Chris Colfer

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Chris Colfer
Chris Colfer 2013.jpg
Colfer at a Book signing in August 2013.
Born Christopher Paul Colfer
(1990-05-27) May 27, 1990 (age 23)[1]
Clovis, California, United States
Occupation Actor, singer, producer, philianthropist, screenwriter and author
Years active 2009–present

Christopher Paul "Chris" Colfer[2][3] (born May 27, 1990)[4] is an American actor, singer, author and producer best known for his portrayal of Kurt Hummel on the television series Glee. Colfer's portrayal of Kurt has received much critical praise, and he has been the recipient of several awards, including Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Television Film at the 2011 Golden Globe Awards [5] and two consecutive People’s Choice Awards for Favorite Comedic TV Actor in 2013[6] and 2014.[7] He has also garnered many award nominations, which include the 2010 and 2011 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. In April 2011, Colfer was named one of the 2011 Time 100, Time's list of the 100 most influential people. He wrote, starred in, produced, and novelized his first film, Struck by Lightning, which debuted at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival. He is also a New York Times number-one bestselling author of The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell, the first novel in his middle-grade reader trilogy.

Early life and education[edit]

Colfer was born in Clovis, California, the son of Karyn Colfer (née Boling) and Tim Colfer.[8] He has Irish ancestry, and has stated: "I'm very Irish, my family is all Irish and St. Patrick's day in my house is crazy."[9] As a child he was confined to a hospital bed for three months following lymph node surgery, which left a scar on his neck, and which he credits as one of the difficult experiences that made him interested in fictional worlds.[10]

At a very early age, Colfer showed a passion for writing. He was “born wanting to be a storyteller,” using both writing and acting as ways to entertain people and escape reality.[10] His grandmother was his first editor, advising and encouraging him in elementary school when he first attempted to write a fairytale-inspired novel, which would later become The Land of Stories.[11] In 2012, Colfer dedicated his first published novel to her, and quoted her: “Christopher, I think you should wait until you’re done with elementary school before worrying about being a failed writer.”[12]

Colfer was bullied so severely in middle school that he needed to be home schooled for half of 7th grade and 8th grade.[13] The next year, Colfer began attending Clovis East High School, where he was involved with the speech and debate program, and won "many speech and debate champion titles," including placing ninth in the State Competition for Dramatic Interpretation. He was also active in the drama club, the FFA, "was president of the Writer's Club, editor of the school's literary magazine, and captain of Destination ImagiNation."[14] As a high school senior, he wrote, starred in, and directed a spoof of Sweeney Todd entitled "Shirley Todd", in which all of the roles were gender-reversed.[15] One of his real in-school experiences was later turned into a sub-plot for his character on Glee, when the high school teachers denied him the chance to sing "Defying Gravity" from the musical Wicked because it is traditionally sung by a woman.[16][17] His grandmother, a minister, let him sing the song in her church.[16]

Career[edit]

Early work[edit]

The first show he was involved in with community theater was West Side Story.[18] He also appeared in a production of The Sound of Music as the character Kurt von Trapp, the musical protagonist Maria von Trapp's stepson.[19] Colfer’s resemblance to the Kurt von Trapp character later served as inspiration for the name of his Glee character.[20]

At the age of eighteen, Colfer starred as Russel Fish in Russel Fish: The Sausage and Eggs Incident, a short film where an awkward teenager must pass a Presidential Physical Fitness test or fail gym class and lose his admission to Harvard University.

Glee[edit]

Colfer's first TV role came in 2009 when he was cast as Kurt Hummel on Fox's Glee. Kurt is a fashionable gay countertenor who is routinely bullied at school, not only for being gay, but also for being part of the very unpopular Glee Club. Colfer auditioned for the part of Artie Abrams, who uses a wheelchair, a role which eventually went to Kevin McHale.[19] The show's creator, Ryan Murphy, was so impressed with Colfer that he created the role of Kurt specifically for him,[21] and in the process, scrapped a planned character called Rajish so they could add Kurt. Murphy explained in the season two finale of the Glee Project that Colfer was the inspiration for the project show because he didn't fit the role he auditioned for but was still "incredible and special" so a role was created for him.[22]

