Michael Moriarty

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Michael Moriarty
Born(1941-04-05) April 5, 1941 (age 73)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Years active1971—present
Spouse(s)Suzana Cabrita (1998-1999; divorced)
Anne Hamilton Martin (1978-1997; divorced)
Francoise Martinet (1966-1978; divorced)
Margaret Brychka (?-present)
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For other people named Michael Moriarty, see Michael Moriarty (disambiguation).
Michael Moriarty
Born(1941-04-05) April 5, 1941 (age 73)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Years active1971—present
Spouse(s)Suzana Cabrita (1998-1999; divorced)
Anne Hamilton Martin (1978-1997; divorced)
Francoise Martinet (1966-1978; divorced)
Margaret Brychka (?-present)

Michael Moriarty (born April 5, 1941) is an American-Canadian stage and screen actor, and a jazz musician. He played Benjamin Stone for the first four seasons in the TV series Law & Order.

Early life[edit]

Moriarty, an Irish-American[1] was born in Detroit, Michigan the son of Elinor (née Paul) and George Moriarty,[2] a surgeon. His grandfather, George Moriarty, was a third baseman, umpire and manager in the major leagues for nearly 40 years.

Moriarty attended middle school at Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills before transferring to the University of Detroit Jesuit High School for high school.[3] He then matriculated at Dartmouth College in the class of 1963, where he was a theatre college major. After receiving his degree, he left for London, England, where he enrolled in the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, after receiving a Fulbright Scholarship.

Acting career[edit]

In 1973, Moriarty was cast as the egocentric Henry Wiggen in Bang the Drum Slowly, a film about the unlikely friendship between two baseball teammates – the second being Robert De Niro, a slow-thinking catcher who becomes terminally ill. In the same year, Moriarty starred in a TV movie adaptation of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie with Katharine Hepburn. Coincidentally, the film also featured Sam Waterston, who later replaced Moriarty as the Executive Assistant District Attorney on Law & Order. Moriarty's role in Menagerie (as "Jim," the Gentleman Caller; Waterston played the son "Tom") won him an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor of the Year.[4] In 1974, Moriarty starred as rookie detective Bo Lockley in the acclaimed gritty police drama Report to the Commissioner.

Moriarty won a Tony Award in 1974 for his work in Find Your Way Home. His career on the screen was slow to develop, while his theatre career was flourishing. He starred as a German SS officer in the television miniseries Holocaust, which earned him another Emmy. Through the 1980s, Moriarty starred in such Larry Cohen movies as Q, The Stuff, It's Alive III: Island of the Alive, and A Return to Salem's Lot (much later, he appeared in Cohen's Masters of Horror episode "Pick Me Up"), as well as Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider and The Hanoi Hilton. In 1986, he starred in the fantasy science fiction movie Troll, playing the role of Harry Potter Sr. (unrelated to the 2001 Harry Potter series.)

From 1990 to 1994, Moriarty starred as Ben Stone on Law & Order. He left the show in 1994, alleging that his departure was a result of his threatening a lawsuit against then-Attorney General Janet Reno, who had cited Law & Order as offensively violent. Moriarty criticized Reno's comment, and claimed that not only did she want to censor shows like Law & Order but also such fare as Murder, She Wrote. He later accused Law & Order executive producer Dick Wolf of not taking his concerns seriously, and claimed that Wolf and other network executives were "caving in" to Reno's "demands" on the issue of TV violence. On September 20, 1994 on The Howard Stern Show, he made an offer to NBC, claiming that he would return to his role on the show if Dick Wolf was fired. Moriarty published a full-page advertisement in a Hollywood trade magazine, calling upon fellow artists to stand up with him against attempts to censor TV show content. He subsequently wrote and published The Gift of Stern Angels, his account of this time in his life.[5]

Wolf and others working on Law & Order tell a different story, however. On November 18, 1993, Moriarty and Wolf, along with other television executives, met with Reno to dissuade her from supporting any law that would censor the show. Wolf said that Moriarty overreacted to any effect the law was likely to have on the show. Law & Order producers claim they were forced to remove Moriarty from the series because of "erratic behavior", an example of which reportedly happened during the filming of the episode "Breeder" when, according to the episode's director, Arthur Forney, Moriarty was unable to deliver his lines with a straight face. Series and network officials deny any connection between his departure and Janet Reno. Wolf also denies that the show has become less violent, graphic or controversial since 1994.[6]

Moriarty acted in The Last Detail, Courage Under Fire, Along Came a Spider, Shiloh, Emily of New Moon and James Dean, for which he won his third Emmy. In 2007 he debuted his first feature-length film as screenwriter and performed the role of a man who thinks he is Adolf Hitler in Hitler Meets Christ.

