top of page

About Michael Takiff

Takiff - Jews God History_edited.jpg


The great-great-great-great-great grandson of the legendary Hasidic sage Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev, writer/actor/comedian/singer/dancer/historian Michael Takiff came to New York to be an actor, studied classical singing, and then spent ten years touring the country as a stand-up comic. He was known for his intelligent, original material and his theatrical presentation.


Michael is the author and performer of two works of solo theater, Black Tie: A Son’s Journey through the Death and Life of His Father and Jews, God, and History (Not Necessarily in That Order), both directed by Tony nominee Brian Lane Green.

Michael has authored numerous books, including A Complicated Man: The Life of Bill Clinton as Told by Those Who Know Him (Yale University Press). AND Magazine called A Complicated Man “the best oral history book ever written about a President of the United States.” A Complicated Man was awarded First Prize, Biography/ Autobiography, by the Los Angeles Book Festival.


Michael’s previous book, Brave Men, Gentle Heroes: American Fathers and Sons in World War II and Vietnam (HarperColllins/Wm. Morrow), was praised by Kirkus as “a superb oral history [that] would do Studs Terkel proud.” The Washington Post named Brave Men a “Critics’ Pick.”


Michael’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, Salon, The Nation,, and HuffingtonPost. He has appeared on Fox News and MSNBC and holds the distinction of being the only person in Hardball history not to have been interrupted by Chris Matthews.

Michael is founder and executive director of Gravitas History, a company that enables individuals and families to preserve and pass down their legacies through professionally written biographies, autobiographies, and family histories. Clients have included members of Congress and prominent New York businesspeople and philanthropists. Michael teaches memoir-writing in New York City, where he lives with his wife and son. He doesn't believe in reincarnation, but hopes that if he's wrong, his next life includes playing center field for the Mets.

bottom of page