Film director Michael Schultz was born on November 10, 1938, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After graduating from high school in 1957, Schultz attended the University of Wisconsin, where he spent a great deal of time watching foreign films. After dropping out of school, Schultz returned to Milwaukee where he worked in a steel mill from 1960 to 1961, eventually returning to school, studying at Marquette, and graduating in 1964.
After graduation, Schultz attended Princeton University, where he was given the opportunity to direct his first play, Waiting for Godot, in 1966. Schultz's work brought him to the attention of the Negro Ensemble Company; he joined the group in 1968. The following year, Schultz staged a production of To Be Young, Gifted and Black, which launched his success; he re-staged the play for television two years later. In the early 1970s, Schultz directed a number of television programs, including Baretta and Starsky and Hutch, and then began to focus his time on films. In 1975, Schultz directed Cooley High, and the following year, Car Wash; his success continued, directing more than a dozen movies for the television and the big screen throughout the 70s and 80s, including Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hears Club Band, Krush Groove, about the rise of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, and the comedy Disorderlies.
Schultz continued to direct throughout the 1990s, directing a number of popular television shows, including Chicago Hope, JAG, Ally McBeal, and Charmed, as well as several more made for television movies. After 2000, Schultz directed several other television shows, and in 2004, he directed Woman Thou Art Loosed. Schultz has also been involved in film and television production, having served as producer of the popular television show Everwood, as well as having produced some of his earlier film work.
In addition to his work on the big and small screen, Schultz also found time to direct theater; notably his Broadway production of Mule Bone, written by Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, staged in 1991.