Born as Michael Anthony Thomas Charles Hall on April 14, 1968, Anthony Michael Hall is an American actor, producer and director. He was born in Westbury in Massachusetts, and is the son of blues-jazz singer Mercedes Hall. When his mother divorced his father, they moved to New York City where he grew up. He attended St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s in New York, and then moved on to study at Manhattan’s Professional Children’s School. When he was eight years old, he began to pursue his acting career. He continued this until he was high school, and considered not going to college.
Anthony Michael Hall was given roles in several commercials when he was seven. In 1977, he made his stage debut in the Steve Allen play The Wake. He also appeared in the Lincoln Center Festival’s production of St. Joan of the Microphone. Hall was given a major role in the Emmy-winning TV movie The Gold Bug, where he played a young Edgar Allan Poe. He then gained critical recognition for the 1982 Kenny Rogers film Six Pack. In 1983, he was cast in National Lampoon’s Vacation. It became a box office hit and Hall caught the attention of the film’s screenwriter John Hughes. The next year, he received his breakout role playing Farmer Ted in Sixteen Candles, Hughes’ directorial debut. The film became an instant classic and made Hall and his co-star, Molly Ringwald, overnight stars. Hall was also cast in two other films by John Hughes. One of them was the quintessential teen film The Breakfast Club, where he played “the brain.” He also played another misfit, Gary Wallace, in Weird Science. His choice of characters established him as the 80s “nerd-of-choice” and became a member of Hollywood’s Brat Pack. When he was 17, he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, and starred in the 1986 film Out of Bounds to avoid being typecast. He next starred in Johnny Be Good with Uma Thurman. Both of the films were critical failures. Hall was subsequently cast in the Tim Burton film Edward Scissorhands, his first time playing a villain. He began to have more mature roles, starring alongside Will Smith in Six Degrees of Separation in 1993. He then starred and directed his first feature film, Hail Caesar, a low-budget comedy. Hall was also praised for his portrayal of billionaire Bill Gates in Pirates of Silicon Valley in 1999. During the 2000s, he gained supporting roles in All About the Benjamins and The Caveman’s Valentine. In 2002, he starred in the USA Network’s supernatural drama The Dead Zone as the character Johnny Smith. The TV series was adapted from Stephen King’s novel, and the show received strongly positive reviews. Hall also starred with Tony Danza and Chris Penn in Aftermath, an independent drama. He also played Mike Engel in The Dark Knight in 2008.