Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Harold Perrineau Jr. portrayed Michael Dawson.


Born Harold Williams Jr., Perrineau grew up in Brooklyn and went on to study music and theater at the Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia. He played a wheelchair-bound criminal on the critically acclaimed hit show Oz, on which he co-starred with fellow Lost cast member Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. He notably played the role of Mercutio, Romeo's cross-dressing, gender fluid best friend in Baz Luhrman's modern-day adaption of William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet. However, his most well-known movie role to date is that of Link, the Zion hovercraft pilot in The Matrix movies. He was recently involved in the sequel to the British zombie movie 28 Days Later.

His wife Brittany is a model/actress who played a minor character in Lost as Mary Jo, the lotto girl/Sawyer love interest. The couple has two daughters, Aurora Robinson Perrineau and Wynter Aria Perrineau, the latter born May 7, 2008, a week after Perrineau wrapped his Lost role in "There's No Place Like Home, Part 2". [1]

Lost criticism

After Michael's death in the Season 4 finale, Perrineau expressed criticisms with the producers' handling of his role. In an interview with TV Guide, Perrineau made several statements expressing displeasure with the writers' decision to discontinue Michael's story. He stated that he was mainly disappointed because he "wanted Michael and Walt to have a happy ending." He added that he felt like his character's death "was sort of pandering to some fans who wanted to see Michael punished because he betrayed people", and that he would have written the story differently.

Perrineau also stated that he felt the idea of Walt becoming a fatherless child was perpetuating a stereotype:

If I'm being really candid, there are all these questions about how they respond to black people on the show. Sayid gets to meet Nadia again, and Desmond and Penny hook up again, but a little black boy and his father hooking up, that wasn't interesting? Instead, Walt just winds up being another fatherless child. It plays into a really big, weird stereotype and, being a black person myself, that wasn't so interesting.

—Harold Perrineau, TV Guide

Following the interview, Carlton Cuse stated that the producers pride themselves on having a racially diverse cast. Without responding directly to Perrineau's statement, Cuse stated that "Harold is a fantastic actor whose presence added enormously to Lost."

In a follow-up interview with Entertainment Weekly, Perrineau clarified that he was "disappointed", but not "bitter", with the way his character had been handled. He also expressed his satisfaction with the diversity of the cast, saying "I was really, really proud to be part of this group of people that looked like this on network television. We just weren’t used to seeing that kind of diversity on television". Additionally, he expressed his approval of the SAG award received by the cast in 2006.

Overall, Perrineau stated that his experience on Lost was positive, particularly in the first season. In both interviews, he indicated he would be willing to return to the show under the right circumstances:

There are definitely possibilities for Michael to return — and maybe even possibilities for the thing I'm hoping for to happen. Maybe there's some way through Walt's eyes, or through a vision, Michael gets to redeem himself to those people. Or maybe never. When they said, 'We're not going to finish with him here, but as on Lost, you never know who comes back, and dead doesn’t mean you’re gone from the show.'… If they call me up and say, 'Hey, Michael needs to come back and do a thing.' It'd be like, 'What's the thing he needs to do? Yeah, let's go do it!'

—Harold Perrineau, Entertainment Weekly

Season 6 Return (2010)

On January 12, 2010, show-runners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse revealed that Perrieanu would be returning along with Cynthia Watros (Libby).[1]

In a follow-up interview (January 25), Perrineau stated "I was always open to returning because there was stuff I thought was unresolved. I’m hoping we can put Michael to rest in a way we haven’t done so far.” He particularly mentioned making closure with his on-screen son, Walt Lloyd, and Libby.[2]

On Saturday, January 30, Perrineau attended Season 6's Sunset on the Beach premiere along with the producers and numerous other cast members, suggesting they were all on good terms.

In a February 2 interview, Lindelof and Cuse both confirmed that all bad ill between Perrineau and them was healed.[3]


  • Perrineau is his mother's maiden name, and his father is Harold Williams Sr.--his parents never married, so he used both names growing up, eventually settling on Perrineau (an interesting parallel to his character Michael on Lost).
  • He took "a bunch of [swimming] lessons" for his scenes at the boat for the Season 1 finale because he "was not a strong swimmer".[2]
  • Harold played a yoga teacher on the season finale of Dead Like Me where he saluted a starring character with a namaste. [3]
  • Harold supported Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign and appeared briefly in Will.I.Am's "Yes We Can" video. [4]
  • Harold also starred in the ABC drama The Unusuals, in which he played a police officer whose father and grandfather both died at the age of 42.

Media appearances


Title Medium Character Year(s)
CSI: NY TV Show, 1 ep Reggie Tifford 2010
The Unusuals TV Movie Det. Banks 2009 (filming)
The Killing Jar Movie Dixon 2008 (in post production)
Felon Movie Lt. Jackson 2008 (unreleased)
Your Name Here Movie Rich 2008 (unreleased)
Ball Don't Lie Movie Jimmy 2007 (unreleased)
Demons Movie Mitch 2007 (unreleased)
Lost TV Show, 48 eps Michael Dawson 2004-2006; 2008; 2010
CSI:Crime Scene Investigation TV Show, 1 ep Rev. Rhodes 2007
Garfield Gets Real Movie Husband (voice) 2007
28 Weeks Later Movie Flynn 2007
Gardens of the Night Movie Orlando 2007
The Matrix Revolutions Movie Link 2005
Dead Like Me TV Show, 1 ep Aroun Levert 2005
The Matrix Reloaded Movie Link 2003
Oz TV Show, 45 eps Augustus Hill 1997-2003
On_Line Movie Mo Curley 2002
Prison Song Movie Uncle Steve 2001
Overnight Sensation Movie Experienced PA 2000
Woman on Top Movie Monica Jones 2000
Saturday Night Live TV Show, 1 ep Augustus Hill 1999
The Best Man Movie Julian Murch 1999
Macbeth in Manhatten Movie Chorus 1999
A Day in Black and White Movie Black Man 1999
The Tempest Movie Ariel 1998
Lulu on the Bridge Movie Bobby Perez 1998
Come to Movie Joseph 1998
Living Single TV Show, 1 ep Walter Jackson 1997
ER TV Show, 1 ep Isaac Price 1997
The Edge Movie Stephen 1997
Romeo + Juliet Movie Mercutio 1996
Blood and Wine Movie Henry 1996
New York News TV Show, 1 ep Benny 1995
Flirt Movie Men's Room Man 1995
Smoke Movie Thomas "Rashid" Cole 1995
The Cosby Mysteries TV Show, 1 ep Junior Vansen 1994
Law & Order TV Show, 2 eps Jorden Hill/Kenny Rinker 1990-1993
I'll Fly Away TV Show, 7 eps Robert Evans 1991-1993
King of New York Movie Thug Leader 1990
CBS Schoolbreak Special TV Show, 1 ep Curtis 1990
The Cosby Show TV Show, 1 ep Scott 1989
Shakedown Movie Tommie 1988
Fame TV Show, (Unknown # of episodes) Dancer 1982

Talk show

Perrineau has appeared as a talk show guest in the following:

  • May 6, 2005 - 20/20 "Lost Special" (S26 E1396)


Perrineau has been featured as the main topic of the following magazine articles:

Music single

On December 18, 2007, Perrineau released a song on iTunes called "Stay Strong". It is a song for the troops overseas, and a portion of the proceeds is donated to support those who return with injuries. Download "Stay Strong" on iTunes. It was directed by his Lost co-star Daniel Dae Kim and featured a cameo appearance by another Lost star in Josh Holloway.



Main article: Awards



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