Michael Moriarty, who made a name for himself as an award-winning actor of stage, screen, and television, is also a skilled jazz pianist and vocalist with a number of recordings to his credit. He has led his own combos and also plays the harmonica, a sample of which can be heard on The Highest Standards album from Plug Records. In addition, he has conducted and recorded a cassette of classical music under the title The Music of Michael Moriarty, which features violinist Nina Beilina. Among his jazz recordings are The Michael Moriarty Quintet Live at Fat Tuesday's April 12, 1992, Sweet 'n Gritty, and Reaching Out.
Despite his soft-spoken manner and innocent-looking features, Moriarty is convincing in all sorts of acting roles, including villains. His 1978 role as a vicious Nazi in Holocaust earned him a Golden Globe. Television audiences also will recall him from the four years he portrayed Ben Stone on the long-running weekly crime drama Law & Order during the early '90s. The actor also has won a Tony, Emmy, Hugo, and Drama Desk awards. Moriarty studied with Stella Adler in London, where he was a Fulbright Scholar at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Before becoming established in his acting career, he earned a paycheck by waiting tables and working as a salesman of tires and encyclopedias.
Controversy surrounded some of his actions in later years. He attributed his resignation from Law & Order to a recent meeting he'd had with Janet Reno, who was then attorney general of the U.S. Reno spoke against violence on television, while Moriarty's resignation was a stand against censorship. In Canada, where he makes his home in Vancouver, British Columbia, his political activities made headlines as he established the new Republican Party of Canada. An alleged altercation in a bar with a girlfriend also made headlines in 2000. The actor has been married three times. He wed Francoise Martinet in 1966, and the couple divorced in 1978. Moriarty wed Anne Hamilton Martin that same year and they divorced in 1997. His marriage to Suzana Cabrita lasted from 1998 to 1999.