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Chris Colfer

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Title: Chris Colfer  
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Subject: Glee (TV series), 2012 Kids' Choice Awards, Glee (season 4), Kurt Hummel, 39th People's Choice Awards
Collection: 1990 Births, 21St-Century American Male Actors, 21St-Century American Novelists, 21St-Century American Singers, American Children's Writers, American Fantasy Writers, American Male Film Actors, American Male Novelists, American Male Screenwriters, American Male Singers, American Male Television Actors, American People of Irish Descent, American Screenwriters, Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe (Television) Winners, Countertenors, Film Producers from California, Gay Actors, Gay Musicians, Gay Writers, Lgbt Entertainers from the United States, Lgbt Musicians from the United States, Lgbt Novelists, Lgbt People from California, Lgbt Producers, Lgbt Screenwriters, Lgbt Singers, Lgbt Writers from the United States, Living People, Male Actors from California, Male Actors from Fresno, California, People from Clovis, California, Singers from California, Writers from California
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Chris Colfer

Chris Colfer
At a book signing in August 2013
Born Christopher Paul Colfer
(1990-05-27) May 27, 1990 [1]
Clovis, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, singer, producer, screenwriter and author
Years active 1999–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 1
  • Career 2
    • Beginnings 2.1
    • Glee 2.2
    • The Land of Stories 2.3
    • Other works 2.4
  • Personal life 3
    • Philanthropy 3.1
    • Politics 3.2
  • Artistry 4
    • Influences 4.1
  • Filmography 5
    • Film 5.1
    • Television 5.2
  • Bibliography 6
  • Awards and nominations 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10

Early life and education

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.[11] 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.[12] 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."[13]

Colfer was bullied so severely in middle school that he needed to be home schooled for half of 7th grade and 8th grade.[14] The next year, Colfer began attending FFA, "was president of the Writer's Club, editor of the school's literary magazine, and captain of Destination ImagiNation".[15] 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.[16] 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.[17][18] His grandmother, a minister, let him sing the song in her church.[17]



The first show he was involved in with community theater was West Side Story.[19] 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.[20] Colfer’s resemblance to the Kurt von Trapp character later served as inspiration for the name of his Glee character.[21]

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.[20] The show's creator, Ryan Murphy, was so impressed with Colfer that he created the role of Kurt specifically for him,[22] 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.[23]

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."[18]

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[24] 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."[25] 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.[26] 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.

At the Time 100 Gala, April 2011

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.[27][28] 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.[29][30]

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.[31]

Following the success of the first two books, Colfer contracted for an additional three books with Little, Brown: two novels and a picture book.[32]

The third book in the series, The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning, was released on July 8, 2014.[33] Now considered a series, it reached #4 on the The New York Times Best Seller list and spent four weeks on the list.[34]

Colfer's fourth novel, The Land of Stories: Beyond the Kingdoms, was released on July 7, 2015.[35] 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.[36][37]

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.[32]

Other works

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.[38]

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.[39] The production was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and broadcast on YouTube to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.[40][41]

Colfer landed a deal with Disney Channel to adapt the book "The Little Leftover Witch" for a television pilot.[42] He also wrote another movie, set in an asylum, which he planned to appear in as a supporting actor.[43] 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.[44] 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.”[45] Vocal recording for the film began on February 1, 2014.[44]

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.[46] 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.’”[47] The title of the episode, which aired on May 6, 2014, is "Old Dog New Tricks".[48]

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.[49] 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.

Personal life

Colfer's younger sister, Hannah, suffers from severe epilepsy,[50] and often experiences over fifty seizures in an hour.[51] 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.[20][52]

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.[53]


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 [54] and participated in the Course of the Force run benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation.[55] In 2014, he participated in a PSA about Let Girls Learn, put out by the U.S. Agency for International Development.[56]

On Hollywood Game Night, hosted by his Glee co-star Jane Lynch, Colfer won $6,000 and donated it to the Make-a-Wish Foundation of America.

Colfer also was a co-chair for the

  • Chris Colfer at

External links

Further reading

  1. ^
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  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
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  14. ^ "'Glee' cast talks of new season, how show changed them", Manila Bulletin, October 10, 2011, Retrieved October 11, 2011.
  15. ^ Chris Colfer on Glee wiki Gleewiki on Retrieved November 14, 2009.
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b Glee’s Chris Colfer Reveals Real-Life Story Behind Kurt’s Diva Moment People, November 12, 2009.
  18. ^ a b
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  20. ^ a b c Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 2012
  21. ^
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  24. ^ Chris Colfer Emmy Nominated
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  28. ^ Amazon
  29. ^ New York Times, New York Times Best Sellers August 5, 2012. Accessed February 19, 2013.
  30. ^
  31. ^ New York Times
  32. ^ a b
  33. ^ A Grimm Warning
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  35. ^ [1]
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  42. ^ Tim Stack, "Glee star Chris Colfer discusses his new pilot for Disney and Kurt's return to McKinley – EXCLUSIVE",, April 22, 2011.
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  44. ^ a b
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  50. ^ Chris and Hannah Dealing with Severe Epilepsy. Success Circuit, April 16, 2012.
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  59. ^,,20586583,00.html
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Year Award Category Work Result
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

Awards and nominations


Year Title Role Notes
2009–2015 Glee Kurt Hummel Main role; 116 episodes
Also writer on "Old Dog, New Tricks"
2009-2010 Entertainment Tonight Himself
2011 The Cleveland Show Kurt Hummel Voice
2012 The Glee Project Himself Guest mentor
2012 Saturday Night Live Himself
2012-2014 The Talk 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


Year Title Role Notes
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 8 Ryan Kendall
2012 Struck by Lightning Carson Phillips Also writer and executive producer
2015 Noel Young Noël Coward
2016 Ab Fab: The Movie Filming


At Comic Con, July 2010


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.



ABC News reported that Colfer was among the celebrities who donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2015. Colfer donated $5,400, maxing out for both the primary and general election cycle.[71]


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.[69] Through June 30, 965 T-shirts were sold on, with 100 percent of the profits going to First Book.[70]

Colfer also has contributed drawings to Doodle 4 NF in the past, including in 2013 [64] [65] and 2015.[66] [67] Doodle 4 NF is an annual fundraiser for the Neurofibromatosis Network.[68]

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

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. [61] In the past, he also has tweeted support for the Adopt the Arts Foundation's effort to Save the Arts, [62] as well as talked about the importance of the arts in education. [63]

He is outspoken about the importance of adopting animals from shelters.[59] 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.[60]

[58] He served on the host committee for Uprising of Love: A Benefit Concert for Global Equality.[57]

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