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 24)[1]
Clovis, California, United States
Occupation Actor, singer, producer, 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 Timothy 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 aired on May 6, 2014, is "Old Dog New Tricks".[43]

On May 14th it became a public knowledge that the biopic Colfer has been mentioning for almost a year is going to be about Noël Coward with the working title "Noel" and Chris is going to play the main role.[44]

Personal life[edit]

Colfer is openly gay[45] and shared on Access Hollywood that his parents were accepting of him but he was frequently bullied at school.[15][46][47] Colfer's younger sister, Hannah, suffers from severe epilepsy,[48] and often experiences over fifty seizures in an hour.[49] 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][50]

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.[51] Colfer revealed in 2009 that he has a huge fear of needles, during an interview with Bonnie Hunt.

Colfer currently lives in Los Angeles with his cat Brian and his golden retriever Cooper. On an episode of Watch What Happens: Live that aired July 13, 2014 he confirmed that he currently has a boyfriend.[52]

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 a PSA with Elmo about anti-bullying for Sesame Street in Communities [53] and participated in the Course of the Force run benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation.[54] In 2014, he participated in a PSA about Let Girls Learn, put out by the U.S. Agency for International Development.[55]

On Hollywood Game Night, hosted by his Glee co-star Jane Lynch, Colfer won $6000 and donated it to the Make-a-Wish Foundation of America.

Colfer also was a co-chair for the Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party in 2013 and 2014. He also is a coalition member of Uprising of Love, an organization which supports the safety and dignity of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Russians.[56]

He is outspoken about the importance of adopting animals from shelters.[57] He adopted his senior cat Brian from the West Valley Animal Shelter and his dog Cooper from the Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue. He also donated a drawing to be auctioned off to benefit the Labrador Rescuers of San Diego.[58]

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; Screenwriter; Executive Producer
Robodog KC (Kinetic Canine) Lead Voice Role
Noel Young Noël Coward Lead Role
Actor: Television
Year Title Role Notes
2009-present Glee Kurt Hummel (Seasons 1-6)
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries, or Television Film
People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Comedy Actor
(2012-2014)
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries, or Television Film
(2009-2010)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
(2010)
Teen Choice Award for Choice TV: Male Scene Stealer
(2010-2011)
Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Actor: Comedy
(2012-2013)
Nominated– Monte Carlo TV Festival Award for Outstanding Actor: Comedy Series
Nominated– Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
(2010-2011)
Nominated– Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Nominated– Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
(2011-2013)
2011 The Cleveland Show Kurt Hummel (Voice) Episode: "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Roberta?"
2012 The Glee Project Himself Guest Mentor, Episode: "Glee-ality"
2012 - 2014 The Talk Himself Episode dated 24 July 2012
2012 - 2014 Good Morning America Himself - Episode dated 8 July 2014 - Episode dated 6 August 2013 - Episode dated 17 July 2012
2012 Saturday Night Live Himself SNL Season 36, Sketch: What's Up with That
2013 Bitter Party of Five Himself Episode: 6
2014 Hollywood Game Night Himself Episode: "Orange Is The New Game Night"
2014 Hot in Cleveland Tony Chase Episode: "Straight Outta Cleveland"
Writer
Year Title Role Notes
2012 Struck by Lightning Writer Debut Feature
2014 Glee Writer Episode: Old Dog New Tricks
Author
Year Title Release Date
2012 The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell July 17, 2012
2012 Struck by Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal November 20, 2012
2013 The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns August 6, 2013
2014 The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning July 8, 2014
2015 The Curvy Tree TBA
2015 The Land of Stories: TBA TBA
2015 The Little Leftover Witch Pre-production

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 Nominated
2010 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
Satellite Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
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 Nominated
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 Nominated
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 Nominated
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
2014 Satellite Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a comedy film Struck by lightning Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1209/1210). Jun 1–8, 2012. p. 35. 
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  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
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  11. ^ Lodge, Sally (June 6, 2012). "BEA 2012: A Bountiful Breakfast Menu". publishersweekly.co. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014. 
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  23. ^ Chris Colfer Emmy Nominated
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  27. ^ http://www.amazon.com/The-Land-Stories-Wishing-Spell/dp/031620157X Amazon
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  30. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/2013-12-29/childrens-middle-grade/list.html New York Times
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  32. ^ A Grimm Warning
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  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). "Chris Colfer's New Asylum Movie "Completely Different" From Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story". eonline.com. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014. 
  39. ^ a b Blair, Gavin J (January 28, 2012). "Chris Colfer, Ron Perlman to Voice 'Robodog' Anime Feature". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014. 
  40. ^ uncredited (Jan 28, 2014). "Chris Colfer and Ron Perlman Will Lend Their Voices to RoboDog". comingsoon.net. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014. 
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  43. ^ http://instagram.com/p/mYWgMCNdaX
  44. ^ http://www.screendaily.com/news/glees-colfer-joins-noel-coward-biopic/5071684.article
  45. ^ Advocate.com Editors (December 4, 2009). "Handler to Colfer: "We Know You're Gay"". The Advocate. Retrieved December 4, 2009. 
  46. ^ Saltman, Laura. "Dish of Salt: Who’s The Biggest Loser On ‘Glee’?". Access Hollywood. Retrieved December 6, 2009. 
  47. ^ Glee's Chris Colfer Not Out After All? The Advocate, November 1, 2009.
  48. ^ Chris and Hannah Dealing with Severe Epilepsy. Success Circuit, April 16, 2012.
  49. ^ Black, Rob. "Hannah Colfer's Story". GleeFan.com. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
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  51. ^ BBC. "Chris Colfer show his sai swords skills – Friday Night With Jonathan Ross"". Friday Night With Jonathan Ross. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  52. ^ http://www.mjsbigblog.com/chris-colfer-answers-the-boyfriend-question-on-watch-what-happens-live-video.htm
  53. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QowqVUQhjwU
  54. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-hHg-eQyWg
  55. ^ Gajewski, Ryan (June 20, 2014). "Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Garner Encourage Education for Young Women in PSA". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  56. ^ Ocamb, Karen (March 28, 2014). "Melissa Etheridge 'Uprising of Love' Music Video a Kiss to LGBT Russians". frontiersla.com. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  57. ^ http://www.peoplepets.com/people/pets/article/0,,20586583,00.html
  58. ^ Koerner, Allyson (December 15, 2011). "Chris Colfer Creates Pet Pictures for Animal Rescue". ecorazzi.com. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]