Michael Massee was an American actor remembered for the many villainous roles that he played, including the ones in the movies ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2,’ and the series ’24.’ However, people will also remember him as the man who accidentally shot dead actor Brandon Lee during the shooting of a film. It was an unfortunate incident that haunted him for the rest of his life. After taking a break from acting following the accident, he returned to give critically acclaimed performances in many movies and television shows. In a career spanning 25 years, he made more than 80 appearances in numerous television shows and movies. He excelled at playing the bad guy. No one can forget his villainous character, Ira Gaines, in ’24,’ a very popular television show on Fox Network. He was also a very talented voice actor who provided voice to numerous characters in movies. He was a devoted family man and was known to be a kind human being.
Michael Massee’s film career started in 1991, when he landed his first movie role in ‘My Father is Coming.’ He essayed the role of Joe, the effeminate, leather-wearing roommate of Annie, the lead female character. The movie did not fare well and was butchered by the critics for its bad direction, story, and photography. His next movie was ‘Crow’. There was a scene in the movie in which Brandon Lee, the main lead of the movie, walks in through a doorway and is shot by Michael’s character. While the gun was to be loaded with inert dummy cartridges fitted with bullets for the scene, the crew couldn’t find any, and instead, loaded the gun with improperly-deactivated real cartridges. Thus, during the shooting scene, Michael Massee fired at Brandon Lee with real bullets, grievously injuring him. Brandon died in the hospital after six hours of surgery; he was only 28 years old. The incident was so devastating for Michael that he took a year off from acting and did not attend the premier of the movie. The incident haunted him for the rest of his life.
‘Sahara’ (1995) was the next movie that he was seen in after he returned to acting following the incident. The very same year, Michael Massee appeared in ‘Seven,’ a crime thriller starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kevin Spacey. Massee essayed the role of a man in the massage parlour booth. The film won critical acclaim and earned more than $327 million worldwide.
His next big film, titled ‘Lost Highway,’ came out in 1997. When the movie was released, it was not really liked by the audiences and critics; however, with time, the critics began to see the ingeniousness of David Lynch, the director. Today, it has a cult following and has been the subject of many scholarly studies. The year 1997 turned out to be the one in which he starred in another critically acclaimed movie, ‘Amistad.’ Directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie got positive reviews and did great at the box office. In 2012, Michael was signed for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man.’ He also appeared in its sequel in 2014. The same year he got the role of Walker in ‘The Last Survivors.’ His next movie was ‘Everlasting’ in 2016 and it got great reviews. The film ‘Last Man Club’ in 2016 turned out to be his last movie.
Michael Massee did a number of shows on television as well, with ‘The X-Files’ being one of his early ones in 1996. Over the years, he was seen in ‘The Practice’ (2002), ‘Alias’ (2005-06), and CSI: NY (2009). In 2001, he landed the role of Ira Gaines in ’24.’ ‘Flash Forward’ (2009-10), ‘Human Target’ (2010-11), ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ (2011), and ‘Ironside’ (2013-14) are the other television shows in which Michael Massee acted.
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Family & Personal Life
Michael Massee was born on September 1, 1952 in Kansas City, Missouri, to Jack Groo Massee and Holly. In 1955, his family moved to Paris after his father got a job offer with UNESCO in Paris.
After completing his high school in Paris, he came back to the United States and enrolled at Hunter College, New York. Since he was keen to become an actor, he joined acting classes at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre.
He was a devoted family man. He had been married to Ellen Sussdorf since 1997. They had a clothing boutique in Los Angeles. The couple had a son and a daughter, named Jack and Lily, respectively. He died on October 20, 2016 due to stomach cancer.