Michael Ziegfeld is an American producer, comedian, ventriloquist and voice actor.
Michael Ziegfeld's professional career began in Philadelphia at age 16 when his high school allowed him to utilize the work-study program provided to seniors after he got himself a job as an intern at WPHL-TV for the local Dancin’ On Air and its national sister show Dance Party USA. In 1987 he became the youngest production assistant hired at an NBC station at KYW-TV in programming, where he was assigned to production formats including magazine, talk, late night, telethon, parade, and news.
Before graduating high school in 1989 his contract ended and Michael needed work or he would have to go back to class full time. By day, he got a job at CBS Radio station WCAU at that time, in the PR/marketing department, which he landed after being the only applicant to venture out in the biggest blizzard of the season for the interview. He also accepted a night job at a local theater as a stage technician for producer/director Greg Thompson of Greg Thompson Productions.
Over the next several years he toured with the casino revue show producer, mounting shows in every major resort location around the globe as performance coordinator, road manager, technical director, special appearances coordinator or casting and scouting. Exposed to live entertainment Ziegfeld was drawn to the comedy acts he befriended, slowly experimenting in stand-up comedy and eventually going on tour. After three years and eventually headlining name clubs like Caroline's, The Comedy Stop and The Funny Bone, he was introduced to ventriloquist Ronn Lucas, who inspired him to revisit his childhood love of puppetry when another club circuit staple, Dan Horn, taught him the basics of the ventriloquism technique.
The over-saturation of comedy clubs, TV shows and comedians in the 90’s, Michael added the ventriloquism into his stage show giving him a marketing edge in bookings. The 17 year comedy career had him opening or sharing the bill with musicians and comedians, headlining stage shows in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Reno, Tahoe, Biloxi, New York, Hollywood, cruise lines, and corporate clients with an act that included stand-up, improv, audience participation, music and his ventriloquist characters, “Willle Swallow … The International Bird of Prey”, “The World’s Oldest Gymnast, Nadia Coma”, and a talking plate of food.
In 1998 he was voted Atlantic City’s “Act of the Year” by Atlantic City Magazine, and branched out into acting with a voice over career lending voice to Saturday Night Live’s TV Funhouse, Ritz Crackers, The Moodsters, The American Music Awards, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, “Crank Yankers” and a puppeteering career creating characters for The Jim Henson Company, Pixar, MTV, Disney and Comedy Central.
In 2004 he recorded his first straight to DVD comedy special, "Jewicidal Tendencies" Live from the famed, "Stand-Up New York".
In 2007, he co-starred opposite Winona Ryder in David Wain's The Ten playing dual roles of Harlan Swallow and Gary, a disturbed assistant to a superstar agent (Ron Silver). He also premiered his critically acclaimed, off-Broadway show Ziegfeld’s Folly: My Rise to the Middle of Show Business later running in Los Angeles. In 2008 Michael played opposite Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses when after the audition, the character was given a threaded role in the film and renamed “Ziggy”, Michael's actual nickname.
Currently Michael is bi-coastal, living in Hollywood, California while his main office of The Ziegfeld Company Incorporated is based in New York City. Originally known as "The Doctor", he built the company as the go-to creative team resuscitating live production shows, scripts, music, flow & continuity, castings, technical design, and consulting to provide untapped sources for packaging, advertising and the PR of a product. He is currently directing and developing television and digital media content for cable and network television. In 2009, he was plucked to direct the long-awaited tribute to songstress Phyllis Hyman live from the Apollo Theater and the magazine fashion show "Heel Me".
Michael is managed by Michael Pines (Everybody Loves Raymond) in Hollywood, CA.