Born June 26, 1970, in Chicago, Illinois, Sean Hayes is an acclaimed actor and producer who has helped pave the way for more prominent gay characters on prime-time TV. Hayes won a slew of awards for his turn as scene-stealing sidekick Jack McFarland on the hit series Will & Grace. In 2013, he returned to the small screen in a lead role, starring in Sean Saves the World.
Sean Hayes was born to Mary and Ronald Hayes in Chicago, on June 26, 1970. He was raised in a single-parent household for much of his childhood, as his father abandoned the family when the young Hayes was just 5 years old. Humor was a shared family trait, as Hayes and his four older siblings loved to play pranks, such as scaring friends with their mother's prosthetic eye. However, Hayes' creative talents were channeled more into music than comedy during his high school years. After graduation, he went on to study voice and acting at Illinois State University, while working as a classical pianist on the side. Hayes started off his official performing career in Chicago's theater world soon after he honed his skills with the Second City improv troupe, whose alumni include Tina Fey and Steve Carell.
Winning With 'Will & Grace'
In 1995, Hayes headed to Los Angeles to audition for TV and film gigs. He was cast in various commercials and also appeared in the indie film Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss. It was Hayes' portrayal of gay photographer Billy Collier that led to his breakout role on Will & Grace. A casting agent who met Hayes during the movie's screening at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998 suggested he audition for the sitcom. The aspiring actor landed the part of fun-loving, flamboyant Jack McFarland, who often stole the spotlight during the show's eight-year run. He held his own against his comedic co-stars, including Debra Messing, and went on to win an Emmy Award and four Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Playing Producer and More
After Will & Grace wrapped up in 2006, Hayes remained on the small screen in guest roles for such popular programs as 30 Rock, Portlandia and Parks and Recreation. He also took to the Broadway stage for a revival of the musical comedy Promises, Promises with Kristin Chenoweth, which earned him a Tony nod in 2010. Hayes soon went from singing to slapstick, in the 2012 feature film The Three Stooges. This versatile talent has now returned to TV full-time as the lead in Sean Saves the World. The sitcom is a project of Hayes' production company, Hazy Mills, which also launched the series Grimm and Hot in Cleveland.
Hayes has long preferred to keep the spotlight on his career rather than his dating life. However, he finally ended speculation over his sexual orientation during a 2010 magazine interview. "I am who I am. I was never in, as they say," he told The Advocate. Anything else regarding his romantic life is off limits to the press, including details about his longtime relationship with interior designer David Phoenix.
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