The grayscale picture of three people, two women and a man, who dance and put their hands on their hips. The man wears a dark outfit, compound of a vest, a shirt and pants. The women wear similar leotards.
Jenna Ushkowitz, Colfer and Heather Morris during a performance of "Single Ladies" on the tour Glee Live! In Concert! in 2011

In a 2010 interview with Allison Kugel, Colfer stated that "There have been a couple of times when I have gone to Ryan Murphy and told him a couple of things that have happened to me, and then he writes it into the show. Or he'll ask me what song I would want to sing, in this situation or in that situation. I don't think any of us directly try to give input on the character or on the storyline, but they definitely steal things from us."[17]

Colfer won the 2011 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series for his performance as Kurt Hummel. In his emotional acceptance speech, he thanked Ryan Murphy for being his “fairy godfather” and dedicated the award to kids who have been bullied and told “they can’t […] have what they want because of who they are.”[5] He was twice nominated for an Emmy Award[23] in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category for his portrayal of Kurt.

In 2013 and 2014, Colfer won consecutive People's Choice Awards for Favorite Comedic TV Actor. Both speeches he gave were praised by the media for being funny while making references to things like fanfiction and fanart to show his appreciation for fan culture.[6][7]

Kurt's characterization[edit]

Colfer has explained that Kurt "puts on a very confident, 'I'm better than you' persona, but underneath it all he's the same anxious and scared teen everyone is/was at some point. In later episodes, he goes through an identity crisis, accepting and finding acceptance for who he is. [...] He's a tough guy in designer clothes."[24] The character is also gay, which is at the crux of many of his conflicts on the show. Colfer has a high vocal range, as displayed in the episode "Wheels", in which his character demonstrates the unusual ability (for a man) of singing a "high F" (actually an F5). However, his character deliberately pretends to be unable to sing the note in order to spare his father the harassment he would receive for having a gay son.[25] However, in the episode "Choke" when his character is auditioning for NYADA, he sings "Not the Boy Next Door" from The Boy from Oz a song Kurt claims is "something a little more out there, but much more me", successfully hitting a High G, a note higher than High F.

Colfer at the Time 100 Gala, April 2011

The Land of Stories[edit]

On June 8, 2011, Colfer signed a book deal to write two novels for children to young adults (age range). The series follows twins Alex and Conner as they magically travel through a cherished book of stories and have adventures in a land where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.

The first book in the series, The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell, was released on July 17, 2012.[26][27] For two weeks after the book's release it was number one on The New York Times Best Seller list in the Children's Chapter Books category.[28][29]

The second book in the series, The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns, was released on August 6, 2013. It debuted at number two on the The New York Times Best Seller list, and by the end of 2013 it had spent eleven weeks in the top fifteen for Children’s Middle Grade books.[30]

Following the success of the first two books, Little, Brown and Company extended Colfer’s original two book deal to include at least three more in the series.[31] The third book, The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning, is scheduled to be released on July 8, 2014.[32] A fourth novel is expected to arrive in 2015. Also expected in Spring 2015 is a picture book illustrated by Brandon Dorman, The Curvy Tree, based on a short original fairy tale of the same name, which Colfer first told in The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell.[31]

Other work[edit]

Colfer wrote, starred in, executive-produced, and novelized the coming-of-age comedy film Struck by Lightning. The plot revolves around Colfer's character, who is struck and killed by a bolt of lightning, and chronicles his exploits as he blackmails his fellow senior classmates into contributing to a literary magazine he is publishing. It was shot during the Glee hiatus in the summer of 2011 and had its world premiere in 2012 at the Tribeca Film Festival.[33]

In March 2012, Colfer was featured in a performance of Dustin Lance Black's play, '8' — a staged reenactment of the federal trial that overturned California's Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage — as Ryan Kendall.[34] The production was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and broadcast on YouTube to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.[35][36]

Colfer landed a deal with Disney Channel to adapt the book "The Little Leftover Witch" for a television pilot.[37] He also wrote another movie, set in an asylum, which he planned to appear in as a supporting actor.[38] However, both of these projects have been delayed with no expected dates for production.

