Jesse Tyler Ferguson

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Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Ferguson at the Yahoo News/ABCNews Pre-White House Correspondents' dinner reception pre-party, May 2014
Ferguson in 2014
Born (1975-10-22) October 22, 1975 (age 38)
Missoula, Montana, USA
Occupation Actor
Years active 1998–present
Spouse(s) Justin Mikita (m. 2013)

Jesse Tyler Ferguson (born October 22, 1975) is an American actor known for portraying Mitchell Pritchett on the ABC sitcom Modern Family, which has earned him 5 nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Previously he played the role of Richie Velch in the CBS sitcom The Class.

In September 2012 Ferguson announced his engagement to lawyer Justin Mikita, his boyfriend of nearly two years.[1] They married on July 20, 2013, in New York City.[2]

Early years[edit]

Ferguson was born in Missoula, Montana, then moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he was raised.[3] At age eight he decided to become an actor, and joined the Albuquerque Children's Theater, where he was a member for six years.

At St. Pius X High School Ferguson played Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie and General Bullmoose in Li'l Abner. He participated on the speech and debate team and graduated in 1994. He worked as a dancer/singer at Cliff's Amusement Park.[citation needed]

After high school Ferguson attended The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York City.


Jesse Tyler Ferguson with Modern Family co-star Eric Stonestreet at the 2010 HRC National Dinner

In New York City Ferguson worked mainly in off-Broadway and Broadway theatre, including the Tony Award-winning The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, where he originated the role of Leaf Coneybear.[4] In the summer of 2007 Ferguson starred in the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Then he co-starred in the 2008 thriller Untraceable.

On television Ferguson was among the large ensemble cast on the short-lived CBS sitcom The Class, playing Richie Velch. He plays the role of Mitchell Pritchett, the openly gay lawyer on the ABC sitcom Modern Family. For his performance Ferguson has received four consecutive Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (2010-2013). He has also appeared as a judge on So You Think You Can Dance.

In March 2012 Ferguson was featured as Dr. Ilan Meyer in a performance of Dustin Lance Black's play, 8, a staged reenactment of Perry v. Brown, the federal trial that overturned California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage.[5] The production was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and broadcast on YouTube to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, a non-profit organization funding the plaintiffs' legal team and sponsoring the play.[6][7]

Tie The Knot[edit]

Ferguson at a PFLAG event on October 1, 2010.

In September 2012, Ferguson with his husband Justin Mikita, who is a lawyer, started Tie The Knot, a non-profit charity effort to raise funds to support marriage equality for same-sex couples, using bow ties sold retail.[8] They officially launched it as their engagement announcement in an online video where they explain only seven states at the time had marriage equality.[8][9] In an interview Ferguson stated that he wanted to do something that was smaller and manageable in case it didn't work out as a business model.[10] The foundation sells limited-edition bow ties with "proceeds going to organizations nationwide that are working toward marriage equality."[11] Their collections are designed by the couple plus guest designers, and is sold by Tie Bar, a Naperville, Illinois-based online men's neckwear company.[11] In January 2011, the couple was recruited by Lieutenant Governor of Illinois Sheila Simon to lobby legislators to pass SB10 which would allow same-sex marriage.[11] The bill passed both legislative houses,[12][13] and Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill into law,[14] going into effect on June 1, 2014.[15]

Ferguson at the Muppets Most Wanted premiere on March 11, 2014

In October 2013 Ferguson was named by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as a celebrity ambassador for the LGBT community, in part for his Tie The Knot charity.[16] Specifically for the ACLU's "Out for Freedom" campaign to "promoting the adoption of marriage equality across the United States."[17] They noted that Ferguson travelled to New Mexico, his home state, to take part in same sex marriage efforts. New Mexico does not explicitly permit or prohibit same-sex marriage; it is the only state lacking a statute or constitutional provision explicitly addressing same-sex marriage.[18] The couple’s non-profit made a grant of $10,000 to the ACLU of New Mexico for same sex efforts.[16]

In November 2013, a pop-up retail store for Tie The Knot was located at the Los Angeles Beverly Center featuring the fourth collection from the couple,[19] including professional athlete designs with NFL's Scott Fujita, and Chris Kluwe, WNBA player Brittney Griner.[20]



