Voiced By: Ned Luke
Occupation: Retired criminal
Special Skills: Area Kill
Location: Rockford Hills
About Character: Highly successful bank robber who retired and went into FIB witness protection with a sweet deal. He and his wife Amanda have a rocky relationship and kids Tracey and Jimmy are not understandable anymore. He used to rob banks and other places with Trevor – back when using his real last name: Townley.
“I pay you to listen to my problems. I’m rich. I’m miserable. Half the time, my kids can’t stand me. The other half, my wife is cheating on me. I kill people without remorse, Doc. Hell, I’m pretty average for this town, really.”
–Michael De Santa
Michael’s story centers around how his seeminlgy idyllic and halcyon lifestyle is brought to a halt as his past demons and morally compromising mistakes come back to haunt him. All the while his midlife crsis pushes him to his ultimate snapping point.
Michael was born in the mid-to-late 1960’s, possibly in the Midwest, which would explain why he spent some of his earlier criminal career in North Yankton. As a child, he didn’t have the advantages his children have and grew up in the poor environment of a trailer park with his parents. Like Tevor Philips and Franklin Clinton, Michael had a tough upbringing due to his father being an alcoholic and physically abusing him. Michael’s father soon abandoned him and his mother. He was told an exaggerated amount of stories of why his father left, all of which include but aren’t limited to, him skipping town, being hit by an oncoming train or even joining the navy. During his time in high school, Michael was an acclaimed quarterback for an all-state football team. Michael would often put on a well placed performance during games and also had his face in the local newspaper occasionally. However, due to his temperament issues and the constant stream of injures, he was ultimately forced to quit.
As a young adult, Michael eventually became a criminal. He committed his first robbery in the outskirts of Career City in 1988, where he managed to steal $10,000 from a lesser known franchise. In the same year however, he was arrested twice for unknown reasons. While in prison, Michael was able to master many skills, sometimes from bizarre events, such as learning how to do tattoos by tattooing his name on his cellmate’s backside. Despite his failures and shortcomings, Michael perfected his criminal skills to the point where he became an expert marksman and efficient leader amongst other things. During this time, he associated hiself with Lester Crest, who was an exquisite planner and would assist Michael in planning out heists as well as other tasks.
In 1993, Michael met Trevor Philips while escorting cargo across the border. While waiting on the runway to meet their employers, Trevor sees not one, but two dust trails coming up the road, despite the fact that he was told there would be one person meeting him. As the second guy drives through the gate, he begins yelling at Michael. Tevor gets close to him and fires off a flare gun into the second mans eye, instantly yet brutally killing him. He and Michael both dump the body, as the flare was still burning from the inside of his head as they dropped him off, disgusting to the point that Tevor and Michael threw up after landing the plane since the dead man’s stench was still inside the cockpit. After noticing how well they work with each other, Michael brought Trevor along as a partner for various crimes he would commit. They were both somewhat successful at their profession, but Michael claims that they were always impecunious and constantly on the run from the law; Tevor’s rage issues would cause him to murder someone in broad daylight and Michael’s circumspection and foresight would cause him and Trevor to skip town after completing a job.
Michael met his future wife Amanda at a strip joint in the same year – she was a stripper at the time. Using his criminal proceeds, Michael was even able to buy Amanda some breast implants, which would help with her stripping as well as her days as a hooker. This led to Michael creating his own prostitution racket. After Michael and Amanda fell in love and lust, Amanda became pregnant with their two children Jimmy and Tracey while living in a trailer park in the Midwest. A few months later, they were married. Michael began to see that he had a lot more to lose if he was ever killed or imprisoned and started to keep to himself over time as a criminal and was much more careful – much to Trevor’s annoyance, who saw Michael as “soft”. A few years later, Trevor met Brad Snider, a fellow robber and future accomplice of Michael and Trevor. Michael and Brad would never show any empathy for each other and would often express distaste or distrust when working together. According to Trevor, Brad planned at one point to cut off Michael and work only with Trevor.
At some point in 2004, Michael met FIB agent Dave Norton. Michael struck a deal with Norton to give Trevor up to the FIB and fake his death in the process, in exchange for a cut of his accumulated millions and letting Norton “kill” him in the upcoming bank heist in Ludendorff, North Yankton – a move that would make Norton’s career as the agent who took down the supposed “Most Wanted Man in America”. The staged robbery, however, turned out to be a disaster after Trevor murdered a guard who held Michael at gunpoint and when Michael, Brad and Trevor were ambushed by over a dozen police officers ready to arrest or kill them. During the getaway, their driver was killed by pursuing police; Michael took the wheel and drove the crew to the ambush spot he and Norton had agreed on, where he claimed there was an escape chopper waiting.
However, things yet again deviated from their plan when Brad was accidentally shot by Norton (later succumbing to his wounds) after he walked in front of Trevor. Michael took the second bullet as planned – although the lack of a visible wound or blood loss implies that Dave intentionally missed him, or he was wearing a bullet proof vest and acted as if he believed the wound was fatal, imploring Trevor to leave him behind. Enraged beyond sense, Trevor proceeded to massacre numerous police officers before barely escaping the ambush (to Michael’s chagrin) with his life.
After the incident, Michael Townley was pronounced dead. True to his word, Dave arranged for Michael to receive a comfortable stipend and a relocation to a large Los Santos mansion in Rockford Hills, where he and his family lived under the surname “De Santa” (a longtime alias of Michael’s); thus, Michael received an off-the-books way to safely retire from his former criminal life and spend time with his wife and kids in exchange for a monthly five-figure “hush money” payment to Norton in exchange for his silence.
Living the Vinewood Dream
“Why did I move here? I guess it was the weather.”
Michael’s life in Los Santos has slowly pirouetted into a living nightmare. He’s become massively depressed about having to abandon his criminal lifestyle for the family man persona that he once believed he desired. He now just spends his days either getting drunk to dull the depression or miserably lounging by his pool, ignoring his children and being absentee and self involved in the process. This has caused his children to treat him with an intense amount of disrespect as they continued to age. Michael also began to show coarseness and insolence towards Amanda and even slept with a stripper. This caused the couple to have multiple affairs with other people and while Amanda shows animosity towards him while spending his money on fashion items and plastic surgery. As a result, Michael goes through a midlife crisis and often visits overpriced professional therapist Isiah Friedlander who doesn’t really care about Michael’s problems.