Lea Michele

Lea Michele Headshot

Actress • Singer

Birth Name: Lea Michele Sarfati

Birth Date: August 29, 1986

Age: 37 years old

Birth Place: Bronx, New York

Though she gained wide experience in several Broadway musicals, actress Lea Michele became a star thanks to her energetic portrayal of a glee club captain in the critically acclaimed musical drama, "Glee" (Fox, 2009-15). While she captivated audiences with her vocal prowess on the stage, it was the small screen that endeared Michele to millions of fans, thanks to her comic charm - not to mention a rousing rendition of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" - as a high school misfit looking for somewhere to fit in. Prior to her star-making turn on "Glee," she made waves on Broadway as a 19th century adolescent coming to terms with love and sexuality in the controversial musical, "Spring Awakening" (2006), which earned her a Drama Desk Award nomination. With a commanding presence, powerful vocals and uncanny comedic timing, Michele emerged as an endearing talent destined for great things. Born on Aug. 29, 1986 in The Bronx, NY, Michele was raised an only child in Tenafly, NJ by her father, a deli owner, and her mother, a nurse. She began acting as a child, attending Stagedoor Manor, a performance camp that boasted alumnae such as Natalie Portman and Robert Downey, Jr. When she was eight years old, Michele accompanied a friend on an open casting call for a production of "Les Miserables" and won the part as Young Coseette, making her Broadway debut in 1995. Three years later, the actress joined the 1998 original Broadway company of "Ragtime," playing a young Latvian immigrant who travels to America with her widower father. In 2000, Michele made her television debut with a guest starring role on an episode of the paramedic drama, "Third Watch" (NBC, 1999-2005). She returned to the stage in 2004 for a Broadway revival of "Fiddler on the Roof." Michele was only 14 years old when she was cast in a pivotal lead role for the musical "Spring Awakening," from lyricist/author Steven Sater and songwriter Duncan Sheik. The actress originated the role of Wendla Bergmann, a young German discovering her sexuality in a repressed society of the late 19th century. The controversial musical was first performed at workshops and in off-Broadway theaters, but eventually made its way to Broadway in 2006. The show opened with the explosive number, "Mama Who Bore Me," which Michele performed with the fire and guttural passion that was worthy of a seasoned stage performer. Meanwhile, the end of the first act required her to perform a controversial sex scene, which she accepted as being nothing more challenging or risky than any other part of the show. "Spring Awakening" became an instant classic, beloved by critics and theater fans, while winning the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical. For her part, Michele was nominated for Lead Actress in a Musical at the 2007 Drama Desk Awards. After her triumphant performance in "Spring Awakening," Michele left the show in May 2008. She appeared in various touring productions and special events, including a "Les Miserables" concert at the Hollywood Bowl, which held a successful three-night run in August 2008. But it was only a matter of time until Hollywood took notice of the Broadway darling. Her opportunity arrived in 2009 when Michele was cast in the musical comedy series, "Glee," playing Rachel Berry, the determined and put-upon captain of a high school glee club. Michele's character was reminiscent of Reese Witherspoon's hungry-for-glory Tracy Flick in "Election" (1999), but with a wider octave range. Critics praised "Glee" - created by Ryan Murphy of "Nip/Tuck" fame - when the pilot aired in May 2009, while Entertainment Weekly named Michele and co-star Cory Monteith "Summer's Must Songbirds" in its 2009 "Summer Must List" issue. Meanwhile, the actress received a nomination for Breakout Star Female at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards for her role on the critically acclaimed series. Even more importantly, she earned a nod at the Golden Globe Awards for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy. In late 2010, Michele earned both an Emmy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. Michele's tenure on "Glee" continued until the end of the series in 2015, despite the personal toll of the death of her co-star and longtime boyfriend Monteith of a drug overdose in July 2013. After the show's end, Michele starred in Ryan Murphy's campy horror comedy "Scream Queens" (Fox 2015-17), followed by a co-starring role on the political sitcom "The Mayor" (ABC 2017-18) as tightly wound political aide Valentina Barella. During this period, she also released her second solo album, Places, in April 2017.

