Michael Benjamin Bay

Born: February 17, 1965

Height: 6'3"/1.9 meters

Weight: 145 lbs/65kg

High School: Crossroads High

Undergraduate education:

Wesleyan University Class of '86'
Major: English/Film

Graduate education

Pasadena Art Center College of Design
Major: Film

At 34, and still in the early stages of his career, Michael Bay has achieved success in every story-telling genre he has explored so far. He has bought a characteristic energy and visual dynamism to three high-grossing features (Bad Boys, The Rock, Armageddon); he has directed some of television's most imaginative commercials, winning more awards than any other American director his age; and he is a sought-after director of music videos. Bay's most technically and emotionally complex feature film project, Armageddon, was released July 1, 1998 and made him the youngest director to reach the billion dollar mark world wide.

As the eighth highest grossing movie of all time, Armageddon is the culmination of Bay's cinematic education up till now - a process that is ongoing. He made his first feature at the age of 13 - the gripping drama of an enemy space ship attacking his train set. Although the fire department had to be called to put out the resultant glue-blaze from Bay's production, he was not deterred. he continued with photography, winning many student awards for his work.

By age 15, Bay was working for Lucasfilm, where he watched Steven Spielberg transform seemingly mundane effects and sets into the magical experience of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." It was a metamorphosis Bay would never forget - one that would continually inspire his own interest in creating seamless visual worlds behind fascinating characters.

Eventually, Bay wound up in the influential film program at Wesleyan - where his talent was recognized with the Frank Capra Award for Best Student Film - and he went on to study at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design. After graduating, h made the decision to direct music videos, the quickest way to get immediate, hands-on shooting experience. Bay soon was drawing accolades on his very first video for the direction of Donny Osmond's surprise come-back video. He was recruited to continue directing videos for Propaganda Films, the commercial production house that has given genesis to some of Hollywood's most promising young visual artist. At Propaganda, where he now is a partner, he continued directing popular videos for such artist as Aerosmith, Tina Turner, Lionel Richie, Meatloaf, and the DiVinyls.

His first move into television advertising, an ad for the American Red Cross, won a Clio, an auspicious beginning that would start a career-long trend. He went on to direct some of the most widely seen and remembered 60-second stories in recent television history - including spots for Nike, Budweiser, Bugle Boy, Coca-Cola, Levi's, Isuzu, Miller and Mercedes.

Bay's best recognized campaign has become one of the most widely lauded and imitated ads in recent history - the GOT MILK series of commercials. Bay won a Grand Prix Clio for Commercial of the Year for the "Got Milk/Aaron Burr" commercial and also garnered the Museum of Modern Art Award for Best Campaign of the Year. Since the age of 26, Bay has won every major commercial directing award, including the Gold and Silver Lions at Cannes.

But even as he attained extraordinary success in commercials, Bay knew he eventually wanted to direct a feature. He turned down dozen of projects before meeting with producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer while shooting the video for "Days of Thunder." Simpson and Bruckheimer offered Bad Boys which he immediately recognized as the type of script he was seeking for his entree to film: a fun entertaining story with big audience- pleasing potential.

The feature became a paragon of the stylish action comedy and grossed more than $160 million world wide. Bay next made another leap - this time to the big-budget, epic action of The Rock, working with Academy Award-winning actors Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery. The film not only became the major summer blockbuster of 1996, but won critics over with its dazzling mix of visual excitement, high-wire suspense and compelling performances.

After The Rock, Bay began to knock around an idea with screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh based on their mutual fascination with the devastating terrestrial threat of unseen asteroids. There was no doubt in Bay's mind that such a project was going to require enormous resources and technical innovation, not to mention NASA's assistance - but he was confident that they had hit upon a story which delivered on an unusually evocative emotional level for such a high-concept piece. Disney agreed that it was a story worth telling and re-teamed Bay with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, making Armageddon a sure-fire summer blockbuster.

And what will Michael Bay do in the wake of Armageddon? Bay intends to continue upping the stakes by taking on a new genres and styles - assuming there is no imminent meteor strike. Currently, Bay is developing a television show entitled Quantico for FOX.


Thanks to Bay Films for this biography.