Michael Raynor was born Michael Roy Stearn in Queens, New York, raised on the Upper East Side of Manhattan bordering Spanish Harlem. At age 3, he attended the prestigious and progressive interracial kindergarten Kindergarten Center in East Harlem.
This caught the attention of a young NY Times reporter, Joseph Lelyveld and wrote an article about interracial inner city schools. Lelyveld went on to become the Editor-In-Chief the NY Times with some calling him "the most powerful man in the press."
Later, Raynor's mother moved him to PS 6 which was considered the best elementary school in the city. At this school he was reinstated into the IGC program for gifted children. He went on to win a scholarship to Friends Seminary, an esteemed Quaker private school, where he met and became best friends with Nick Chinlund, co-star in the movie, A Brother's Kiss.
Spending 2 years at Friends Seminary, he moved on to Stuyvesant High School in New York City, being accepted after taking a test similar to the SAT. As a junior, his girlfriend and first love was Marion Grodin, daughter of actor, Charles Grodin. His first experience with creative writing and storytelling was taught by his English teacher (at Stuyvesant HS) Pulitzer Prize winner, Frank McCourt who wrote Angela's Ashes. At Stuyvent he was captain of the basketball team playing the position of point guard. He was also a member of Lou d'Almeida's original Gauchos Basketball team in the world-famous Rucker Tournament in Harlem at Rucker Park.
Raynor attended the University of Georgia and majored in International Relations. At that time, the department was run by former Kennedy/Johnson Secretary of State, Dean Rusk. While there, he won a National Award for Debate in the Model United Nations during the United Nations Conference of Trade and Development forum as the chief delegate. The University of Georgia was awarded Outstanding Delegation during that same conference.
After college, Raynor worked on the floor of the New Your Mercantile Exchange in Crude Oil Options and later transferred to the Commodity Exchange doing arbitrage between New York and Chicago in precious metals, gold and silver. After Black Monday, Raynor quit his job to become Steve Rubell of Studio 54, personal night time driver. He began studying acting and martial arts with the legendary Grand Master, Kwon as well as Shihan William Oliver, 2-time Grand Champion at Madison Square Garden. He has also done modeling for Italian jeans manufacturer, Replay.
Michael Raynor first studied acting in New York with Fred Kareman, Bobby Lewis, Wynn Handman, Tim Phillips and George Morrison.
His theater credits began in a Greenwich Village basement cabaret opposite James Gandolfini continuing on to Off-Broadway as he originated characters and many new plays for emerging New York writers.
Michael wrote and performed the hit one man show, Who is Floyd Stearn? Off-Broadway to great critical acclaim, and has written the screenplay adaptation as well. He will direct the film version, employing another actor in the lead role.
Besides his theater acting, Raynor has a number of film and television credits which have linked him to some of Hollywood's most prestigious actors, directors and producers.
His film credits include leads in Shadow Boxing (1993), The Waiting Game (1999) (with Will Arnet), Tripfall (2000) (opposite Eric Roberts and John Ritter) The Reunion (1998), The First Man (1996) (opposite Leslie Ann Warren and Heather Graham), A Brother's Kiss (1997) (with Cathy Moriarty, Rosie Perez and John Leguizamo), Federal Hill (film) (1994) (Deauville Film Festival Winner, Critics Award and Audience Award) as well as Allison Eastwood’s, Rails & Ties (2007), The Pavilion (2004), Sonic Impact (2000) (with Ice-T), The Taxman (film) (2008) (with Joe Pantoliano and Michael Chiklis), Mike Nichols’ Wolf (1994 film) (1994), and most recently The Advocate (2013) and For the Love of Money (2012).
His television work includes the Tom Hanks/Imagine Entertainment/HBO produced Emmy Award winning mini-series, From the Earth to the Moon (TV miniseries) (as Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden), Bella Mafia (opposite Jennifer Tilly), and In The Line of Duty: Hunt for Justice (opposite Nicholas Turturro, Adam Arkin and Melissa Leo) as well as guest starring roles on The Advocates, Criminal Minds, Castle, Southland, Law & Order: LA, Cold Case, Company Man (pilot), CSI, ER (TV series), Law & Order, Shark, NYPD Blue, Brooklyn South, Brimstone, Everybody Hates Chris, and My Own Worst Enemy.
