Michael was born in New York City to Harry
and Mary Peretzian, immigrants who had fled the horrors of the Ottoman
empire. His early years were spent in a series of seashore towns in
New Jersey. Following his father’s sudden death, the family moved
to Hollywood, California. Here he was free to pursue his dream of attending
UCLA and becoming a stage actor. It was there after earning his Master
of Fine Arts Degree that Michael discovered his passion for directing.
Upon graduation, he taught acting and play analysis at the fabled Pasadena
Playhouse, while directing several productions.
Michael detoured through the mailroom of the William Morris Agency,
thanks in part to the patronage of agent Ron Mardigian. His early years
there saw a focus in the television arena, serving as an agent in the
Televison Literary Department, and ultimately as a Senior Vice President.
But the lure and relevance of the film medium brought a change in personal
focus. The representation of screenwriters, many of whom came from the
theatre, reinforced his first love. Begining in the 1970s, Peretzian
was the film and television agent for a growing list of Pulitzer Prize
and Tony Award winning clients such as Michael Cristofer (THE SHADOW
BOX), Mark Medoff (CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD), Beth Henley (CRIMES OF
THE HEART), Terrence McNally (MASTER CLASS), James Prideaux (THE LAST
OF MRS. LINCOLN) as well as Christopher Hampton (LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES).
In 2000, after thirty years at William Morris, Michael
joined the Creative Artists Agency. In addition to his established list
of writers, he added several top flight writers and directors, including
Joe Mantello (WICKED), Zach Helm (STRANGER THAN FICTION), John Madden
(SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE), Steven Sater (SPRING AWAKENING) and Anthony Minghella
(Academy Award winner for directing THE ENGLISH PATIENT). He is a member
of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Academy of
Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Over the years Michael made time to moonlight locally as a stage director,
working with the Los Angeles Actors’ Theatre on PHIL AND MAC by
David Briggs, directing the West Coast Premiere of TALKING WITH by Jane
Martin for the Mark Taper Forum Taper Too (for which he won a Dramalogue
Award for Outstanding Direction). Also for the Taper he directed a staged
reading of Truman Capote's ONE CHRISTMAS and A CHRISTMAS MEMORY, a production
broadcast annually on KCRW. At Theatre 40, he directed productions of
Michael Cristofer's THE SHADOW BOX, James Prideaux's THE ORPHANS, David
Storey's HOME, and productions of Hugh Leonard's SUMMER and A LIFE (for
which he won the Los Angeles Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Director).
A true believer in the notion “life is not a dress rehearsal,”
Michael left the motion picture business early in 2008 to return to
his first love - the theatre. His initial effort was the world premiere
of RED DOG HOWLS which starred Kathleen Chalfant and was written by
He recently received ADAA's Armenian Star Award for his dedicated work
on behalf of Armenians in the entertainment industry and is an Honorary
Judge for ADAA's 2009 Paul Contest for Screenwriting.