Mike Colter Biography

Mike Colter photo

Born: August 26, 1976


Date of Birth: August 26, 1976

Mike Colter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Lee Colter Sr. in Columbia, South Carolina. However, he grew up in the small town of St. Matthews, South Carolina, which had a population of less than 2,000 in 2010. His brother Eddie L. Colter Jr. is a secret service agent, and his cousin is the critically acclaimed actress Viola Davis.

He first found his ambition and calling in acting at eight years of age, after watching the film A Soldier Story in 1984. He is a graduate of Calhoun County High School, where he joined and later became the president of the drama club, and was even voted as “most ambitious” in his senior year. He spent a year at Benedict College, before transferring to the University of South Carolina, where he received a bachelor’s degree in theater in 1999.

Mike received an MFA degree in acting from the Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts, and afterwards moved to Los Angeles to further his movie career. He was able to overcome his small town roots, and guest starred on series' such as Law & Order: Trial by Jury, The Good Wife, ER, and The Parkers. He also starred in Ringer with Sarah Michelle Gellar.

His highest profile role was when he portrayed boxer Big Willie Little in the film Million Dollar Baby, and was cast alongside Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman. He had to gain 15 pounds of muscle before filming the movie, and got the role without ever even meeting Clint in person prior to the first day of shooting.

In 2010, he landed a small part in the action film Salt with Angelina Jolie Pitt, Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Two years later, he took to the screen alongside Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men In Black 3, as well as the Oscar-winning Zero Dark Thirty.

In 2014, Mike began portraying the role of Agent Jameson Locke in the Halo video game franchise.

In 2015, Mike co-starred as Luke Cage on the Netflix series Jessica Jones. The show earned his character a spinoff, which was aptly titled Luke Cage (2016-2018). He also starred as Luke in the 2017 Netflix series The Defenders.

Most recently, he appeared in the inspirational drama Breakthrough (2019), in the action/adventure Black and Blue (2019) and the comedy Before You Know It (2019).

Mike is married to Iva Colter, whom he met while studying at Rutgers University. Iva, who received a PHD in philosophy, has worked in talent acquisition at Netflix. Currently, Mike splits his time between New York and Los Angeles.


Before You Know It (2019)
Black and Blue (2019)
Breakthrough (2019)
Marvel's Jessica Jones (Netflix)
Marvel's Luke Cage (Netflix)
Girls Trip (2017)
Marvel's The Defenders (Netflix)
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Men in Black 3 (2012)
Salt (2010)
And Then Came Love (2007)
Brooklyn Lobster (2007)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)

  Change Location