Michael Christopher White
June 28, 1970
Pasadena, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||Wesleyan University|
|Occupation(s)||Actor, writer, producer & director|
Michael Christopher White (born June 28, 1970) is an American writer, actor, producer, and director for television and film, and reality television show contestant. He has won numerous awards, including the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award for the 2000 film Chuck & Buck, which he wrote and starred in. He has written the screenplays for films such as School of Rock (2003) and has directed several films that he has written, such as Brad's Status (2017). He was the co-creator, executive producer, writer, director and actor on the HBO series Enlightened. White is also known for his appearances on reality television, competing on two seasons of The Amazing Race and later becoming a contestant and runner-up on Survivor: David vs. Goliath. He created, writes, and directs the ongoing HBO satire comedy anthology series The White Lotus.
White was born in Pasadena, California. He is the son of Lyla Lee (née Loehr), a fundraising executive, and former executive director of the Pasadena Playhouse, and Reverend Dr. James Melville "Mel" White, a former speechwriter and ghostwriter for Religious Right figures such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. His father came out as gay in 1994 and became an activist. Due to his father's religious background, White grew up in a modest household in a conservative Christian community. He attended Polytechnic School which he thought was a "very conservative country-club school". Later he went to Wesleyan University, where he met writing partner, Zak Penn. Penn convinced him to move back to Los Angeles, and helped him to get work soon after graduating.
Although White and Penn's writing partnership ended a few years later due to their different sensibilities, they remained on good terms, and White credits him with getting him into Hollywood's social circles. White was a writer and producer on Dawson's Creek and Freaks and Geeks and wrote and acted in the films Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl, Orange County, School of Rock and Nacho Libre. He also had a role in the 2004 remake of The Stepford Wives, and the 2008 film Smother. Chuck & Buck, in which White portrayed a manchild who stalks his childhood friend, was named the best film of 2000 by Entertainment Weekly. In an interview with The New York Times, Jeff Bridges called White's turn in Chuck & Buck "the performance of the decade".
He frequently collaborates with actor–writer Jack Black on films. Together they formed the production company Black and White, which closed in 2006. White is not a fan of classic rock, but he wrote School of Rock specifically so Black could perform his own favorite rock music.
Laura Dern brought White into a project with HBO which became the series Enlightened that premiered on October 10, 2011. Dern's character, Amy Jellicoe, goes to a Hawaiian retreat after her professional life publicly implodes, and is introduced to meditation. White himself had suffered an on-the-job meltdown while running an earlier television series, and incorporated elements of that experience, as well as his own exploration of Buddhist meditation, into the new series' plot. White wrote the pilot and all the episodes in the first and second seasons.
White is a credited writer on The Emoji Movie, he spent three weeks with the film's screenwriters, and helped with the structure of the script. For this project he received a Golden Raspberry Award. He wrote and directed the 2017 film Brad's Status.
In February 2022, it was announced White would write two upcoming animated films for Universal Pictures and Illumination: the original comedy Migration, set to be released on June 30, 2023, and the fourth installment in the Despicable Me franchise, set to be released on July 23, 2024.
The Amazing Race
He appeared on the fourteenth season of The Amazing Race along with his father Mel. They lasted for seven legs before being eliminated in sixth place in Phuket, Thailand. Mel and Mike returned to compete in The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business, where they were the second team eliminated in Japan.
White was a contestant on Survivor: David vs. Goliath, as a member of the Goliath tribe, then to reshuffled Jabeni tribe and the merged Kalokalo tribe. He made it to Day 39 and received three jury votes, finishing in second place behind the winner Nick Wilson.
