Michel is a first generation American born in Manhattan on April 16,1960 to parents who narrowly survived the Holocaust. They themselves sprung from the Great Diaspora, which began for their parents in Moscow, Odessa, Kiev and the Ukraine. Michel’s mother, Nadine Gill, lives in New York, his father, James Vladimir Gill, lived in Switzerland until his death in 1995. James was less pre-occupied with having survived the horrible events of the 30’s and 40’s and more concerned about how he was going to survive survival.
Michel has three sisters and often wondered, growing up, if he shouldn’t have been called Andre. Nina, Kitty and Natasha are sprinkled around the globe and have no desire to return to Moscow ... so ... there endeth the Chekhov analogy. His first language was French his second, English ... then came Latin, Greek, German and Russian. At this juncture, he’s amazed he can ask where the ’can’ is in one of them!
Michel is thrilled to be playing POTUS in the NETFLIX production of "House of Cards." His fascination with US Presidents began at the age of 3, during the year he and his family lived in Paris. He can vividly recall studying the picture of that boy saluting a casket on that famous edition of Paris Match. Michel felt he was that boy ... dressed the same way; shorts, powder-blue coat ... slighly knock-kneed. We were all that little boy and we had all lost a father figure. How could a nation heal from such devastation? What untold secrets rested not so peacefully at Arlington Cemetery?
Michel has always been absorbed with the not so delicate balance between the secrets presidents keep and the little we, the people, know. How, as a nation, we offset those two and inform ourselves without tipping over into invention, conspiracy theory or pettiness. Now, as President Garrett Walker, he can finally pretend to know.