Michael was born in Chicago, and studied Theatre Arts at Northwestern University where he received a B.S. in Theatre Arts and an M.A. in Oral Interpretation. Following graduation he served two years in the Army, the latter months at Headquarters Company, II Field Force, Vietnam .
Michael eventually arrived on Broadway in “Butterflies Are Free” opposite Gloria Swanson, and worked extensively Off Broadway and in various regional theatres. While touring "The Day After The Fair" opposite Deborah Kerr, he met his future wife, British actress Vickery Turner, and they set up home in London and Los Angeles.
Television and film highlights include, the starring role of Major Kiley in the war time series “We’ll Meet Again” opposite Susannah York, the Sci-fi series, "Future Cop" with Ernest Borgnine, Helen Mirren’s lover, in “Prime Suspect 3”, Jack Daniels in “A Very Peculiar Practice”, Carl in the cult series “Rock Follies”, “Little Shop of Horrors” , directed by Frank Oz, “The Author of Beltraffio”, directed by Tony Scott, “Nightwatch” with Pierce Brosnan, “Fatherland” with Rutger Hauer, "American Gun" with Donald Sutherland, and the action series “Riker” for NBC. He also starred in several mini-series including “Poor Little Rich Girl” with Farrah Fawcett, as well as numerous guest starring appearances, most recently “Boston Legal”, “Brothers & Sisters” and "The Riches".
Theatre highlights include “The Price “ at the Leicester Haymarket, the British premiere of Arthur Kopit’s “The End of the World” (Nuffield, Southampton), Murray in “A Thousand Clowns” at the Palace, Watford and Tobias in ”A Delicate Balance” at the Nottingham Playhouse with Eleanor Bron. In London he played leads in the London premiere of AR Gurney’s, “The Dining Room” , “The Glass Menagerie” with Constance Cummings, and “Artichoke” with Janet Suzman, among many others. In Los Angeles Michael appeared on stage as President Warren Harding in the critically acclaimed, “Everyone’s Friend” at the Whitefire Theatre, a play he also co-produced.
Michael has long combined his acting career with writing. His first play, DEROS ON THE FUNNY FARM, had staged readings at the Long Wharf in New Haven and at ACT in San Francisco and was produced in New York. Other plays include: CO-OPS, A MORE PERFECT UNION, CHEKHOV ON THE PLAINS, and his one man play, JFK on JFK, staged at the Stella Adler theatre in Los Angeles. Hoyt Hilsman in Backstage West said, “Shannon’s memorable performance captures the soul of the late president like none other in recent memory.” Recently he wrote and performed another one man play, WATCHING WITH LINCOLN at RADA STUDIOS In London, a play that a was filmed and can be found on this website. His latest play, BLACK ICE ON THE WESTERN ROAD, was recently revised. Michael has also written a number of screenplays, his latest,"AFTERMATH', set in London, Philadelphia and Berlin in the late 1940s.