If James Cameron needed a male actor to play some type of law officer or military personnel in a sci-fi movie at the start of his career, his go-to was Michael Biehn. Known best for his roles as Kyle Reese in Terminator and Corporal Dwayne Hicks in Aliens, Michael Biehn has been acting since the 70s. But what has he been up to since his 80s sci-fi days? Let’s see if this huckleberry is still in his prime.
In Anniston, Alabama, on July 31st, 1956, Michael Connell Biehn was born to parents Marcia (Connell) and Don Biehn, as the middle child in a trio of sons. His family moved around a bit when he was younger, living in Nebraska for a bit before they settled in Arizona.
Biehn found he liked acting in high school while in the good old drama club and earned a drama scholarship to the University of Arizona. He attended the college for two years – and was a member of the fraternity Sigma Nu – before dropping out to chase the Hollywood dream.
Early acting career
Biehn started his acting career by appearing in two TV shows in 1977. He was in one episode of James at 16 and one of Logan’s Run. In 1978, Michael’s movie debut was uncredited in blink-and-you-miss-them scenes in the musical movie Grease. Look for him getting hit by John Travolta’s Danny with a basketball. That same year he also played Jack Ripley in the comedy Coach.
He landed a larger role on the drama series The Runaways from 1978 until 1979, where he appeared in 17 of the 18 episodes of the show. Michael would spend the rest of the 70s and early 80s appearing in smaller roles and TV movies. That is, until Biehn landed a part in a little movie about a cyborg assassin.
If you don’t say, “I’ll be back” with the accent every time, we can’t be friends. The 1984 sci-fi film The Terminator solidified the careers of James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and shone the spotlight on fairly unknown actor Michael Biehn.
Michael portrayed Sergeant Kyle Reese, the man sent back in time to protect Sarah Conner from the Terminator (Schwarzenegger), the android sent back in time to kill her and her unborn child.
The movie, which holds a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score, collected box office gold, and various sequels, video games, comics, and other franchise avenues were spawned.
Biehn followed up The Terminator with another box office smash, the 1986 sci-fi movie Aliens (sequel to Alien) with Sigourney Weaver. Working again with James Cameron, Michael portrayed Corporal Dwayne Hicks in the film about character Ellen Ripley once more having to survive alien creatures.
Ranked as one of the best sequels ever made, Aliens earned Biehn a Best Actor nomination at the 1987 Saturn Awards. The film’s popularity and critical acclaim turned out video games, comics, merch, a prequel, and of course, more sequels.
James Cameron tapped Michael Biehn again for the 1989 sci-fi film The Abyss with Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. The movie centers around a US rescue team trying to outrace the Soviets to recover a sunken US submarine and the nuclear weapons it has on board. But they also have to deal with unknown aquatic aliens in the process.
The film was nominated for multiple Academy Awards – and won Best Visual Effects – and was rereleased in 1993 in a well-received Special Edition version.
What did Michael do after The Abyss?
After back-to-back-to-back appearances in huge James Cameron successes, Michael was on the way up.
His unforgettable portrayal of Johnny Ringo in the 1993 Western Tombstone – seriously, it deserves a rewatch every year – is our absolute favorite.
He acted in feature movies mostly, but kept to his television movie roots through the 80s, 90s, and into the 2000s.
He had longer runs on shows like The Magnificent Seven from 1998 until 2000 for 22 episodes and Adventure Inc. for 22 episodes from 2002 until 2003.
The big screen is where Michael continues to blow us away with his performances. Constantly acting since the late 70s, he’s only had three years to date where he didn’t have a project come out. Impressive. Some of his credits include roles in films like The Rock, The Art of War, and Grindhouse.
He’s also taken on the other side of the camera, having served as Executive Producer for (and acted in) 2016s Psychopath and She Rises, as well as 2020s Killer Weekend.
What is Michael Biehn doing now?
Michael Biehn is still active as an actor, although he is mostly appearing in small budget and independent movies. You can also find him on television. Most recently he has made appearences on The Mandalorian, The Walking Dead and Law and Order.
As far as other ventures, you can find him at a convention near you. Michael makes the rounds at conventions often and has a handful of appearances coming up in 2023.
He’s taking a bit of a break, but keep an eye on his return to Cameo if you want a personalized message or video from the actor.
Michael’s personal life has gone the way of a drama itself. He was first married to actress Carlene Olson (Frightmare) from July 1980 until July 1987, having two sons, Devon and Taylor, during their marriage. He then married production manager and producer Gina Marsh (Broadchurch) in January 1988. The pair went on to have two sons, Caelan Michael and Alexander, before divorcing in May 2014.
We hope the third time’s a charm for Biehn. He married producer, director, writer, and actress Jennifer Blanc in June of 2018, and they share one son, Dashiell King, making it boy number five for Biehn.
His sixth decade of acting is just getting started, and we hope to see Michael on screen for as long as possible. And if a 40th anniversary of The Terminator happens to be on the menu for next year, we hope he’ll be back.