Musical career[edit]

In addition to his acting career, Moriarty is a semi-professional jazz pianist and singer, as well as a classical composer. He has recorded three jazz albums (though the first, Reaching Out, went unreleased), and has performed live regularly in both New York and Vancouver, with a jazz trio and quintet. In a 1990 concert review, New York Times reviewer Stephen Holden called Moriarty "a jazz pianist of considerable skill, an oddball singer with more than one vocal personality, and a writer of eccentric, jivey jazz songs".[7]


Moriarty is politically active, describing himself as a "centrist", and sometimes as a "realist".[8] He has written extensively on his opposition to abortion.

In response to a 2006 interview question as to what the most pressing issue facing the United States was, he stated:

We will find abortion and the despotic Roe v. Wade decision revealing itself as a virtual burning of the Declaration of Independence and our "inalienable right to life…when created"… not gestated. So the pressing issue will, inevitably, be the Third Millennium's version of American slavery: abortion.[9]

Moriarty announced his intention to run for the presidency in 2008 in an interview in the November 2005 issue of Northwest Jazz Profile, but never formally declared his candidacy.[9][10] He later endorsed fellow former Law & Order actor Fred Thompson for the presidency.[11] He has been a frequent contributor of numerous political columns to the ESR (Enter Stage Right) online Journal of Conservativism.

A website called Michael Moriarty Unofficial, Unauthorized, Unsanctioned Home Page[12] contains editorials by Moriarty, and these, in addition to posts on ESR, contain scathing denunciations of an eclectic array of targets, including Bill Clinton, abortion, embryonic stem cell research, anti-Catholicism, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, George W. Bush, both major U.S. political parties, Halliburton, Kenny G, the College of Cardinals, and Islam. Historically, he has been a supporter of the United States Republican Party.[13] A 2006 interview contains the following quotes by Moriarty:

Like the collaborating Vichy government in France under the Nazis, America will surrender to laws and ideologies that contradict the American Constitution and the most simple Human Rights. The Supreme Court took a once individually free nation and corrupted it by the lie of Science that fetuses are, in their first two trimesters, no more than egg yolk. Ultimately, our American Intellectual Supremacists bought the "Population Problem", in the same way Europe fell under the thrall of the so-called "Jewish Problem". Islam, in and of itself... is an Allah-worshipping, Kamikaze Nation, exactly like pre-World War II Imperial Japan. Its Bible, the Koran, can be read like Hitler's Mein Kampf. It demands to rule the entire human race. Islam's only idea of freedom of religion is the freedom of Islam to rule everything. Islamic Political Parties should be no more trusted than neo-Nazi, White Supremacists and David Duke of the Ku Klux Klan have been trusted. Tragically, the only language Islam, like Hirohito's Japan, understands is violence. The measures Harry Truman took to end the war with Japan may prove tragically necessary with Islam.[14]

He later restated his previous comments towards Islam, deeming that Osama bin Laden preached a perverted, traitorous form of Islam:

Allah is plumbing your depths. The fear you're now beginning to feel is only the beginning. As you shut walls between your terror and your evil missions, Allah is exuding His presence within every true Muslim. The eyes and ears of Islam are hearing their God and, with all their eyes on you, Osama, witness the clarity of their adoration begin to cloud with the smoky mists of Allah. Merely a wisp of doubt in your followers will grow to a puff of occasional anger, then a stare of growing revelation, and finally, when they again turn their eyes on you, they will see Islam's greatest traitor, Allah's most evil son, and Mohammed's certain enemy.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Shortly after leaving Law & Order, Moriarty moved to Canada, declaring himself a political exile. He lived for a time in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he was granted Canadian citizenship, and Toronto, Ontario before settling in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Moriarty lives in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, where he still acts, writes and plays music. On the blog Enter Stage Right Moriarty writes that he was a "very bad drunk", but that as of February 1, 2004, he had been sober for three years.[16]



