Chris Colfer

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Chris Colfer
Chris Colfer 2013.jpg
At a book signing in August 2013
BornChristopher Paul Colfer
(1990-05-27) May 27, 1990 (age 24)[1]
Clovis, California, U.S.
OccupationActor, singer, producer, screenwriter and author
Years active2009–present
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Chris Colfer
Chris Colfer 2013.jpg
At a book signing in August 2013
BornChristopher Paul Colfer
(1990-05-27) May 27, 1990 (age 24)[1]
Clovis, California, U.S.
OccupationActor, singer, producer, screenwriter and author
Years active2009–present

Christopher Paul "Chris" Colfer[2][3] (born May 27, 1990)[4] 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 [5] and three consecutive People’s Choice Awards for Favorite Comedic TV Actor in 2013,[6] 2014 and 2015.[7] 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[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]



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.


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
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.

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, has already come out, and you can buy it in stores.[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 works[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's younger sister, Hannah, suffers from severe epilepsy,[45] and often experiences over fifty seizures in an hour.[46] 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][47]

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.[48] 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.[49]


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 [50] and participated in the Course of the Force run benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation.[51] In 2014, he participated in a PSA about Let Girls Learn, put out by the U.S. Agency for International Development.[52]

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.[53] He served on the host committee for Uprising of Love: A Benefit Concert for Global Equality.[54]

He is outspoken about the importance of adopting animals from shelters.[55] 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.[56]

On October 25, 2014, Colfer made an announcement on his Twitter account encouraging fans to donate to the HP Alliance.

On November 20, 2014, Colfer made an announcement on Twitter, encouraging fans to support Heifer International and help families out of poverty.



One of Colfer's major influences is Whoopi Goldberg, stating "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, stating "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.


At Comic Con, July 2010


2009Russel Fish: The Sausage and Eggs IncidentRussel FishShort film
2010MarmadukeDrama Dog No. 2Voice
2011Glee: The 3D Concert MovieKurt Hummel
20128Ryan Kendall
2012Struck by LightningCarson PhillipsAlso writer and executive producer
2015RobodogKC (Kinetic Canine)Voice
2015NoelYoung Noël Coward


2009–presentGleeKurt HummelMain role
Also writer on "Old Dog, New Tricks"
2009-2010Entertainment TonightHimself
2011The Cleveland ShowKurt HummelVoice
2012The Glee ProjectHimselfGuest mentor
2012Saturday Night LiveHimself
2012-2014The TalkHimself
2013Bitter Party of FiveHimself
2014Hot in ClevelandTony ChaseStraight Out of CLeveland


Awards and nominations[edit]

2009Satellite AwardsBest Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TelevisionGleeNominated
2010Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy SeriesNominated
Satellite AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy SeriesNominated
Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy SeriesWon
Teen Choice AwardsChoice TV: Male Scene StealerWon
2011Golden Globe AwardBest Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a SeriesWon
Monte-Carlo TV FestivalOutstanding Actor – Comedy SeriesWon
Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy SeriesNominated
Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy SeriesNominated
Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy SeriesNominated
Teen Choice AwardsChoice TV: Male Scene StealerNominated
Teen Choice AwardsFashion Icon: MaleHimselfNominated
2012People's Choice AwardsFavorite TV Comedy ActorNominated
Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy SeriesGleeWon
Teen Choice AwardsChoice TV Actor: ComedyWon
Teen Choice AwardsFashion Icon: MaleHimselfNominated
2013People's Choice AwardsFavorite TV Comedy ActorWon
Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy SeriesGleeNominated
Teen Choice AwardsChoice TV Actor: ComedyNominated
2014People's Choice AwardsFavorite Comedic TV ActorHimselfWon
2015People's Choice AwardsFavorite Comedic TV ActorWon


