Who Is Matthew Gray Gubler?
Matthew Gray Gubler was discovered by a modeling agent and soon became a top male model for high-end fashion designers. After an internship with director Wes Anderson, Gubler was cast as a genius FBI agent on the hit show Criminal Minds. Gubler also appeared in (500 Days) of Summer.
Gubler was born on March 9, 1980, in Las Vegas, Nevada. His father, John Gubler, is an attorney, and his mother, Marilyn Kelch Gubler, is a rancher, political consultant, and former chair of the Nevada Republican Party. Gubler attended the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts and majored in drama. However, he says that he had no intention of becoming an actor — he merely thought that theater class was fun and that acting might help him develop public speaking skills that would be useful in another career. "My friends and I joked that our major at the academy was Acting Not As an Occupation 101," he remembered. "I thought it would help me become a lawyer or something, help me speak in public. That's how I looked at that school."
Despite his initial ambivalence, Gubler excelled at acting and starred in many plays at the prestigious school. "I was in Picnic at the academy, and The Importance of Being Earnest, and I also got to play The Cat in the Hat and The Mad Hatter, two of my favorite fictional psychopaths," Gubler recalled. "Those were fun shows. I miss those. I wish I could go back." Nevertheless, he still never imagined acting as a profession. He said, "I never thought I'd be making a living off of acting—it's still kind of a shock for my family and friends to see my face on TV every Wednesday night."
After graduating from the Las Vegas Academy in 1998, Gubler enrolled at the University of California at Santa Cruz. However, he soon transferred to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts to study filmmaking and directing. He graduated in 2002 and almost immediately after was spotted walking down the street by a modeling agent who stopped him and asked if he was interested in pursuing a modeling career. According to Gubler, who does not consider himself especially good looking, the agent saw potential in him only because at that time "emaciated weirdos who look like Muppets" were in vogue as male models. Nevertheless, over the next two years Gubler quickly became one of the most sought-after male models in New York City. He appeared in print ads and runway shows for such prestigious fashion designers as Marc Jacobs, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger, Sisley and Kate Spade.
In spite of his highly successful modeling career, Gubler never gave up on making films. In 2004, while continuing to work as a model, he took an internship with screenwriter and director Anderson. As a reward for his hard work, Anderson cast Gubler as Intern #1 in his 2004 film The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, starring Bill Murray and Owen Wilson.
Almost immediately after, Gubler landed the role of Dr. Spencer Reid — a genius FBI agent who holds three Ph.D. degrees despite being only in his mid-20s — on the Criminal Minds. Considered too dark to achieve mainstream popularity and with the same time slot as the immensely popular Lost, many commentators initially pegged Criminal Minds as a losing enterprise. "Everyone was like, 'Oh, don't even unpack your bags,'" Gubler remembered people telling him. "You're going to be canceled in a week and a half." However, by 2006 Criminal Minds had become one of the most watched shows on television and was regularly beating Lost in the ratings. According to Gubler, the show's success lies in its ability to tap into the powerful emotion of fear. "Our stories are very dark — really frightening," he says. "And people love it." Gubler even directed some episodes.
In addition to Criminal Minds, Gubler also has a number of movie credits. He played the voice of Simon in the animated 2007 film Alvin and the Chipmunks and its 2009 sequel, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. In 2008, he appeared with John Malkovich in The Great Buck Howard, and a year later he landed his most visible film role to date in the popular and critically acclaimed comedy (500) Days of Summer. Besides acting, Gubler also writes and directs short "mockumentaries," which can be seen on YouTube. "Sadly, I focus more attention, I think, on those fake documentaries than on the actual show," he admitted.
Gubler wrote and illustrated the New York Times bestseller Rumple Buttercup: A Story of Bananas, Belonging and Being Yourself, released on April 2, 2019.
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