Michael's family includes his parents, Dr. William and Virginia Jeter, his brother William, and his four sisters, Virginia, Amanda, Emily, and Larie.
When Michael first started working on stage, he began in Baltimore, Maryland because he had heard it was hard to work in New York City without an equity card.
Michael's longtime boyfriend was Sean Blue. The two were together until Michael's death.
Michael was 5'4"(1.524 meters) tall.
During the 1980's, Michael struggled with alcohol and drug abuse.
Michael actually quit the film business in 1983 to become a legal secretary, but returned when he was asked to perform the role of Herman Stiles in Evening Shade.
Right before he died, Michael completed his last movie, which was The Polar Express.
Michael appeared in the plays Ragtime, Hair, Once in a Lifetime, Cloud 9, and Grand Hotel.
In 1990, Michael was featured in the Broadway play Grand Hotel, and won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical. He also won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical, the Clarence Derwent Prize for Most Promising Actor On The Metropolitan Scene, and a Drama Desk Award for Featured Actor in a Musical.
In 1992, Michael was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV for Evening Shade.
In 2000, Michael was nominated for a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Theatrical Motion Picture for The Green Mile.
Michael won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 1992 for his role on a sitcom called Evening Shade. He was nominated for the same award in 1991 and 1993. In 1993, Michael was also nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for Picket Fences. In 1996, he was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for Chicago Hope.
Michael was a student at Memphis State University. He enrolled, intending to study medicine, but soon switched his major to acting and theater. He graduated in 1974.
Michael: (On growing up in a conservative community while knowing he was gay) I knew instinctually that I had to get out of there if I was ever going to understand what [my] difference was and get comfortable with it.
Michael: I know that I am not what one normally thinks of as, let's say, fit for fantasy. I am not a romantic lead, and that's fine....There was a time in my life when I hated myself for being so sort of squirrelly looking and odd.
Michael: (On his character, Herman Stiles, from Evening Shade) He is not perfect in any sense of the word. Everyone is Herman on some level.
Michael: (During his acceptance speech at the 1990 Tonys) If you've got a problem with alcohol and drugs and think you can't stop, I stand here as living proof.