Michael Harney stars as counselor Sam Healy in the popular television series “Orange is the New Black.” The character is a cruel and angry homophobe.Â Harney is a veteran in the film industry and has appeared over the last several decades in series such as “Deadwood,” “NYPD Blue,” “True Detectives,” “Weeds” and others. He’s currently working on a new film called “Bad Hurt” as the father of a Gulf war veteran. He has the versatility to play a number of characters and this has made him a popular supporting actor to many fans. We know he’s a good actor, but there is a lot that we really haven’t heard about him yet.
Here are five things that you probably didn’t know about Michael Harney.
1. He prefers family over career
While many actors know that they must dedicate themselves to their careers to get ahead, Michael doesn’t see it that way. In fact, when he was first asked to read the script for the film “Bad Hurt” he had just completed a season of Orange and had planned to spend time with his family. He told them that he wasn’t interested in working because he wanted to have family time. He agreed to read the script and by the time he finished, he knew that this was a role he had to accept. It’s nice to see that his heart was in the right place, but fans will be happy that he took on the part.
2. Michael Harney has spent time working in a prison in real life
He hasn’t been incarcerated, but during his college years, Michael did some volunteer work at Ossining State Penitentiary. He assisted a prisoner with his case and visited him regularly. This is one of the experiences he’s had in his life that has influenced him to become an outspoken advocate of prison reform.
3. Harney almost became a priest prior to Hollywood
Michael shared that he was considering becoming a Jesuit priest. He was influenced by a spiritual advisory during his time at Fordham University. He has a friend who is a Jesuit and he has seen the very best that the religion has to offer in these two men. This has helped him in the development of who he is as a person and is also one of the reasons that he is to this day, an advocate for the less fortunate.
4. Harney has a special needs son
This is one of the reasons why he felt so compelled to accept the role of the father in “Bad Hurt.” The character is not only the father of a Gulf War veteran, but also the dad of a special needs adult daughter. The execs who sent the script to him knew this would be a part that he could readily identify with and they were right for pushing him to read it. In a way, Harney was not putting his family second by accepting the role.
5. Michael has a unique perspective on what it means to be “tough”
Harney grew up around Marines. Although not in the military himself, he knew what it was because he saw it in action from the men who were around him in his younger years. He believes that toughness means accomplishing the things that need to be done regardless of the difficulty. His top priority for being tough is his family. When a choice has to be made, it’s family first and this is just one of the many things that makes Michael Harney such a wonderful person on and off screen. His role as father has taught him precisely what being “tough” is all about.