David Burtka

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David Burtka
David Burtka 2012.jpg
Burtka in 2012
David Michael Burtka

(1975-05-29) May 29, 1975 (age 45)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
OccupationActor, chef
Years active1999–present (actor)
2009–present (chef)
(m. 2014)

David Michael Burtka (born May 29, 1975) is an American actor and professional chef. He is known for his acting roles in theatre and television shows such as How I Met Your Mother and The Play About the Baby. After his role on How I Met Your Mother, Burtka gained media attention for dating Neil Patrick Harris, whom he later married in 2014.

Early life[edit]

Burtka was born in Dearborn, Michigan, the son of Deborah A. Zajas (died 2008) and Daniel Burtka. He is of Polish descent.[1][2] He grew up in Canton, Michigan, and graduated from Salem High School in 1993. He trained in acting at Interlochen Center for the Arts, obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan and had further training at the William Esper Studios.

Acting career[edit]

Burtka made his television debut in 2002 with a guest role on The West Wing. This was followed by guest appearances on Crossing Jordan.

Burtka made his Broadway debut as Tulsa in the 2003 revival of Gypsy, which starred Bernadette Peters. He played The Boy in the American premiere of Edward Albee's The Play About the Baby, for which he won the 2001 Clarence Derwent Award for most promising male performer.

In 2004, Burtka originated the role of Matt in the musical The Opposite of Sex and reprised the role in the work's East Coast premiere in the summer of 2006.

Burtka appeared in seven episodes of How I Met Your Mother, playing "Scooter", the former high school boyfriend of Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan), who still had not gotten over their breakup. Burtka made a cameo appearance, in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, as himself; in it, he also shared a scene with Neil Patrick Harris, in a part that was much like his character from How I Met Your Mother.

Burtka starred in Osiris Entertainment's 2013 film Annie and the Gypsy,[3] and had a featured role in the 2014 film Dance Off. [4]

Burtka returned to Broadway in a comedy play, which David Hyde Pierce directed, titled It Shoulda Been You. In the play, staged in late April 2015, he assumed the role of a Catholic fiancé of a Jewish bride, who was played by Sierra Boggess, whose wedding day is disrupted when her ex-boyfriend shows up at the wedding. Additional cast members included Tyne Daly and Harriet Harris.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Burtka with his husband, Neil Patrick Harris, in September 2011.

Six months after Burtka's first How I Met Your Mother appearance, allegations arose that the actor had received the part because of a romantic relationship with one of the show's stars, actor Neil Patrick Harris.[6] Speculation around this story eventually led Harris to acknowledge publicly that he himself was gay in a cover story in People Weekly Magazine.[7] Burtka made no public response to the story, though later Harris stated that he and Burtka were moving in together.[8]

Burtka and Harris attended the Emmy Awards in September 2007 as an openly acknowledged couple for the first time, an appearance which Harris discussed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[9]

Burtka's mother died of cancer in May 2008.[10]

On February 4, 2009, Burtka and Harris appeared for the first time on stage together, singing a duet from Rent at a benefit for The LGBT Community Center in New York. The two actors had been together since April 2004.[11] Harris customarily referred to Burtka as "my better half" and "an amazing chef."[12] Burtka and Harris became parents to fraternal twins Gideon Scott and Harper Grace,[13] who were born in October 2010, via a surrogate mother. Burtka, although not the biological father of his ex Lane Janger's children, who had also been born via surrogate, has remained close to them over the years.[14][15]

Following the passage of the Marriage Equality Act in New York on June 24, 2011, Burtka and Harris announced their engagement, stating that they had proposed to each other five years earlier but had kept the engagement secret until same-sex marriage became legal in their state.[16]

According to Harris, Burtka quit acting full-time to become a professional chef.[17] He graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Pasadena in the summer of 2009; afterwards, he began running a Los Angeles catering company which he called "Gourmet M.D." Burtka did continue to act, including in It Shoulda Been You on Broadway in 2015.[18]

Burtka's first cookbook, Life is a Party, a collection of recipes and tips on entertaining, was published in April 2019.[19]