White said he had been a big fan of the show, and because of his connections had developed a friendship with the show's host Jeff Probst, providing the host suggestions towards improving the show. For instance, Probst stated that it was White who discouraged him from bringing back Redemption Island for Survivor: San Juan del Sur. At some point White decided to start trying out to be a participant of the show, but he failed to be picked over what he believed was a concern of having "sloppy seconds" from other reality television programs. White noted that once he was selected, he had had no other conversations with Probst until the game was concluded.
|Dead Man on Campus||1998||No||Yes||No|
|Chuck & Buck||2000||No||Yes||No|
|The Good Girl||2002||No||Yes||No|
|School of Rock||2003||No||Yes||No|
|Year of the Dog||2007||Yes||Yes||Yes||Directorial debut|
|The Hills with James Franco and Mila Kunis||2007||No||No||Yes||Short film|
|The D Train||2015||No||No||Yes|
|Beatriz at Dinner||2017||No||Yes||No|
|The Emoji Movie||2017||No||Yes||No|
|Pitch Perfect 3||2017||No||Yes||No|
|The One and Only Ivan||2020||No||Yes||No|
|Despicable Me 4||2024||No||Yes||No|
|Star Maps||1997||Carmel County Writer|
|Chuck & Buck||2000||Buck O'Brien|
|Orange County||2002||Mr. Burke|
|The Good Girl||2002||Corny|
|School of Rock||2003||Ned Schneebly|
|The Stepford Wives||2004||Hank|
|Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody?||2005||Respondent||Short film|
|Welcome to California||2005||John Goodman|
|Zombieland||2009||Gas Station Clerk|
|The D Train||2015||Jerry|
|Brad's Status||2017||Nick Pascale|
|The One and Only Ivan||2020||Frankie (voice) / Passing Driver||Also writer|
|Dawson's Creek||1998–1999||No||Yes||Supervising||No||Wrote 9 episodes / Produced 22 episodes|
|Freaks and Geeks||2000||No||Yes||Supervising||No||Wrote 3 episodes / Produced 17 episodes|
|Pasadena||2001–2002||No||Yes||Executive||Yes||Created and produced 13 episodes / Wrote 6 episodes.|
|Cracking Up||2004–2006||No||Yes||Executive||Yes||Created and produced 12 episodes / Wrote episode: "The Fixer"|
|Earth to America||2005||No||Yes||No||No||Television special|
|Enlightened||2011–2013||Yes||Yes||Executive||Yes||Created, wrote and produced 18 episodes / Directed 6 episodes|
|The Boring Life of Jacqueline||2012||No||No||Executive||No||10 episodes|
|Mamma Dallas||2016||Yes||Yes||Executive||No||Television pilot|
|School of Rock||2016||No||Yes||No||No||Episode: "Come Together" / Also wrote original theatrical film|
|The White Lotus||2021–present||Yes||Yes||Executive||Yes||Anthology series|
|Freaks and Geeks||2000||Chip Kelly||Episode: "Kim Kelly Is My Friend"|
|Undeclared||2001||Pet Store Employee||Episode: "Eric Visits"|
|Pushing Daisies||2007||Billy Balsam||Episode: "Bitter Sweets"|
|Mamma Dallas||2016||Himself||Television pilot|
|Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan||2007||Dog Owner|
|The Amazing Race 14||2009||6th Place|
|The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business||2011||10th Place|
|Survivor: David vs. Goliath||2018||Runner-up|
Awards and nominations
- Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards (Critics Choice Award) for Best Song: School of Rock
- Deauville Film Festival (Acting Prize): Chuck & Buck
- Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature - Under $500,000: Chuck & Buck
- Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay: The Good Girl
- Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards (Sierra Award) for Best Song: School of Rock
- Nominated – Golden Satellite Award for Best Screenplay, Original: The Good Girl
- Seattle International Film Festival (New American Cinema Award) for Best Writer: Chuck & Buck
- Golden Raspberry Award (Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay): The Emoji Movie
- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special: The White Lotus
- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special: The White Lotus
- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series: The White Lotus
- Chocano, Carina (October 7, 2011). "Stuff Mike White Likes". The New York Times. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
- "HBO's 'Enlightened' Take On Modern Meditation", Fresh Air interview with Dern and White on NPR, October 10, 2011. Retrieved October 10, 2011.
