Christopher Paul “Chris” Colfer (born May 27, 1990) 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 and three consecutive People’s Choice Awards for Favorite Comedic TV Actor in 2013, 2014 and 2015. 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.
Colfer 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.
Colfer’s younger sister, Hannah, suffers from severe epilepsy, and often experiences over fifty seizures in an hour. 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.
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.
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 and participated in the Course of the Force run benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In 2014, he participated in a PSA about Let Girls Learn, put out by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
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 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. He served on the host committee for Uprising of Love: A Benefit Concert for Global Equality.
He is outspoken about the importance of adopting animals from shelters. 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.
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. In the past, he also has tweeted support for the Adopt the Arts Foundation’s effort to Save the Arts, as well as talked about the importance of the arts in education.
On November 20, 2014, Colfer made an announcement on Twitter, encouraging fans to support Heifer International and help families out of poverty.
Colfer also has contributed drawings to Doodle 4 NF in the past, including in 2013 and 2015. Doodle 4 NF is an annual fundraiser for the Neurofibromatosis Network.
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. Through June 30, 965 T-shirts were sold on Represent.com, with 100 percent of the profits going to First Book.