby Bridges Episode: "Quack Fever"
2004 JAG Senator Carter Innes Episode: "Whole New Ball Game"

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2005 The Warriors Swan


  1. ^ a b c Weiss, Arlene R. (May 11, 2015). "Michael Beck Reflects on "The Warriors," "Xanadu" and the Premiere of His New Film "The Grace of Jake."". PopEntertainment.com. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Connor, Jackson (September 8, 2015). "Remember the Warriors: Behind the Chaotic, Drug-Fueled, and Often Terrifying Making of a Cult Classic". The Village Voice. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet (February 10, 1979). "Movie: 'Warriors' Creates Visual Style That Is Stark:The Cast". The New York Times. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  4. ^ Maslin, Janet (August 9, 1980). "MISS NEWTON-JOHN IN 'XANADU'". The New York Times. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
  5. ^ Maslin, Janet (June 27, 1982). "'MEGAFORCE' IS A MIX OF JOVIALITY AND STUNTS". The New York Times. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  6. ^ Tenreyro, Tatiana (February 8, 2019). "13 Razzie-Nominated Movies That Are Way Better Than You Remember". Bustle. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  7. ^ Bobbin, Jay; Lawler, Sylvia (August 16, 1987). "HOUSTON KNIGHTS' TRIES AGAIN AT 8 P.M. TUESDAYS". The Morning Call. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  8. ^ Rubins, Jennifer (October 18, 2018). "Narrator Q&A: Longtime Grisham narrator Michael Beck returns in THE RECKONING". Books on Tape. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  9. ^ Bauers, Sandy (June 3, 1999). "AUTHOR EXPLORES MANY DIFFERENT SHADES OF GRAY". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  10. ^ Kingston, Peter (March 2, 2001). "A Darkness More than Night by Michael Connelly, read by Michael Beck". The Guardian. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  11. ^ "ATOP THE STAIRMASTERSTATE OF THE UNIONBy David..." Chicago Tribune. August 24, 1997. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  12. ^ Newman, Andrew Adam (June 6, 2005). "The Winner Is Bill Clinton, in His Own Voice (Abridged)". The New York Times. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  13. ^ Schiesel, Seth (October 16, 2005). "Gangs of New York". The New York Times. Retrieved February 3, 2014.

External links[edit]