Credits

Time100

Music Performer
Special
2023

The Daily ShowStream

Guest
Series
2023

Spring AwakeningStream

Self
Movie
2022
100%

CBS Mornings

Guest
News
2021

Hits!: Holiday Pop

Music Performer
Show
2021

The Drew Barrymore ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2020

Juicebox: Santa's List

Music Performer
Show
2020

87th Annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center

Music Performer
Show
2019

The 93rd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Guest
Show
2019

A Little Late With Lilly Singh

Guest
Talk
2019
82%

The Kelly Clarkson ShowStream

Music Performer
Talk
2019

GMA3: Strahan, Sara & Keke

Guest
Show
2019

Lea Michele: Christmas in New York

Music Performer
Show
2019

Same Time, Next Christmas

Actor
Olivia Anderson
Movie
2019

People Features

Actor
Show
2018

Scream Queens: terreur à l'hôpital

Actor
Hester
Show
2018

Disney Parks Magical Christmas Celebration

Music Performer
Show
2017

The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration

Music Performer
Show
2017

The MayorStream

Actor
Valentina Barella
Series
2017
81%

The Mayor: Extras

Actor
Show
2017

Carpool Karaoke: The SeriesStream

Self
Reality
2017

Live with Kelly and Ryan

Guest
Talk
2017

Live with Kelly and Ryan

Music Performer
Talk
2017

Dimension 404Stream

Actor
Series
2017
80%

Lea Michele: Run to You

Music Performer
Show
2017

ChelseaStream

Guest
Talk
2016
41%

The 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards

Actor
Show
2016

Scream QueensStream

Actor
Hester
Series
2015
77%

Scream Queens

Actor
Show
2015

Scream Queens: Extras

Actor
Show
2015

The Late Late Show With James Corden

Guest
Talk
2015

The Late Late Show With James Corden

Music Performer
Talk
2015

Late Night With Seth MeyersStream

Music Performer
Talk
2014

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonStream

Guest
Talk
2014

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonStream

Music Performer
Talk
2014

Lea Michele: On My Way

Music Performer
Show
2014

Lea Michele: Cannonball (In Studio)

Music Performer
Show
2014

Lea Michele: Cannonball

Music Performer
Show
2014

Evolution Of...

Actor
Show
2014

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return

Voice
Dorothy
Movie
2014

You & A

Actor
Show
2013

Bethenny

Guest
Talk
2013

The Social

Guest
Show
2013

Glee: Extras

Actor
Show
2013

Live! With Kelly and Michael

Guest
Talk
2012

LIVE with Kelly

Music Performer
Talk
2011

The Chew

Guest
Talk
2011

Big Morning Buzz Live

Guest
Show
2011

The Marilyn Denis Show

Guest
Show
2011

Glee the Concert Movie

Actor
Rachel
Movie
2011

New Year's Eve

Actor
Elise
Movie
2011

ConanStream

Guest
Talk
2010

The Talk

Guest
Talk
2010

The 64th Annual Tony Awards

Music Performer
Show
2010

Who Do You Think You Are?Stream

Guest Star
Reality
2010

The Cleveland ShowStream

Guest Voice
Rachel Berry
Series
2009

The Dr. Oz Show

Guest
Talk
2009

Watch What Happens Live With Andy CohenStream

Guest
Talk
2009

GleeStream

Actor
Rachel Berry
Series
2009
70%

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

Guest
Talk
2009

The Bonnie Hunt Show

Guest
Talk
2008

Sons of AnarchyStream

Guest Star
Series
2008
87%

Chelsea Lately

Guest
Talk
2007

Rachael Ray ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2006

etalk

Guest
Show
2006

The Insider

Guest
Show
2004

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Guest
Talk
2003

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Host
Talk
2003

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Music Performer
Talk
2003

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

Guest
Talk
2003

American IdolStream

Music Performer
Reality
2003
68%

Live With Regis and Kelly

Guest
Show
2001

The View

Guest
Talk
1997

Access Hollywood

Guest
News
1996

Inside the Actors Studio

Guest
Talk
1994

Late Show With David Letterman

Guest
Talk
1993

The Tonight Show With Jay Leno

Guest
Talk
1992

The SimpsonsStream

Guest Voice
Herself
Series
1989
85%

The Oprah Winfrey ShowStream

Guest
Talk
1986

Entertainment Tonight

Guest
News
1981

Entertainment Tonight

Host
News
1981

Good Morning America

Guest
News
1975

Good Morning America

Music Performer
News
1975

Today

Music Performer
News
1952

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