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John Michael Higgins Biography

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Birth Name: John Michael Higgins
Born: 02/12/1963
Birth Place: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Born in Boston, Higgins spent his youth as a Navy brat moving from one base to the next-sixteen at final count-though most of his time was spent in Washington, D.C. He delved into acting as a child, performing at the Folger Theatre, Arena Stage and Round House Theatre. Though he took acting classes at the time, Higgins shifted gears when he attended Amherst College to study literature. He continued to act, however, turning in fine performances that included a "restrained, ironic and aloof" Hamlet. Though on the path to becoming an academic, the acting bug never went away. Higgins continued theater after college, building an impressive resume on and off-Broadway: his Antipholus of Ephesus in Caca Rosset's interpretation of the Bard's "Comedy of Errors" was one of the few highlights in an excessively overproduced show, and as the title character in Paul Rudnick's "Jeffrey," he earned plenty of laughs as a 30-something gay man who declares his celibacy after becoming tired of treading the perilous waters of safe sex.

After playing Letterman, offers poured in for the once-unknown actor. He began making appearances on television, most notably as Elaine's balding beau on an episode of "Seinfeld" (NBC, 1989-1998). He had a short-lived recurring role as Ar'nox the alien whose spaceship is continually stolen by men in black on "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" (Syndicated, 1997-2000) and a more frequently recurring role as Steven Milter, an attorney who frequently opposed the lawyers of Cage & Fish and her colleagues and was fond of the phrase "I'm not comfortable with that" in the waning years of "Ally McBeal" (Fox, 1997-2002). Meanwhile, Higgins crossed over to the silver screen. Though his official movie debut was in the little-seen horror comedy "Vampire's Kiss" (1989), he appeared years later as a supporting player in "Wag the Dog" (1997), "G.I. Jane" (1997) and "Bicentennial Man" (1999).

Higgins was then cast as Scott, the more flamboyant of two gay men who enter their overly pampered Shih Tzu into the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show (a parody of the Westminster Dog Show) in Christopher Guest's "Best in Show." Stealing nearly every scene, Higgins was memorable for packing enough kimonos for forty-eight hours worth of tea services and telling a hotel clerk to "talk to daddy" when asked for payment on the room. After a brief appearance as a doctor in the C n Brother's starkly filmed "The Man Who Wasn't There" (2001), Guest cast him for his next mockumentary, "A Mighty Wind," the story of folk performers who gather for a musical reunion celebrating the life of a folk icon. Played with self-righteous confusion touched with unrelenting ambition, his portrayal of the perpetually grinning leader of the New Main Street Singers-a group bordering on a cult because of their spiritual adherence to the vibrancy of colors-earned Higgins high critical praise.

In 2004, he directed his first play, "The Play's the Thing," Ferenc Molnar's farcical look at theater people engaged in a clash of wits over love and art in a castle on the Italian Riviera. That same year, Higgins earned a Drama Desk Award nomination for his swaggering performance as the closeted gay tennis champion, Bill Tilden, in the off-Broadway bio-play, "Big Bill." Higgins continued his on-screen presence, appearing in a recurring role on "Arrested Development" (Fox, 2003- ) as the hard-nosed government attorney seeking to prosecute the Bluth family, as well as episodes of "George Lopez" (ABC, 2002- ), "Monk" (USA, 2001- ) and "Boston Legal" (ABC, 2004- ). After a comic turn as a psychiatrist-cum-vampire in "Blade: Trinity" (2004), he stole every scene he was in when he played Andre Divine, the Euro-trash paramour of a murdered actress (a character whose verbal quirks and crude bluntness he based on a former Russian landlord of his) in the improvised Martin Short comedy vehicle, "Jiminy Glick in Lalawood" (2005).