On January 28, 2014, it was announced that Colfer will star in a new 3D CG animated family film, Robodog, as the voice of the title character.[39] The film, which will costar Ron Perlman, is described as “a classic, heart-warming adventure story about an unlikely duo who couldn't be more different.” The film’s director, Henry F. Anderson III, said Colfer is “perfect” for the project because he “has an appealing, youthful voice which fits right in with our lead character, KC, who is above all a charismatic entertainer.”[40] Vocal recording for the film began on February 1, 2014.[39]

After a few months of planning, it was revealed on March 17, 2014 that Chris had been asked by Glee's producers to write an upcoming episode.[41] About his acceptance of the offer, Colfer said: “I’ve been asked in interviews if I ever wanted to write [an episode of Glee], and I said, ‘Absolutely not because it was not my world.’ I didn’t want to tamper with someone else’s image. Then they were like, ‘Here, come tamper.’”[42] The title of the episode, which is scheduled to air on May 6, 2014, is "Old Dogs, New tricks".[43]

Personal life[edit]

Colfer is openly gay[44] and shared on Access Hollywood that his parents were accepting of him but he was frequently bullied at school.[15][45][46] Colfer's younger sister, Hannah, suffers from severe epilepsy,[47] and often experiences over fifty seizures in an hour.[48] Colfer has commented that when he was younger he used acting as a method of escaping the stress involved with having a family member with disabilities.[19][49]

Colfer appeared on the British chat show Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on June 18, 2010, along with his fellow Glee co-stars Amber Riley and Matthew Morrison. He demonstrated his skill with a pair of sai, revealing that he bought a pair on eBay and regularly practices in his trailer. He also mentioned that he would like it if his sai could be worked into an episode of Glee; they first appeared in the season 3 episode "I Am Unicorn", during Colfer's character Kurt Hummel's performance of "I'm the Greatest Star", from the musical Funny Girl.[50] Colfer revealed in 2009 that he has a huge fear of needles, during an interview with Bonnie Hunt.

Colfer currently resides in Los Angeles with his adopted cat Brian.[51]

Philanthropy[edit]

Colfer is an active supporter of the It Gets Better Campaign and The Trevor Project, creating an It Gets Better video after the Glee episode Never Been Kissed aired, and dedicated his Golden Globe Award to bullied kids in the LGBT community in 2011. In the year of 2013, Colfer filmed an Elmo PSA about anti-bullying.

On Hollywood Game Night, hosted by his Glee co-star Jane Lynch, Colfer won 6,000 dollars and donated it to the Make-a-Wish Foundation of America.

Filmography[edit]

Colfer at ComicCon, July 2010
Actor: Film
Year Title Role Notes
2009 Russel Fish: The Sausage and Eggs Incident Russel Fish Short film
2010 Marmaduke Drama Dog No. 2 Voice role
2011 Glee: The 3D Concert Movie Kurt Hummel/ Himself Main Cast
2012 8 Ryan Kendall Supporting role
2012 Struck by Lightning Carson Phillips Lead role; Screen Writer; Producer
2014 Robodog KC Lead role
Actor: Television
Year Title Role Notes
2009-2012 Chelsea Lately Himself
2009 West Side Story Theatre
2009 The View Himself
2009-2010 Entertainment Tonight Himself
2009-2010 The 7PM Project Himself
2009 Australian Idol Himself
2009 The Bonnie Hunt Show Himself
2009 The Tyra Banks Show Himself
2009 The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien Himself Episode #1.114
2009-present Glee Kurt Hummel (seasons 1-6) Home squad
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Series, Mini Series and TV Movie (2011)
  • Discipline in a Comedy Series Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance Group (2010)
  • Nomination - Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Dal Emmy Award (2010-2011)
  • Was nominated - Monte-Carlo TV Festival Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series Branches (2012) Was nominated - Satellite Award for Best
  • Supporting Actor - Series, Mini Series and a Television Movie (2009-2010)
  • Was nominated - Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Male Actor in a Comedy Series Branches Performance Award (2011)
  • Was nominated - Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Comedy Series Group in the Department of Performance Award (2011)
  • Was nominated - Lesbian / Bi People's Choice Awards "Favorite Music Group or Duo" (with a staff of Glee) (2011)
  • Was nominated - People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Comedy Actor (2012)
2010 Friday Night With Jonathan Ross" Himself
2010 Loose Women" Himself
2010-2012 Conan" Himself
2010 The Jay Leno Show" Himself
2011 The Cleveland Show Kurt Hummel (voice) Episode: "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Roberta?"
2011 Lopez Tonight himself Season 3, episode 2
2011 The Gayle King Show Himself
2011 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Himself
2012 Live with Kelly and Michael Himself
2012 Comedy Central Roast Himself
2012 Inside the Actors Studio Himself
2012 The Glee Project Himself Guest Mentor, Episode: "Glee-ality"
2012 Piers Morgan Tonight Himself
2012 Late Show with David Letterman Himself
2012 Good Afternoon America Himself
2012 Saturday Night Live Himself
2012 Big Morning Buzz Live Himself
2012-2013 Live with Regis and Kathie Lee Himself
2012-2013 Good Morning America Himself
2013 This Morning Himself
2013 Bitter Party of Five Himself Episode: 6
2013 Kathy Himself
2013 Anderson Himself Glee Star Chris Colfer/A Family at War Over Money/Co-Host T-Boz/New Rules for Dating
2013 Britain's Got Talent Himself
2013 Larry King Now Himself
2013 The Oprah Winfrey Show Himself Home squad
2013 The Queen Latifah Show Himself Episode 7
2013 The Ellen DeGeneres Show Himself Episode: 101
2013 Dancing with the Stars Himself Audience Member
2014 Hollywood Game Night Himself Episode: "Orange Is The New Game Night"
Writer
Year Title Role Notes
2012 Struck by Lightning Screen Writer / Book Author Also Lead role and Producer
2014 Glee Writer Episode: 5x19
2012 The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Author
2012 The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns Author
2014 The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning Author
2015 The Curvy Tree Author

