Michael Polley was born in England in 1933 and studied acting during the 1950s. Polley emigrated to Canada, settling in the Toronto metropolitan area, and practiced his craft on the stage. He married the former Diane MacMillian and the couple had four children, including the actor and director Sarah Polley. Although Diane Polley was a professional actress, she made a name for herself as a casting director.
Michael Polley supported his family as an insurance agent, but when young Sarah's career took off, he acted as a guardian for her on sets. Michael is best-known as an actor for his recurring role as the town doctor on his daughter's TV series Road to Avonlea.