At a book signing in August 2013
|Born||Christopher Paul Colfer
May 27, 1990 
Clovis, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, singer, producer, screenwriter and author|
Christopher Paul "Chris" Colfer (born May 27, 1990) is an American actor, singer, author and producer. He is known for his portrayal of Kurt Hummel on the television series Glee. Colfer's portrayal of Kurt has received critical praise for which 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 and three consecutive People’s Choice Awards for Favorite Comedic TV Actor in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In April 2011, Colfer was named one of the 2011 Time 100, Time's list of the 100 most influential people.
Colfer 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 series.
Early life and education
Colfer was born in Clovis, California, the son of Karyn Colfer (née Boling) and Timothy Colfer. 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." 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.
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. 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. 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."
Colfer was bullied so severely in middle school that he needed to be home schooled for half of 7th grade and 8th grade. 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". 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. 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. His grandmother, a minister, let him sing the song in her church.
The first show he was involved in with community theater was West Side Story. 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. Colfer’s resemblance to the Kurt von Trapp character later served as inspiration for the name of his Glee character.
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.
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. The show's creator, Ryan Murphy, was so impressed with Colfer that he created the role of Kurt specifically for him, 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.
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."
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.” He was twice nominated for an Emmy Award 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.
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." 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. Later, 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.
The Land of Stories
On June 8, 2011, Colfer signed a book deal with Little, Brown and Company to write two novels for children. 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. 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.
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.
Following the success of the first two books, Colfer contracted for an additional three books with Little, Brown: two novels and a picture book.
The third book in the series, The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning, was released on July 8, 2014. Now considered a series, it reached #4 on the The New York Times Best Seller list and spent four weeks on the list.
Colfer's fourth novel, The Land of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms, was released on July 7, 2015. Following its release, the Land of Stories charted at #1 as a series on the The New York Times Best Seller list for the first time on July 26.
The picture book, written by Colfer and illustrated by Brandon Dorman, The Curvy Tree, is set for spring 2015, and is based on a short original fairy tale of the same name, which Colfer first told in The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell.
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.
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. The production was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and broadcast on YouTube to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
Colfer landed a deal with Disney Channel to adapt the book "The Little Leftover Witch" for a television pilot. He also wrote another movie, set in an asylum, which he planned to appear in as a supporting actor. 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. 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.” Vocal recording for the film began on February 1, 2014.
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. 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.’” The title of the episode, which aired on May 6, 2014, is "Old Dog New Tricks".
In 2014, Colfer guest starred on an episode of Hot in Cleveland playing Tony, Victoria's son. On March 31st, 2015, Jane Leeves posted an image on her official twitter account, confirming that Colfer will be returning to an episode for the show's final season entitled "All About Elka".
On May 14 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. Colfer has since been in London, preparing for the role. The film will be directed by Joe Stephenson and filming is expected to begin sometime during the summer of 2015.
Colfer's younger sister, Hannah, suffers from severe epilepsy, and often experiences over fifty seizures in an hour. Colfer has commented that when he was younger he used acting as a method of escaping the stress involved with having a disabled family member.
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.
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 and participated in the Course of the Force run benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In 2014, he participated in a PSA about Let Girls Learn, put out by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
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. He served on the host committee for Uprising of Love: A Benefit Concert for Global Equality.
He is outspoken about the importance of adopting animals from shelters. 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.
On October 25, 2014, Colfer made an announcement on his Twitter account encouraging fans to donate to the HP Alliance. He also has donated signed copies of his books to the fundraiser. In the past, he also has tweeted support for the Adopt the Arts Foundation's effort to Save the Arts, as well as talked about the importance of the arts in education.
On November 20, 2014, Colfer made an announcement on Twitter, encouraging fans to support Heifer International and help families out of poverty.
On June 25, 2015, Colfer announced that T-shirts bearing a popular quote from his The Land of Stories series would be sold to benefit First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides brand-new books to kids in need. Through June 30, 965 T-shirts were sold on Represent.com, with 100 percent of the profits going to First Book.
One of Colfer's major influences is Whoopi Goldberg. He said, "When I was little, my favorite movie I used to watch was Sister Act, and my mother stated that I would place towels on my head and sing with Whoopi and the nuns." Colfer stated on his Twitter account that actor Robin Williams was his "hero" growing up before Williams committed suicide, and said, "You know someone is special when the whole world considers them family." Colfer stated that Kristin Chenoweth was another major influence on him, claiming in one interview with Jay Leno that he was nervous sitting next to her, and that Kristin was his very first celebrity crush. Colfer stated that Glee 's producer Ryan Murphy also became a huge influence on him, with him stating he would often get himself into trouble with his mother when he was caught watching Nip/Tuck, and that Murphy was the first person in Hollywood to ever let him work, despite him being horrible at auditions, describing Murphy as his "fairy godfather" in his 2011 Golden Globes speech. He also stated that Elton John influenced him to respond to hateful, anti-gay people with love, kindness and respect rather than anger and resentment. Colfer said two of his favorite artists are Betty Who and Melissa Etheridge on his Twitter.