1971My Old Man's PlaceTrubee Pell
1972Hickey & BoggsBallard
1973Bang the Drum SlowlyHenry 'Author' Wiggen
1973A Summer Without BoysAbe BattleTelevision movie
1973The Last DetailMarine O.D.
1973The Glass MenagerieJim O'ConnorTelevision movie
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1974Shoot It Black, Shoot It BlueHerbert G. Rucker
1975Report to the CommissionerBo Lockley
1977The Deadliest SeasonGerry MillerTelevision movie, featuring Meryl Streep in her first movie role.
1978Who'll Stop the RainJohn Converse
1978The Winds of Kitty HawkWilbur WrightTelevision movie
1979Too Far to GoRichard Maple
1982The Sound of MurderCharles Norberry
1982QJimmy Quinn
1982Blood LinkKeith Mannings
1985Odd BirdsBrother T. S. Murphy
1985Pale RiderHull Barret
1985The StuffDavid 'Mo' Rutherford
1986TrollHarry Potter, Sr.
1987The Hanoi HiltonWilliamson
1987It's Alive III: Island of the AliveJarvis
1987A Return to Salem's LotJoe Weber
1988Windmills of the GodsEillisonTelevision movie
1988Frank Nitti: The EnforcerHugh KellyTelevision movie
1989The Secret of the Ice CaveManny Wise
1989Dark TowerDennis Randall
1990Full Fathom FiveMcKenzie
1995Children of the DustJohn MaxwellTelevision movie
1995Broken SilenceMulliganChicago International Film Festival Award for Best Supporting Actor
1996Courage Under FireGeneral Hershberg
1996ShilohRay Preston
1997The ArrowPresident Dwight D. EisenhowerTelevision movie
1999The Art of MurderCole Sheridan
1999Shiloh 2: Shiloh SeasonRay Preston
2000Woman WantedRichard Goddard
2000Children of My HeartRodrique EymardTelevision movie
2001House of LukMr. Kidd
2001James DeanWinton DeanTelevision movie
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
2001Along Came a SpiderSenator Hank Rose
2003Cold BloodedMark Solomon
2005Fugitives RunCallohan
200612 Hours to LiveDonald SaundersTelevision movie
2006Deadly SkiesGeneral DuttonTelevision movie
2007Hitler Meets ChristHitler


1978HolocaustEric Dorf4 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1986Cagney & LaceyPatrick LowellEpisode: "Act of Conscience"
1986HotelBrad CarltonEpisode: "Heroes"
1987The EqualizerDr. Peter KapikEpisode: "Encounter in a Closed Room"
1988The Twilight ZoneWarren CribbonsEpisode: "20/20 Vision"
1989The EqualizerWayne 'Seti' VirgilEpisode: "Starfire"
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
1990–1994Law & OrderExecutive A.D.A. Ben Stone88 episodes
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (1991–94)
1997–1999PSI Factor: Chronicles of the ParanormalMichael Kelly10 episodes
1997Dead Man's GunJohn PikeEpisode: "Death Warrant"
1998Poltergeist: The LegacyMajor Robert 'Johnathan' BoyleEpisode: "Father to Son"
1998Touched by an AngelDr. Charles CraytonEpisode: "Seek and Ye Shall Find"
1998Emily of New MoonDouglas Starr3 episodes
1999Strange WorldUnknownEpisode: "Pilot"
2000The Adventures of Jules VerneDr. DracoEpisode: "The Eyes of Lazzaro"
2000The Outer LimitsSolicitor-General Wallace GannonEpisode: "Final Appeal"
2001MentorsWilliam Randolph HearstEpisode: "Citizen Cates"
2002Stephen King's Dead ZoneReverend Eugene 'Gene' PurdyEpisode: "Unaired Pilot"
2002TakenColonel Thomas CampbellEpisode: "Beyond the Sky"
2002Just CauseDr. Hamilton WhitneyEpisode: "Death's Detail"
2004The 4400Orson BaileyEpisode: "Pilot"
2006Masters of HorrorJim WheelerEpisode: "Pick Me Up"


  1. ^ "Michael Moriarty - I am Jack Ryan". Mmuuuhp.com. 2009-07-04. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  2. ^ "Michael Moriarty Biography (1941-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2011-03-09. 
  3. ^ Moriarty, Michael (May 15, 2006) With Churchillian defiance", www.enterstageright.com.
  4. ^ Internet Movie Database awards page for Moriarty
  5. ^ Moriarty, Michael (1997). The Gift of Stern Angels. Exile Editions. ISBN 1-55096-183-7. 
  6. ^ Courrier, Kevin; Susan Green (November 20, 1999). Law & Order: The Unofficial Companion. Renaissance Books. pp. 136, 140. ISBN 1-58063-108-8. 
  7. ^ "Review/Cabaret; Singer, Actor And Pianist Rolled Into One". The New York Times. February 15, 1990. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  8. ^ "The Realists". American-partisan.com. 2001-08-27. Retrieved 2011-03-09. 
  9. ^ a b "An Interview with Emmy-Winning Actor Michael Moriarty, Presidential Candidate by Candidate Profile". 
  10. ^ "Moriarty: 'I'm running for president in 2008'". 
  11. ^ Actor Michael Moriarty Endorses Fellow Law & Order Star for President by Jim Kouri, CPP
  12. ^ Michael Moriarty Unofficial, Unauthorized, Unsanctioned Home Page
  13. ^ "Marxianity vs. Americanianity". American-partisan.com. 2004-11-19. Retrieved 2011-03-09. 
  14. ^ Nathan Tabor, The Conservative Voice. "Conservative Voice". Archived from the original on 2008-02-17. Retrieved 2011-03-09. 
  15. ^ "Allah is Hunting You, Osama Bin Laden!". MMUUUHP (via archive.org). Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  16. ^ Moriarty, Michael (May 29, 2006)"RU486 or against it?", www.enterstageright.com

External links[edit]