Awards[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2009 Satellite Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television Glee Won
2010 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
Satellite Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Won
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Male Scene Stealer Won
2011 Golden Globe Award Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series Won
Monte-Carlo TV Festival Outstanding Actor – Comedy Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Male Scene Stealer Won
2012 People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Comedy Actor Himself Won
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Glee Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actor: Comedy Won
Teen Choice Awards Fashion Icon: Male Himself Won
2013 People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Comedy Actor Won
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Glee Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actor: Comedy Won
2014 People's Choice Awards Favorite Comedic TV Actor Himself Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1209/1210). Jun 1–8, 2012. p. 35. 
  2. ^ "Show Tracker". Los Angeles Times. 
  3. ^ According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. Searchable at http://www.familytreelegends.com/records/39461
  4. ^ Ayers, Dennis (May 27, 2010). "Chris Colfer, Birthday Boy". AfterElton.com. Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Vena, Jocelyn (Jan 16, 2011). "Glee Star Chris Colfer Dedicates Golden Globe To Bullied Kids". mtv.com. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Goodacre, Kate (Jan 9, 2013). "People's Choice Awards: Glee’s Chris Colfer flattered by fanfiction". digitalspy.com. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Naoreen, Nuzhat (Jan 9, 2014). "Chris Colfer Says He Feels Fantastic After Winning People’s Choice Award". blog.peopleschoice.com. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014. 
  8. ^ Bentley, Rick. "Emmy nod 'surreal,' Clovis East grad says – Clovis: News". fresnobee.com. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  9. ^ tv (August 19, 2011). "MSN UK". Tv.uk.msn.com. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Carpenter, Susan (July 15, 2012). "The Writing Life: Chris Colfer of 'Glee' inspired by fairy tales". latimes.com. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014. 
  11. ^ Lodge, Sally (June 6, 2012). "BEA 2012: A Bountiful Breakfast Menu". publishersweekly.co. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014. 
  12. ^ Colfer, Chris. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/679116-to-grandma-for-being-my-first-editor-and-giving-me. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ "'Glee' cast talks of new season, how show changed them", Manila Bulletin, October 10, 2011, Retrieved October 11, 2011.
  14. ^ Chris Colfer on Glee wiki[dead link] Gleewiki on Fox.com. Retrieved November 14, 2009.
  15. ^ a b Goldberg, Lesley. "Just One of the Guys". Advocate.com. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  16. ^ a b Glee’s Chris Colfer Reveals Real-Life Story Behind Kurt’s Diva Moment People, November 12, 2009.
  17. ^ a b Kugel, Allison (April 26, 2010). "Glee Star Chris Colfer Shares His Best Behind-the-Scenes Moments and Surreal Adventures". PR.com. Retrieved May 28, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Glee Does West Side Story". 
  19. ^ a b c Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 2012
  20. ^ "Show Tracker". Los Angeles Times. 
  21. ^ Malcolm, Shawna (May–June 2010). "Let It Glee". Emmy (North Hollywood, California: Academy of Television Arts & Sciences). XXXII (3): 102–109. ISSN 0164-3495. OCLC 4629234. 
  22. ^ Murphy, Ryan. "Glee Project Season Two Finale". Oxegen. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  23. ^ Chris Colfer Emmy Nominated