  1. ^ "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1209/1210). Jun 1–8, 2012. p. 35. 
  2. ^ "Show Tracker". Los Angeles Times. 
  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
  4. ^ Ayers, Dennis (May 27, 2010). "Chris Colfer, Birthday Boy". Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Vena, Jocelyn (Jan 16, 2011). "Glee Star Chris Colfer Dedicates Golden Globe To Bullied Kids". Retrieved Feb 2, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Goodacre, Kate (Jan 9, 2013). "People's Choice Awards: Glee’s Chris Colfer flattered by fanfiction". Retrieved Feb 2, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Naoreen, Nuzhat (Jan 9, 2014). "Chris Colfer Says He Feels Fantastic After Winning People’s Choice Award". Retrieved Feb 2, 2014. 
  8. ^ Bentley, Rick. "Emmy nod 'surreal,' Clovis East grad says – Clovis: News". Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  9. ^ tv (August 19, 2011). "MSN UK". Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
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  11. ^ Lodge, Sally (June 6, 2012). "BEA 2012: A Bountiful Breakfast Menu". Retrieved Feb 2, 2014. 
  12. ^ 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.” 
  13. ^ "'Glee' cast talks of new season, how show changed them", Manila Bulletin, October 10, 2011, Retrieved October 11, 2011.
  14. ^ Chris Colfer on Glee wiki[dead link] Gleewiki on Retrieved November 14, 2009.
  15. ^ Goldberg, Lesley. "Just One of the Guys". Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  16. ^ a b Glee’s Chris Colfer Reveals Real-Life Story Behind Kurt’s Diva Moment People, November 12, 2009.
  17. ^ a b Kugel, Allison (April 26, 2010). "Glee Star Chris Colfer Shares His Best Behind-the-Scenes Moments and Surreal Adventures". Retrieved May 28, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Glee Does West Side Story". 
  19. ^ a b c Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 2012
  20. ^ "Show Tracker". Los Angeles Times. 
  21. ^ 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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  23. ^ Chris Colfer Emmy Nominated
  24. ^ Steinberg, Jamie (May 2009). "Chris Colfer – Pure Glee". Starry Constellation Magazine. Retrieved June 2, 2009. 
  25. ^ Ryan Murphy (director, writer), Brad Falchuk (writer), Ian Brennan (writer) (November 11, 2009). "Wheels". Glee. Season 1. Episode 9. Fox.
  26. ^ "Chris Colfer Signs Children's Book Deal – Today's News: Our Take". June 8, 2011. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  27. ^ Amazon
  28. ^ New York Times, New York Times Best Sellers August 5, 2012. Accessed February 19, 2013.
  29. ^
  30. ^ New York Times
  31. ^ a b "#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". Oct 17, 2013. Retrieved Feb 2, 2014. 
  32. ^ A Grimm Warning
  33. ^ "Glee's Chris Colfer Makes Leap to Big Screen for Lightning". Retrieved December 8, 2010. 
  34. ^ "'Glee' Stars 'Touched' By Pitt & Clooney's Support Of '8'". Access Hollywood. Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  35. ^ ""8": A Play about the Fight for Marriage Equality". YouTube. Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  36. ^ "YouTube to broadcast Proposition 8 play live". Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
  37. ^ Tim Stack, "Glee star Chris Colfer discusses his new pilot for Disney and Kurt's return to McKinley – EXCLUSIVE",, April 22, 2011.
  38. ^ Malkin, Marc (Jan 9, 2013). "Chris Colfer's New Asylum Movie "Completely Different" From Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story". Retrieved Feb 2, 2014. 
  39. ^ a b Blair, Gavin J (January 28, 2012). "Chris Colfer, Ron Perlman to Voice 'Robodog' Anime Feature". Retrieved Feb 2, 2014. 
  40. ^ uncredited (Jan 28, 2014). "Chris Colfer and Ron Perlman Will Lend Their Voices to RoboDog". Retrieved Feb 2, 2014. 
  41. ^ Ausiello, Michael (March 17, 2014). "Glee Exclusive: Chris Colfer to Pen Episode". Retrieved Mar 20, 2014. 
  42. ^ Swiftfirst=Andy (March 19, 2014). "Chris Colfer on Writing Glee Episode: Expect 'Animals and the Elderly' (But No Miley Cyrus)". Retrieved Mar 20, 2014. 
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^ Chris and Hannah Dealing with Severe Epilepsy. Success Circuit, April 16, 2012.
  46. ^ Black, Rob. "Hannah Colfer's Story". Retrieved March 30, 2010. 
  47. ^ "Chris Colfer (from Glee) | Trojan Vision Television". April 18, 2010. Retrieved November 9, 2011. 
  48. ^ BBC. Chris Colfer show his sai swords skills – Friday Night With Jonathan Ross". Friday Night With Jonathan Ross. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^ Gajewski, Ryan (June 20, 2014). "Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Garner Encourage Education for Young Women in PSA". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  53. ^ Ocamb, Karen (March 28, 2014). "Melissa Etheridge 'Uprising of Love' Music Video a Kiss to LGBT Russians". Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  54. ^
  55. ^,,20586583,00.html
  56. ^ Koerner, Allyson (December 15, 2011). "Chris Colfer Creates Pet Pictures for Animal Rescue". Retrieved July 1, 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]