Michael is the son of Joe Badalucco, a movie set carpenter, and Jean, a homemaker. Known for being shy, he nonetheless found he could have a release by acting in school productions. He attended the State University of New York at New Paltz. For two decades he worked as a prop master on New York-based movies. He caught the occasional minor acting role along the way. He was noticed on the set of Michelle Pfeiffer's One Fine Day (1996) movie set. She touted him to her husband, David E. Kelley for "The Practice" (1997) television series he was putting together. Initially, Michael was just being considered for one episode as a flasher, but his permanent role as "Jimmy" quickly materialized.