Michael Raynor wrote and performed the hit one-man show, Who Is Floyd Stearn? in an Off-Broadway production to critical acclaim. He has also written the screenplay adaption as well.
Raynor first studied screenwriting with Robert McKee, renowned author of Story Structure, and was part of Ken Rotcop’s ongoing Los Angeles Writing Workshop for several years.
Raynor developed and directed Butch Hammett’s comic hit one-man show, Southern Discomfort, which was invited into the prestigious Comedy Central Stage in Los Angeles, and voted Critics Choice in Prague, Dublin and Edinburgh. He also co-wrote the screenplay version, which Chad and Carey Hayes (The Conjuring) are attached to produce.
In addition, Michael developed and originally staged Kathryn Graf’s Surviving David, winner of Outstanding Solo Show - New York International Fringe Festival. He developed and directed Fia Perrera’s Swimming Naked, and worked extensively with Jay Sefton, winner of LA Weekly’s Best Actor in a Solo Play for The Most Mediocre Story Ever Told.
His screenplays include the adaptation of Mark Kriegel’s award-winning novel Bless Me, Father, Proud Harry, Wilding, The Run, Dead Weight and the film adaptation of the Off-Broadway hit, Who Is Floyd Stearn?
Who Is Floyd Stearn? was originally developed with master storyteller-teacher, Mark Travis. First presented as a “member’s project” by Joseph Siravo at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York, then cut short by 9/11 after only two performances, it moved to Los Angeles and worked-shopped at TheatreTheatre as well as The Tamarind Theatre, where it ran for 24 weeks.
It premiered for critics in the prestigious Assembly Rooms at The Edinburgh Festival, and later opened the Edgemar Center for the Arts’ Kaleidoscope Festival in Santa Monica under Larry Moss’ direction.
The New York Times called Who Is Floyd Stearn? “the best family confessional play they’ve seen” and The New York Post named Raynor to a "2005 Galaxy of New Stars" list after the successful Off-Broadway run produced by his childhood friend, Rick Waxman.
The JewishJournal.com wrote an article about Who is Floyd Stearn? which painted a picture of the emotional turmoil Raynor has faced while dealing with his father's absence. Through many interviews with his relatives, including his paternal grandmother, Raynor found many of the answers he had been looking for which surrounded the mystery of his father.
After more than 50 hours of taped interviews, Raynor wrote this one-man play as a way to connect.
Howard Stern was so moved by the production, he wrote Raynor and talked about his own relationship with his father. Stern's voice is featured on the YouTube video promo talking about his view of the show and impressions of Raynor's performance.
Growing up in New York City, Raynor not only had a good education under the direction of his mother, he has had a number of personal milestones which have contributed to his life, including relationships which have lasted many years and still influence him today.
As is Jewish tradition, at age 13, Raynor was Bar Mitzvah'd at the Temple Emanuel on 5th Avenue in New York City Manhattan.
Raynor changed his name at 18 years of age from Michael Roy Stearn to Michael Raynor when he was adopted by his then stepfather, John Raynor. At that time, he hadn't seen or heard from his biological father, Floyd Dampsey Stearn since the age of 7 years old.
After many years of wondering what happened to his father, he reconnected with his paternal grandmother who was able to answer many of Raynor's questions. Based on interviews with relatives and his experiences and personal anguish with his biological father, he grew up to write and act in the one man show, Who Is Floyd Stearn? which talks about his struggle to understand the mystery behind the man, Floyd Stearn.
Raynor has had a number of long term romantic relationships including American actress Erica Gimpel from 1988-2004.
In the memoir Standing Up, by Marion Grodin, the daughter of Charles Grodin, Raynor's relationship with her is depicted in detail. Grodin and Raynor were teenage sweethearts.