Michael Steiner was once a high school and college basketball coach who thought at some point that maybe he could act. He laughs and says he found, on his first audition, he could not. But, there was a talent lurking, because Michael saw he was good at working with developmentally disabled people. He also knew that people with disabilities were underrepresented in the entertainment business, so he created a social club for people with developmental disabilities, put together a band and got a gig right away. Started to do bigger and bigger shows. They toured China, played on the Great Wall and came back to open at the Canyon Club for Jay Leno. Michael got a radio talk-show of established performers who had various disabilities and founded Diverse City to represent significant talent from the group of underserved.
He had a great clientele. And, then the news that he had throat cancer, stage 4 and no health insurance. He says he felt sorry for himself for “about 20 minutes and then embraced the news.” He is now fine, and to look at this handsome, smiling man, you would not think he had been sick a day in his life. To hear Michael talk about his life, why he had to leave basketball, his work, the horror of his cancer, the anguish of treatment, the people who brought him through it, his recovery and his return to a stunning career not just in talent management and casting but production, is to learn something about taking charge of one’s own life, about friendship and about enormous personal strength, all detectable in the very sound of his voice.
Michael has a lot of interesting things to say about the value of love letters. The one he would write at this stage of his life? Some dramatic possibilities await Michael who is a man defined by humor, humility, gratitude, love and respect for humankind.