Michael Emerson was born in 1955 in Iowa, USA. Having theatrical education in Iowa's Drake University in 1976, he moved to New York. Unable to find work in the profession, Emerson settled as a freelance illustrator. Married in 1986, he moved to Florida, where he worked as a director and teacher, as well as participated in local theater productions. In 1993, Michael Emerson decided to pursue theater training and in the same year became a member of the theater festival Shakespeare Festival, driven by the state of Alabama. After graduation, Emerson returned to New York, where he took part in an annual demonstration performances Alabama Shakespeare Festival. The year 1997 was a breakthrough year for Michael Emerson, he played Oscar Wilde in the acclaimed off-Broadway directed by Moises Kaufman «Gross Indecency: The Trials of Oscar Wilde».
In 1998, Michael was divorced, later marrying actress Carrie Preston. In subsequent years, Emerson continued to play off-Broadway productions, along with Uma Thurman, Kevin Spacey and Kate Burton. In 2001, Michael Emerson received the Emmy for outstanding performance as serial killer William Hinks in the television series channel ABC "The Practice". His most prominent role he played in the 2004 movie "Saw." In 2006, Michael Emerson began to shoot in the television series channel AVC "Lost," where he played Benjamin Linus, episodic character, which in the future directors of the series decided to make one of the main actors.