Christopher Paul “Chris” Colfer (born May 27, 1990) is an American actor, singer, author and producer. He is best known for his portrayal of Kurt Hummel on the television series Glee. Colfer’s portrayal of Kurt has received much critical praise, and 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.
He has also garnered many award nominations, which include the 2010 and 2011 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. In April 2011, Colfer was named one of the 2011 Time 100, Time’s list of the 100 most influential people. He 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.
Chris 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.