Year Title Role Notes
1999 24 Nights Toby
2007 Worldly Possession Andrew Bates Television film
2007 Open House Husband Short film
2007 Army Guy Keith Short film
2011 A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas Himself He appeared as a fictionalized version of himself, who is Neil Patrick Harris' drug dealer posing as Neil's life partner.
2011 Gaysharktank.com Short film
2012 Annie and the Gypsy Martin
2013 The Gay Christian Mingle Short film
2014 Dance-Off JT


Year Title Role Notes
2002 The West Wing Intern Bruce Episode: "The Black Vera Wang"
2005 Crossing Jordan Craig Heeley Episode: "Total Recall"
2007 CSI:NY David King Episode: "Down the Rabbit Hole"
2013 Iron Chef America Himself Episode: "Zakarian vs. Chiarello: Scotch"
2012 Neil's Puppet Dreams Himself Episodes: "Dream Bump"
2006–14 How I Met Your Mother Scooter 7 episodes
2014 RuPaul's Drag Race Himself (guest judge) Episode: "Drag My Wedding"
2015 Beat Bobby Flay Himself (guest judge) Episode: "No Training Wheels"
2015 American Horror Story: Freak Show Michael Beck Episode: "Curtain Call"
2018 A Series of Unfortunate Events Mr. Willums Episodes: "The Carnivorous Carnival: Part 1"
"The Carnivorous Carnival: Part 2"
2020 Home Movie: The Princess Bride[20] Princess Buttercup Upcoming series

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Obituary » Michigan Death Notices » from Michigan.com . . ". michigan.com. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  2. ^ Administrator. "Famous Polish Americans". polishyoungstown.com. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  3. ^ "Annie and the Gypsy". Archived from the original on 2014-09-08. Retrieved 2013-02-08.
  4. ^ "Platinum the Dance Movie (2014)". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  5. ^ BWW News Desk. "Tyne Daly, Harriet Harris, Sierra Boggess, Lisa Howard, David Burtka & More Will Star in David Hyde Pierce-Helmed IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU on Broadway; Opens April 14". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  6. ^ canada.com October 24, 2006 (2006-10-24). "O.C. stars hit T.O". Canada.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
  7. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Neil Patrick Harris Tells PEOPLE He Is Gay - Neil Patrick Harris". People.com. 2006-11-03. Archived from the original on 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
  8. ^ Fabien Montique (July 26, 2007). "Neil Patrick Moves In With Boyfriend!". theBosh.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-09-07.
  9. ^ Thomson, Katherine (2007-09-13). "Watch: Neil Patrick Harris Tells Ellen About Going To The Emmys Since Coming Out". The Huffington Post.
  10. ^ WENN. "Harris' Tribute To Boyfriend's Late Mother". contactmusic.com. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  11. ^ "15 Questions with Neil Patrick Harris".
  12. ^ "US Weekly". February 18, 2008. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ "Neil Patrick Harris Welcomes 'Happy, Healthy' Twins". People. 2010-10-15. Retrieved 2010-10-15.
  14. ^ "David Burtka on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  15. ^ Dulin, Dann. "David Burtka: Cover Story". 5 April 2014. aumag.org. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
  16. ^ Published Saturday, Jun 25, 2011, 1:42pm EDT (2011-06-25). "Neil Patrick Harris announces secret engagement". Digitalspy.com. Retrieved 2011-11-16.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ Neil Patrick Harris talks Thanksgiving on The Late Late Show. Retrieved 2011-11-16 – via YouTube.
  18. ^ ""It Shoulda Been You" official broadway site". Archived from the original on 2015-04-07. Retrieved 2015-04-04.
  19. ^ Vora, Shivani (2019-06-14). "How Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka Spend Their Sundays". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-06-16.
  20. ^ Breznican, Anthony (June 26, 2020). "Watch the Celebrity-Filled Fan-Film Version of The Princess Bride". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 26, 2020.

External links[edit]

Media related to David Burtka at Wikimedia Commons