Michael Chernus Biography

Michael Chernus is an American actor best known for his portrayal of ‘Cal Chapman’ in the popular ‘Netflix’ series ‘Orange is the New Black.’ Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family life, career, and achievements.

Quick Facts

Birthday: August 8, 1977

Nationality: American

Famous: Actors American Men

Age: 42 Years, 42 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Leo

Also Known As: Michael Louis Chernus

Born Country: United States

Born in: Rocky River, Ohio, United States

Famous as: Actor

Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Emily Simoness

father: Richard Louis Chernus

mother: Barbara Jo

U.S. State: Ohio

More Facts

education: The Juilliard School, Rocky River High School

awards: Obie Award for Performance

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Michael Chernus is an American actor best known for his portrayal of ‘Cal Chapman’ in the popular ‘Netflix’ series ‘Orange is the New Black.’ Born and raised in Rocky River, Ohio, Michael got interested in acting when he was young. Following his high school graduation, he enrolled at ‘Juilliard School’s Drama Division’ and graduated from the same. He worked as a stage actor for many years and following his graduation from Juilliard’s, he began auditioning for roles in films and television. In 2005, he made his acting debut in a supporting role as ‘Ben’ in the film ‘Winter Passing.’ He then appeared in more films, such as ‘High Street Plumbing,’ ‘The Rebound,’ and ‘Feed the Fish.’ He made his television debut in 2009 in the series ‘Bored to Death.’ Thereafter he appeared in supporting roles in the series ‘The Big C.’ However, his biggest career breakthrough happened in 2014, when he was signed to play ‘Cal Chapman’ in the comedy drama series ‘Orange is the New Black.’ Since then, he has appeared playing key role in the series’ ‘Manhattan.’ He also appeared in the 2017 superhero film ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming,’ in a supporting role.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • Michael Chernus was born Michael Louis Chernus, on August 8, 1977, in Rocky River, Ohio, to Barbara Jo and Richard Louis Chernus. His father is half-Hungarian and half-German.
  • During his school, Michael was into athletics and had not even thought about acting. He was a member of his school basketball team.
  • Everything changed when he watched the Sylvester Stallone starrer ‘Rocky.’ while coming out of the theatre, he decided that he wanted to become an actor. He was in eighth grade then and the very next day, he began attending the drama classes in his ‘Rocky River Middle School.’ One of the very first plays that he appeared in was ‘The Hobbit,’ in the role of ‘Gandalf.’ His performance was appreciated, which made him more serious about pursuing acting. He went on to appear in more plays, and with his parents’ support he began taking professional acting classes at the ‘Beck Center’ in Lakewood.
  • He attended the acting school during his high school years and he credits ‘Beck Center’ for nurturing his acting skills. While he was in his senior high school year, he was accepted in ‘Juilliard acting school.’ He graduated at the age of 22, and moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting.
  • He began doing stage productions and slowly and steadily, also started auditioning for roles in films and television.
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  • After appearing in several plays, he made his screen debut in the 2005 comedy drama film ‘Winter Passing.’ In the film, he played a supporting role as ‘Ben.’ The film received good reviews, because of the unique approach to storytelling. With ‘Winter Passing,’ Michael had a successful beginning to his acting career.
  • In 2007, he appeared playing one of the lead roles in the independent comedy drama film ‘Lovely by Surprise.’ The film was appreciated for its highly innovative storyline and performances, but did not receive a wide theatrical release.
  • In 2008, Michael played a key role as ‘Kirby’ in the short film titled ‘High Street Plumbing.’ In the next year, Michael made his television debut, playing a guest role in the series ‘Bored to Death.’ In the same year, he played a much bigger role as ‘Ryan Flanagan’ in the medical drama series titled ‘Mercy.’ He reprised his role in 9 episodes of the series, which was cancelled after one season and 22 episodes.
  • In 2009, Michael received another huge break, when he was offered a supporting role in the war drama film ‘The Messenger.’ The film premiered at the ‘Sundance Film Festival’ and received critical appreciation. However, the film failed to impress at the box office.
  • Thereafter he appeared in films such as ‘The Rebound’ and ‘Feed the Fish.’ The latter was an independent comedy and received good reception by the critics and at film festivals, but failed to leave a mark at the box office. He preferred doing content driven independent films than big budget commercial films.
  • In 2010, he appeared in two independent films, ‘Nonames’ and ‘Coach,’ and followed it with supporting roles in films such as ‘Love & Other Drugs’ and ‘Higher Ground,’ and the short film ‘Split.’
  • In 2012, he got a huge break when he was signed to play ‘Jeffrey Price’ in the science fiction action comedy film ‘Men in Black 3.’ The film received positive reviews and was also a huge box office success.
  • He had the biggest television breakthrough of his career in 2013, when he starred as ‘Cal Chapman' in the comedy drama web television series titled ‘Orange is the New Black.’ From 2013 to 2018, Michael reprised his role in 14 episodes of the series.
  • Meanwhile, his film career moved ahead at a good pace as he starred in films such as ‘Captain Phillips,’ ‘Goodbye to All That,’ and ‘Mistress America.’
  • In 2015, he appeared in one of the main roles in the comedy film ‘People Places Things.’ The film received critical appreciation, but failed at the box office.
  • He has played supporting roles in series’ such as ‘Patriot’ and ‘Manhattan.’ He was signed to play one of the key roles in the series ‘Tommy,’ which is set to premier in 2020.
  • For his acting in the play ‘In the Wake,’ he earned an ‘Obie Award,’ in 2011. He has also appeared in plays such as ‘Lips Together, Teeth Apart,’ and ‘Close Up Space.’
Family & Personal Life
  • Michael Chernus married Emily Simoness, on September 26, 2015, in New York.
  • Michael currently lives in New York with his wife.

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Article Title
- Michael Chernus Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com
Last Updated
- August 31, 2019
Michael Chernus

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