Today is the birthday of American actor and singer CHRIS COLFER. He’s best known for his portrayal of Kurt Hummel on Glee. 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 as a flamboyant singer who is bullied by the school football team. Kurt Hummel was created especially for Colfer and the show’s creator, Ryan Murphy, had to scrap another planned character called “Rajish” so they could add Hummel. Colfer has explained that Hummel “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.”

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.” 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.

Colfer is out Gay and shared on Access Hollywood that his parents were accepting of him but he was frequently bullied at school. He originally auditioned for the role of Artie with the song “Mr. Cellophane” but Kevin McHale was selected for the role. However, the casting directors were so impressed by Colfer that they wrote the Kurt Hummel character into the show as a vehicle for him. Colfer commented on his casting, “It’s good to have something positive, especially for kids in small towns, like myself, who need a little pick-me-up.” Kurt Hummel has gone on to become an audience favorite.

In April of 2013, TIME Magazine named Colfer one of the “100 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN THE WORLD” noting: “Chris…lives by extreme truth, speaking out against the epidemic of bullying that he, too, faced in high school. The honesty that he in­fuses into his “Glee” character, Kurt, leaves you reeling.”