(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". 
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)
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.
In a February 2 interview, Lindelof and Cuse both confirmed that all bad ill between Perrineau and them was healed.
- 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".
- Harold played a yoga teacher on the season finale of Dead Like Me where he saluted a starring character with a namaste. 
- Harold supported Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign and appeared briefly in Will.I.Am's "Yes We Can" video. 
- 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.
|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)|
|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|
|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|
|Lulu on the Bridge||Movie||Bobby Perez||1998|
|Living Single||TV Show, 1 ep||Walter Jackson||1997|
|ER||TV Show, 1 ep||Isaac Price||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|
|Fame||TV Show, (Unknown # of episodes)||Dancer||1982|
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:
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.
- August 8, 2004: Sunset on the Beach (Season 1 premiere), Honolulu, HI
- September 14, 2005: Sunset on the Beach (Season 2 premiere), Honolulu, HI
- July 26, 2007 Comic Con 2007 - Lost Panel, San Diego, CA
- May 13, 2010 - Lost Live