Best known for his role as Doug Stamper in the Television Drama series, ‘House of Cards,’ Michael Kelly has also appeared in some TV series movies including River Red, Now You See Me, Man of Steel, and ‘
Michael Kelly was born on May 22, 1969, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Maureen and Michael Kelly. He spent most of his childhood in Lawrenceville, Georgia. After completing his early education from Brookwood High School in Snellville, Georgia, in 1987, he went to the Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina with an initial motive to pursue a career in law. However, his fate took a different turn when he took an acting elective, which led him to pursue an acting career and earned a degree in dramatic arts in 1992.
With a degree in his hands and an ambition to become an actor, he began looking for work, while he was working at the Myrtle Beach. He kept working on stage with a group of theatrical child performers. This led him to call a friend of his who had some kind of connections and knew how the business runs. Soon, he flew to
. He started working with a commercial agent and appeared in commercials, while he tried to find any decent acting job. He said that he would clean the backstage just to get a chance to meet with an agent, and would turn up for every audition he could. He first appeared in an episode of ‘Lifestories: Families in Crisis’ in 1994. His first movie was, Origin of Species, in 1998. However, that same year brought him his first serious recognition from the film, ‘River Red’, in which he played the role of ‘Frankie’. The movie although failed at the box office, won the Sundance Film Festival, putting Kelly in a more comfortable place. The next year, in 1999, he played the role of Michael Kaufman, brother of
, who portrayed the role of Andy Kaufman in Miloš Forman’s, Man on the Moon (1999). His next film was the American superhero thriller film, ‘Unbreakable’, which starred
and received generally favourable reviews.
Michael would then take a break from the silver screen to pursue a TV career, and appeared in the TV series, ‘Level 9’ and ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.’ This led to a string of TV projects, which would involve Kelly in small roles for Third Watch, The Shield, Law and Order and The Jury. In 2004, he did his next movie, ‘Dawn of the Dead’, a horror film directed by
, where he played the role of a mall guard called C.J. His next projects in subsequent years were ‘Loggerheads’, Carlito's Way: Rise to Power and Out There, and the sports drama film, ‘Invincible.’ In 2008, he worked with Clint Eastwood, a person that he had idolized, in the crime drama, ‘Changeling’, playing the role of Dr. Lester Ybarra, a role that he considers to be one of his favourites of all time. In an interview, he said that working on Changeling with someone he had admired and looked up to his entire career was so exciting. Along with all these films, Kelly continued his TV career and appeared in TV series such as, ‘Kojak’, ‘The Sopranos’ ‘CSI: Miami’ and ‘Generation to Kill.’ In 2011, he portrayed the role of Supervisory Special Agent Jonathan "Prophet" Sims in the drama series, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behaviour. He also had significant roles in ‘The Good Wife’ and ‘Person of Interest.’
Keeping himself involved in the cinema were movies like ‘Tenderness’, ‘Law Abiding Citizen’ and ‘Defender.’ He also appeared in the short film, ‘Nice Tie, Italiano’. He then appeared in the 2013 American heist film, ‘Now You See Me’, playing Agent Fuller, an FBI agent. He also was casted in ‘Man of Steel’, reboot of the Superman film series, directed by Zack Snyder. Two years later, in 2015, he portrayed the role of Jon Krakauer in the disaster film, ‘Everest.’ The film was inspired by the real events of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, and focuses on the survival attempts of two expedition groups, which included Jon Krakauer. He would later share his experience in a novel, which ultimately led to the making of the movie. The movie went on to become a box office success, as well as receiving widespread acclaims and praises from the critics and fans. In 2013, Michael was casted in the Netflix series, ‘House of Cards’, along with Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, playing the role of Doug Stamper, the calculating chief of staff. He has been a regular member of the show and has been applauded for his performance. He has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award, as well as Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor.
In an interview he said, “In the beginning I aspired just to make a comfortable living in acting. I still feel the same- it's just that my standards have gone up so my comfort level is higher, as well.” Kelly is married with two kids. The kids made a small appearance in an episode of House of Cards as his niece and nephew. He has also been a member of the rock band, Leroy Justice. He is of Irish and Italian descent.