|2009||Russel Fish: The Sausage and Eggs Incident||Russel Fish||Short film|
|2010||Marmaduke||Drama Dog No. 2||Voice|
|2011||Glee: The 3D Concert Movie||Kurt Hummel|
|2012||Struck by Lightning||Carson Phillips||Also writer and executive producer|
|2015||Noel||Young Noël Coward|
|2016||Ab Fab: The Movie||Filming|
|2009–2015||Glee||Kurt Hummel||Main role; 116 episodes
Also writer on "Old Dog, New Tricks"
|2011||The Cleveland Show||Kurt Hummel||Voice|
|2012||The Glee Project||Himself||Guest mentor|
|2012||Saturday Night Live||Himself|
|2013||Bitter Party of Five||Himself|
|2014||Hollywood Game Night||Himself||1 episode|
|2014, 2015||Hot in Cleveland||Tony Chase||2 Episodes: Straight Out of CLeveland, All About Elka|
- The Land of Stories series (published by Little, Brown)
- Struck by Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal (Little, Brown, Nov 2012)
Awards and nominations
|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||Won|
|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|
|Teen Choice Awards||Fashion Icon: Male||Himself||Nominated|
|2012||People's Choice Awards||Favorite TV Comedy Actor||Nominated|
|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||Nominated|
|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||Nominated|
|2014||People's Choice Awards||Favorite Comedic TV Actor||Himself||Won|
|2015||People's Choice Awards||Favorite Comedic TV Actor||Won|
|Shorty Awards||Best Author||Author of The Land of Stories||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV Actor: Comedy||Glee||Nominated|
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- "Show Tracker". Los Angeles Times.
- 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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- Naoreen, Nuzhat (Jan 9, 2014). "Chris Colfer Says He Feels Fantastic After Winning People’s Choice Award". blog.peopleschoice.com. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014.
- Bentley, Rick. "Emmy nod 'surreal,' Clovis East grad says – Clovis: News". fresnobee.com. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- tv (August 19, 2011). "MSN UK". Tv.uk.msn.com. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- Carpenter, Susan (July 15, 2012). "The Writing Life: Chris Colfer of 'Glee' inspired by fairy tales". latimes.com. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014.
- Lodge, Sally (June 6, 2012). "BEA 2012: A Bountiful Breakfast Menu". publishersweekly.co. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014.
- Colfer, Chris (July 2, 2013). The Wishing Spell. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. ISBN 978-0316201568. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
To Grandma, for being my first editor and giving me the best writing advice I’ve ever received: "Christopher, I think you should wait until you’re done with elementary school before worrying about being a failed writer."
- "'Glee' cast talks of new season, how show changed them", Manila Bulletin, October 10, 2011, Retrieved October 11, 2011.
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- Goldberg, Lesley. "Just One of the Guys". Advocate.com. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
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- "Glee Does West Side Story".
- Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 2012
- "Show Tracker". Los Angeles Times.
- 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.
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- "Chris Colfer Signs Children's Book Deal – Today's News: Our Take". TVGuide.com. June 8, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
- http://www.amazon.com/The-Land-Stories-Wishing-Spell/dp/031620157X Amazon
- New York Times, New York Times Best Sellers August 5, 2012. Accessed February 19, 2013.
- "Chris Colfer Tops New York Times Best Sellers List". advocate.com.
- http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/2013-12-29/childrens-middle-grade/list.html New York Times
- "#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Chris Colfer Builds on Success of Land of Stories Series with a New Three-Book Deal at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers". businesswire.com. Oct 17, 2013. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014.
- "The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning". hachettebookgroup.com.
- "The Land of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms". hachettebookgroup.com.
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- Chris and Hannah Dealing with Severe Epilepsy. Success Circuit, April 16, 2012.
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- Chris Colfer & Elmo Talk About Bullying. YouTube. December 10, 2013.
- CHRIS COLFER Extended Interview - Course of the Force 2013: Day 1. YouTube. July 12, 2013.
- Gajewski, Ryan (June 20, 2014). "Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Garner Encourage Education for Young Women in PSA". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
- Ocamb, Karen (March 28, 2014). "Melissa Etheridge 'Uprising of Love' Music Video a Kiss to LGBT Russians". frontiersla.com. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
- "Uprising of Love". uprisingoflove.org.
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- Glee's Chris Colfer talks about school budget cuts and saving the Arts!. YouTube. April 26, 2012.
- "Doodle 4 NF - Gallery - Chris Colfer #1". doodle4nf.org.
- "Doodle 4 NF - Gallery - Chris Colfer #2". doodle4nf.org.
- "Doodle 4 NF - Gallery - Chris Colfer #2". doodle4nf.org.
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- "Doodle 4 NF - Annual fundraiser for Neurofibromatosis". doodle4nf.org.
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- "Chris Colfer: First Book Charity Tee!". represent.com.
- ABC News. "Beyonce, Spielberg, and Sting: 33 Interesting People Who Wrote Big Checks to Hillary Clinton". ABC News.
- Kugel, Allison (April 26, 2010). "Glee Star Chris Colfer Shares His Best Behind-the-Scenes Moments and Surreal Adventures". PR.com.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chris Colfer.|
- Chris Colfer at the Internet Movie Database
- Chris Colfer on Twitter
- Chris Colfer on Instagram
- Chris Colfer at Emmys.com