  24. ^ Steinberg, Jamie (May 2009). "Chris Colfer – Pure Glee". Starry Constellation Magazine. Retrieved June 2, 2009. 
  25. ^ Ryan Murphy (director, writer), Brad Falchuk (writer), Ian Brennan (writer) (November 11, 2009). "Wheels". Glee. Season 1. Episode 9. Fox.
  26. ^ "Chris Colfer Signs Children's Book Deal – Today's News: Our Take". TVGuide.com. June 8, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  27. ^ http://www.amazon.com/The-Land-Stories-Wishing-Spell/dp/031620157X Amazon
  28. ^ New York Times, New York Times Best Sellers August 5, 2012. Accessed February 19, 2013.
  29. ^ http://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/books/2012/07/26/chris-colfer-tops-new-york-times-best-sellers-list
  30. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/2013-12-29/childrens-middle-grade/list.html New York Times
  31. ^ a b uncredited (Oct 17, 2013). businesswire.com http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20131017006272/en#.Uu8kmPldXS4. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  32. ^ A Grimm Warning
  33. ^ "Glee's Chris Colfer Makes Leap to Big Screen for Lightning". TVGuide.com. Retrieved December 8, 2010. 
  34. ^ "'Glee' Stars 'Touched' By Pitt & Clooney's Support Of '8'". Access Hollywood. accesshollywood.com. Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  35. ^ ""8": A Play about the Fight for Marriage Equality". YouTube. Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  36. ^ "YouTube to broadcast Proposition 8 play live". pinknews.co.uk. Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  37. ^ Tim Stack, "Glee star Chris Colfer discusses his new pilot for Disney and Kurt's return to McKinley – EXCLUSIVE", insidetv.ew.com, April 22, 2011.
  38. ^ Malkin, Marc (Jan 9, 2013). eonline.com http://www.eonline.com/news/376821/chris-colfer-s-new-asylum-movie-completely-different-from-ryan-murphy-s-american-horror-story. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  39. ^ a b Blair, Gavin J (January 28, 2012). hollywoodreporter.com http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/chris-colfer-ron-perlman-voice-674785. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  40. ^ uncredited (Jan 28, 2014). comingsoon.net http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=114084. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  41. ^ Ausiello, Michael (March 17, 2014). tvline.com http://tvline.com/2014/03/17/chris-colfer-writing-glee-episode-season-5/. Retrieved Mar 20, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  42. ^ Swift, Andy (March 19, 2014). tvline.com http://tvline.com/2014/03/19/glee-miley-cyrus-tribute-episode-chris-colfer-season-6-spoilers/. Retrieved Mar 20, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  43. ^ http://instagram.com/p/mYWgMCNdaX/
  44. ^ Advocate.com Editors (December 4, 2009). "Handler to Colfer: "We Know You're Gay"". The Advocate. Retrieved December 4, 2009. 
  45. ^ Saltman, Laura. "Dish of Salt: Who’s The Biggest Loser On ‘Glee’?". Access Hollywood. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  46. ^ Glee's Chris Colfer Not Out After All? The Advocate, November 1, 2009.
  47. ^ Chris and Hannah Dealing with Severe Epilepsy. Success Circuit, April 16, 2012.
  48. ^ Black, Rob. "Hannah Colfer's Story". GleeFan.com. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  49. ^ "Chris Colfer (from Glee) | Trojan Vision Television". Trojanvision.com. April 18, 2010. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  50. ^ BBC. "Chris Colfer show his sai swords skills – Friday Night With Jonathan Ross"". Friday Night With Jonathan Ross. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  51. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2357126/Chris-Colfer-boyfriend-Will-Sherrod-don-matching-patriotic-outfits-Fourth-July-lunch-date.html

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]