November 8, 1965 |
West Covina, California, U.S.
|Education||The American Academy of Dramatic Arts|
|Occupation||Writer, Director, Actor|
Chester was born in West Covina, California, the son of Cecil, lead singer in the rock band “Whiskey”, and Linda, a homemaker. He moved with his family to Carrollton, Texas at the age of twelve when his father accepted a corporate job with Nestlé. At age fifteen, Chester was diagnosed with the congenital facial deformity Long face syndrome. The condition's most striking symptom is an excessively long lower face height. At eighteen, Chester spent a year undergoing multiple reconstructive surgeries. Chester moved to New York City in 1985, with a new face, to study at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Following graduation, he performed in various stage productions in New York, including a play written by Joanne Woodward who, upon noticing his naturalistic acting style, encouraged Chester to pursue a career in film.
Chester’s acting debut was in the feature film Swoon, a contemporary re-telling of the infamous Leopold & Loeb murder of Bobby Franks which earned Chester an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Actor. Janet Maslin of The New York Times described the film as “dazzling”. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone described Swoon as “a great film…haunting and visionary”. Chester went on to act in a string of critically acclaimed independent films. He was openly gay from the inception of his career, rare at that time.
As a result, St. Martin's Press approached Chester to write about his life and experiences. His memoir Why the Long Face?: The Adventures of a Truly Independent Actor was published in 2003 and told the story of his unlikely trajectory from born-again teen with long face syndrome to his facial reconstruction and career in Hollywood. In 2009, Showtime optioned the book with Chester set to adapt it into a television pilot with Don Roos, Dan Bucatinsky and Lisa Kudrow as producers. Publishers Weekly described Why The Long Face as “witty, absorbing” with Chester an “engaging storyteller with a fresh voice”. Kirkus Reviews described Chester’s memoir as an “intriguing midpoint autobiography sure to rouse curiosity about what the next half has in store.” 
Chester transitioned into screenwriting with Adam & Steve, which he also directed and starred in with Parker Posey, Chris Kattan and Malcolm Gets. The film was released on April 24, 2005. Writing for The Village Voice, Melissa Levine described writer-director Chester’s debut as “truly enjoyable”, while Ronnie Scheib of Variety praised his performance: “Chester’s Adam, effortlessly able to slide from bathos to pathos and back again with none of the smarmy schmaltz of sitcom humanism, is a marvel of nuanced comic timing.”  Chuck Wilson, writing for LA Weekly described the film as “something certain to make John Waters cackle with glee.”  Adam & Steve has since developed a cult following.
Since adapting his book for Showtime, Chester has been writing for television. Chester is currently writing for season seven of the hit HBO series, True Blood. He has developed pilots with NBC and Ryan Seacrest for E! amongst others. On the June 5, 2013 edition of NPR's “Moth Radio Hour”, Chester recounted how he has been haunted by the Academy Award nominated actor, Montgomery Clift, who has been dead for over 40 years.
|1992||Swoon||Nathan Leopold Jr.|
|1994||Out of Darkness||Bill||TV film|
|1996||I Shot Andy Warhol||Fred Hughes|
|1997||David Searching||Mercedes Guy|
|1997||Kiss Me, Guido||Terry|
|1998||The Misadventures of Margaret||Richard Lane|
|1998||Shucking the Curve||Steven|
|2001||The Anniversary Party||Party Guest|
|2001||Circuit||White Party Customer|
|2001||The Experience Box||Ryan|
|2001||Sex and the City
|2002||Bumping Heads||Craig||short film, 22 minutes; released in 2003 in Boys Life 4: Four Play|
|2002||Law & Order: Criminal Intent
|2003||Quintessence||Thomas||short film, 25 minutes|
|2004||Out on the Edge||writer|
|2005||Adam & Steve||Adam Bernstein||actor; writer; director|
|2007–2008||The Big Gay Sketch Show||writer (9 episodes)|
|2013||Kill Your Darlings||Businessman|