Michael C Hall's Father Died of Cancer — a Look Back at the Actor's Own Battle with the Disease

Michael C. Hall's two most famous characters dealt with death at different levels, and the actor faced down a deadly disease that threatened to claim his life.

Actor Michael C. Hall, famous for his leading roles in the hit series "Dexter," where he played a serial killer who preyed on criminals, and in "Six Feet Under," in which he took on the role of a sensitive undertaker, battled a form of Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Death and bereavement have been a constant in Michael's life, ever since his father William Hall passed away at 39 from prostate cancer. At the time, Michael was just 11 years old.

 Michael C. Hall visits "BUILD" to discuss his new Netflix series "Safe" in 2018 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Michael C. Hall visits "BUILD" to discuss his new Netflix series "Safe" in 2018 in New York City | Source: Getty Images


Over the last 19 years, Hall has been immersed in death in one form or another. His big break in TV came when he landed the role of David Fisher in "Six Feet Under."

Hall played the shy, sensitive son of a family dedicated to the undertaking business who is struggling to reconcile his homosexuality with his religious convictions.


"Six Feet Under" ended in 2005, and Hall was selected to play the title character in the series "Dexter," in which he portrayed a serial killer.

But Dexter isn't just a serial killer; he is also a forensic blood spatter analyst and a vigilante who targets criminals as his victims.

"Dexter" fans will be ecstatic to learn that CBS has announced a revival of the series


"Dexter" ended in 2013, and a year later Hall was taking on a new challenge: Jim Mickle's 2014 movie "Cold In July."

And yes, the character fits Hall to a "T" because he plays a man who shoots a burglar who breaks into his house -- in other words, a killer.


In 2010, Hall was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system most frequent in people between the ages of 20 and 40.

At the time, Hall was 39, the same age his own father had lost his life to cancer. The actor underwent treatment, and fortunately, the disease went into remission. 


Hall admits that his lifelong hands-on experience with death has served well in building his characters, especially David in "Six Feet Under." He revealed:

"Death was a conscious reality for me as soon as I came online. I've maybe done more than the average amount of time in funeral homes."


The death of Hall's father wasn't the first blow the family suffered. His parents' first child, a daughter, died in infancy before Hall was born.

After his father's death, Hall, an only child, was raised by his mother, Janice. Their shared grief created a close bond between mother and son.


Although Hall had initially intended to keep his cancer diagnosis a secret, he realized he'd have to go public when not only his hair but his eyebrows fell out. He confessed:

"I'm glad I did because I really underestimated how much that would be a source of inspiration or strength to other people."


Since his recovery, Hall has worked as a spokesperson for the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society, raising awareness about a disease that strikes down young lives.

"Dexter" fans will be ecstatic to learn that CBS has announced a revival of the series. The new "Dexter" will comprise 10 new episodes and is slated to air in late 2021, and expectations are high.

Hall has been married three times. His first wife was actress Amy Spanger with whom he co-starred in the Broadway musical "Chicago." 

Hall, who has described himself as "fluid," met his second wife Jennifer Carpenter on the set of "Dexter." While Jennifer played his sister on screen, Hall was busy falling in love. The marriage didn't last, but the two remained close friends.

In 2016, Hall married author and book critic Morgan Macgregor after dating for 4 years, and it seems as if the actor has finally settled down.

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