Year Title Role Notes
2000 Sally Hemings: An American Scandal Young Tom Hemings TV Movie
2001 Ordinary Sinner Ogden
2004 Mercury in Retrograde Duane Short
2006 Griffin and Phoenix Student
2008 Untraceable Arthur James Elmer
2009 Wonderful World Cyril
2012 The Procession Short
2012 8 Dr. Ilan Meyer
2012 Red Short
2013 2013 Do Something Awards Honoree TV Movie


Year Title Role Notes
2006-2007 The Class Richie Velch 19 episodes
2007, 2010 Ugly Betty Dr. Gabe Farkus Episode: Icing on the Cake (2007)
Episode: The Passion of the Betty (2010)
2008 Do Not Disturb Larry 5 episodes
2009 The Battery's Down Shamus McKelvy Episode: "The Party's over"
2009–present Modern Family Mitchell Pritchett Main character
2011-2013 So You Think You Can Dance Himself 7 episodes
Guest judge
2012 Submissions Only Jared Halstead Episode: Another Interruption
2012 RuPaul's Drag Race Himself (Guest Judge) Episode: Dads I'd Like to Frock
2013 Web Therapy Steve Olson 3 episodes
2013 Hot in Cleveland Wes Episode: Love Is All Around
2013 Project Runway Himself Episode: Tie the Knot
Guest judge


Year Title Role Notes
1998-1999 On the Town Chip Broadway Revival
November 19, 1998 – January 17, 1999
The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told Off-Broadway
Little Fish Marco Off-Broadway
Where Do We Live
Hair Margaret Mead
SantaLand Diaries
A Midsummer Night's Dream Francis Flute Public Theater
(Shakespeare in the Park)
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)
2005-2008 The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Leaf Coneybear Broadway
May 2, 2005 – January 20, 2008
2005 On the Twentieth Century Max Jacobs Special concert
September 26
2010 The Winter's Tale Shepard's Son Public Theater
(Shakespeare in the Park)
2010 The Merchant of Venice Launcelot Gobbo Public Theater
(Shakespeare in the Park)
2012 The Producers Leo Bloom Hollywood Bowl
July 27–29, 2012
2013 A Comedy of Errors Public Theater
(Shakespeare in the Park)



  1. ^ Chi, Paul (19 September 2012). "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Is Engaged to Justin Mikita". People. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Rizzo, Monica (July 21, 2013). "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Marries Justin Mikita". People. Retrieved July 21, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Mitchell Played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson". ABC. Retrieved August 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 2011
  5. ^ "'Glee' Stars 'Touched' By Pitt & Clooney's Support of '8'". Access Hollywood. Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  6. ^ "'8': A Play about the Fight for Marriage Equality". YouTube. Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  7. ^ "YouTube to broadcast Proposition 8 play live". Pink News. Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson Buys Gwen Stefani's Home for $4.55 Million : Home". Realty Today. 2013-11-06. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  9. ^ "'Modern Family' Star Jesse Tyler Ferguson Marries!". 2013-04-29. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  10. ^ Interview with Ferguson by David Letterman, Late Night with David Letterman, CBS, November 20, 2013.
  11. ^ a b c Retrieved 2013-12-05.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Garcia, Monique; Long, Ray (November 5, 2013). "Lawmakers approve gay marriage in Illinois". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 21, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Gay marriage bill passes in Illinois house, senate - on to governors desk". Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  14. ^ Garcia, Monique (November 20, 2013). "Quinn signs Illinois gay marriage bill". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  15. ^ Geiger, Kim (November 5, 2013). "Q&A on same-sex marriage". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 21, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "ACLU Names Celebrity Ambassadors for Key Civil Liberties Issues | American Civil Liberties Union". Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  17. ^ "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Named Celebrity Ambassador For Marriage Equality By ACLU: VIDEO| Gay News". Towleroad. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  18. ^ Grovum, Jake (February 12, 2013). "How New Mexico Legalized Gay Marriage – For 8 Hours". Stateline. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  19. ^ Matthew Breen. "Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson releases bow tie collection". Pursuitist. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  20. ^ Tschorn, Adam (2013-11-18). "Tie the Knot pops up at the Beverly Center through Jan. 10". Retrieved 2013-12-05. 

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