- Keeps, David A. (January 20, 2013). "Mike White Would Like to Make You Squirm". Vulture. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
- Steve Inskeep. "Religion, Politics a Potent Mix for Jerry Falwell", NPR, June 30, 2006.
- Buchanan, Kyle (September 13, 2017). "Everyone in Hollywood Is Envious. Mike White Is Willing to Talk About It". Vulture. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
- Hyman, Dan (November 15, 2011). "Enlightened's Mike White on His Reluctant Return to TV and His Own Nervous Breakdown". Vulture. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
- "The Best Performances of the Decade". The New York Times. February 17, 2010. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
- "Jack Black to Produce in College Football, Big Paydays for Humiliation". Movieweb.com. October 6, 2006. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
- "Mike White Goes to the 'Dog'". Fresh Air from WHYY. NPR. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
- Dargis, Manohla (January 29, 2007). "Any Little Gems? Who Cares? Sundance Is a Hot Brand Now". The New York Times. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
- Anderson, John (January 21, 2007). "Year of the Dog". Variety. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
- Martin, Denise (February 27, 2013). "Mike White on Enlightened's Tough Road to a Third Season and Why He Thinks Men Don't Want to Watch Shows About Women". Vulture. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
- "2009 Sundance Film Festival Announce Jury Members". Retrieved December 14, 2022.
- Bennett, Laura (January 17, 2013). "An 'Enlightened' Mike White Wants to Change TV". The New Republic. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
- Buchanan, Kyle (September 13, 2017). "Everyone in Hollywood Is Envious. Mike White Is Willing to Talk About It". Vulture. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
- McNary, Dave (March 3, 2018). "'The Emoji Movie' Wins Razzies' Worst Movie Award". Variety. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
- White, Peter (October 19, 2020). "'Enlightened's Mike White Sets Limited Social Satire 'The White Lotus' At HBO With Connie Britton, Natasha Rothwell & Sydney Sweeney Among Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 2, 2021.
- "New HBO Limited Series THE WHITE LOTUS From Mike White Debuts July 11". WarnerMedia. May 10, 2021. Retrieved August 2, 2021.
- Grobar, Matt (February 18, 2022). "Illumination & Universal Set Dates For Animated Films 'Migration' And 'Despicable Me 4'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
- "Mel and Mike: Amazing Race". CBS. Retrieved January 26, 2009.
- Olmstead, Kasey (November 22, 2010). "The Amazing Race 18: All Stars! (Spoilers)". Archived from the original on December 6, 2010. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
- Ross, Dalton (September 13, 2018). "'Survivor': Filmmaker Mike White, Wrestler John Hennigan to Compete on Season 37". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Ross, Dalton (September 13, 2018). "Mike White takes credit for killing Redemption Island on 'Survivor'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
- Schneider, Michael (September 26, 2018). "Mike White Found Enlightenment by Competing on 'Survivor' — Where Even His Agent Couldn't Find Him". Indiewire. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
- VanArendonk, Kathryn (August 15, 2021). "Mike White Accepts the Criticism". Vulture. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
- Brooks, Xan (October 29, 2022). "'I'm a bloated, overpraised Hollywood guy': The White Lotus creator Mike White on sex, God and disliking success". The Guardian. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
- Battan, Carrie (July 18, 2021). "Mike White on Money, Status, and Appearing on "Survivor"". The New Yorker. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
- Ferer, Lawrence (March 2, 2012). "White out: writer-producer Mike White comes out and discusses the gay subtext in his new comedy, Orange County". The Advocate. Archived from the original on November 8, 2004. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
- Ethan, Shanfeld (November 27, 2022). "Mike White and 'The White Lotus' Stars Break Down That Jaw-Dropping Twist: I Want to 'Make Gay Sex Transgressive Again'". Variety. Retrieved December 14, 2022.