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|Also Known As:||Christopher Paul Colfer||Died:|
|Born:||May 27, 1990||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Clovis, California, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor|
Chris Colfer had an innate gift to entertain. He was pitch-perfect as fashionable soprano Kurt Hummel on "Glee" (Fox, 2009-15), a campy musical comedy series about a struggling show choir and its band of high school outsiders. With a show-stopping voice, the footwork of a Bob Fosse protégé, and a "too cool for high school" demeanor, Colfer turned his bullied gay teen character into a role model for underdogs of any age, gender or sexual persuasion. While it would have been easy to peg Colfer as the next celebrity poster child for homosexual teens dealing with coming out, the soft-spoken and sassy triple threat proved he was simply a confident, self-possessed character who represented anyone on the outside, looking in.
Christopher Paul Colfer was born on May 27, 1990 in Fresno, CA and grew up in nearby Clovis, a small town in the San Joaquin Valley that was more concerned with farming and cowboys than high fashion and show choirs. Colfer's parents, both of whom supported his dream of becoming an entertainer, first noticed his natural born talent after he played Snoopy in a local theater production at the age of eight. He doted on his younger sister Hannah, who was born with a critical illness. Growing up in a conservative town toughened up the future star, yet he never lost his poise, maturity, and individuality. Colfer was involved with many extra-curricular activities and belonged to several clubs at Clovis East High School. He also wrote and directed "Shirley Todd," a spoof of the classic musical "Sweeney Todd." Still, his creativity and love for theater made Colfer an outcast at his high school, where he considered the cafeteria room workers his closest friends.
After signing with an agent in 2003, Colfer and his mother made their regular eight-hour treks to Los Angeles for auditions. After about 30 or so tries over several years, the young star found himself face-to-face with Ryan Murphy, his favorite television writer and creator of the highly stylized and sexually-charged medical drama, "Nip/Tuck" (FX, 2003-2010). Murphy was casting for "Glee," a series about a high school choral group and the struggles of its socially outcast members to fit in, fall in love, and sing their hearts out. Excited and nervous that he was auditioning for his idol, Colfer belted out a rendition of "Mr. Cellophane" from "Chicago" (2002) that he rehearsed with his grandmother. Colfer did not get the role he tried out for - that of the guitar-playing, wheelchair-bound glee club member Artie (Kevin McHale) - but instead was cast as the witty and fashionable member Kurt Hummel (his name was inspired by Kurt Von Trapp from 1965's "The Sound of Music" and Hummel porcelain figurines). Murphy wanted to have a gay character in the series but did not want to exploit the character, so he turned to the young actor to inject his own unique personality. Colfer told The Los Angeles Times he wanted to make Kurt witty and confident rather than overly flamboyant.
"Glee" premiered in the fall of 2009 and was a critical and commercial hit. The music performed by the actors on the show was equally successful, including a cover of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" that charted higher on the Billboard charts than the original 1981 track. In the unforgettable "Preggers" episode that aired in September, Colfer's character came out of the closet to his father (Mike O'Malley), joined the high school football team, and kicked the winning field goal in a crucial game. The episode also featured the actor and his fellow male co-stars in a hilarious dance sequence set to Beyonce's 2008 hit "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)." Colfer came out publicly that same year, sending a message of inspiration to other gay teens and spreading acceptance for the gay community. In his first non-"Glee" project, Colfer had the title role in the short film "Russel Fish: The Sausage and Eggs Incident" (2009). The actor played an awkward teen who must pass a rigorous physical test in gym class in order to get accepted to Harvard.
Meanwhile, "Glee" took off like a shot, becoming a ratings and critical darling for the network. Colfer reaped the benefits after receiving Best Supporting Actor nods in a comedy series from the Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards. He would go on to win the Golden Globe and give a touching speech in 2010. The same week he learned he was nominated for yet another Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy in July 2011, he also learned - via Twitter, no less - that the following season would be his final one on "Glee," with Murphy shockingly announcing Colfer, Cory Monteith and Lea Michele would be "graduating" the following year.
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