He is nominated this year for outstanding lead actor in a drama for "Law & Order: SVU." It's his first nomination for the role.
Meloni grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and went to the University of Colorado. While there, he became interested in acting.
He landed his first series role in 1984 on HBO's "1st & Ten," where he met his wife, Sherman, a production designer on the show. They have two children.
In the 1990s he appeared in the television movies "In A Child's Name," "Without A Kiss Goodbye" and "Every 9 Seconds" as well as on the big screen in "Bound" and "Runaway Bride."
Meloni joined the cast of "Oz" in 1998 and "Law & Order: SVU" in 1999, continuing his role in both series until 2003.
He's also shown a flair for way-out comedy roles as Gene, the crazed cafeteria guy in "Wet Hot American Summer" and the aptly named Freakshow in "Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle."