Sean Hayes

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Sean Hayes


Sean Patrick Hayes (born June 26, 1970) is an American actor, comedian, and producer. He is best known for his role as Jack McFarland on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace, for which he won an Emmy Award, four SAG Awards, and one American Comedy Award, and earned six Golden Globe nominations.[1]


Early Life


Hayes was born in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, the son of Mary, the director of a non-profit food bank, and Ronald Hayes, a lithographer.[2] He is of Irish descent and was raised as a Roman Catholic. His father left when Hayes was five years old, and he and his siblings were raised by their mother.[3] After graduating from Glenbard West High School, Hayes attended Illinois State University, where he studied piano performance and conducting with a special focus on the music of Mozart. He left before graduating.

Hayes worked as a classical pianist, and served as a music director at the Pheasant Run Theater in St. Charles, Illinois. He also composed original music for a production of Antigone at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. He moved to Los Angeles in 1995, where he found work as a stand-up comedian and actor on stage and television, including a 1998 commercial for Doritos which aired during Super Bowl XXXII.



As a teenager, Hayes was an extra in the film Lucas (1986), which was filmed at his high school. He made his professional debut in the independent film Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss (1998), which brought him wide attention. the same year, he was cast as Jack McFarland, a flamboyantly gay and frequently unemployed actor, in the NBC comedy series Will & Grace. The show became a long-running hit and Hayes’ performance earned him seven consecutive Emmy Award nominations as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He won the award for his first nomination.[1] He was also nominated for six Golden Globe Awards for his performance.

Hayes also made film appearances in Cats & Dogs (2001), as Jerry Lewis in Martin and Lewis (2002), Wayne in Pieces of April (2003), The Cat in the Hat (2003), and Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! (2004). He was also the voice of Brain in the 2008 film Igor, and has guest starred in television shows such as Scrubs and 30 Rock. In 2005, he was executive producer for Bravo’s Situation: Comedy, a reality television series about sitcoms. He also executive produced The Sperm Donor and Stephen’s Life, the two winning scripts that were chosen by NBC. He guest-starred in 2006 in the Adult Swim cameo-filled show Tom Goes to the Mayor. Hayes has created his own production company, Hazy Mills Productions, with Todd Milliner, his producing partner from college.[4]

Hayes appeared as Matthew / Thomas in the film The Bucket List (2007). On July 5, 2008, he made his New York stage debut as Mr. Applegate / Devil in New York City Center’s Encores! production of Damn Yankees. He also appeared as Mr. Hank Hummerfloob and the voice of “The Fish” in The Cat in the Hat. In a 2008 New York Times interview, Hayes talked about a television project, BiCoastal, about “a guy with a wife and kids in California and a boyfriend in New York” for Showtime.[5][6][7] He made his Broadway debut in the April 2010 Broadway revival of the musical Promises, Promises. He received a nomination for the Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance, and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

Hayes was host of the 64th Annual Tony Awards on June 13, 2010 on CBS.[8] In 2010, he reprised the role of Mr. Tinkles, the evil white Persian cat, in Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. On November 15, 2010, he appeared in a satirical PSA for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He played Larry Fine in the film The Three Stooges (2012).[9] He is co-executive producer of the TV Land original comedy series Hot in Cleveland, which premiered in June 2010.[10] He is also a co-executive producer of the NBC series Grimm,[11] as well as creator and executive producer on another NBC series, Hollywood Game Night.[12]

Aware that his role in Will & Grace “wouldn’t go on forever”, Hayes teamed up with his friend Todd Milliner in 2004 to create the television production company Hazy Mills Productions.[13][14][15] The company has produced multiple American television series, including Hot in Cleveland, Grimm, The Soul Man, Hollywood Game Night and Sean Saves the World.[15]


Personal Life


Hayes refused to discuss his sexual orientation for many years, saying he believed that audiences would therefore be more open-minded about his characters.[16] In a 2010 interview with The Advocate, he appeared to imply that he is gay, stating: “Really? You’re gonna shoot the gay guy down? I never have had a problem saying who I am. I am who I am.” He also indicated that he was in a relationship. He states that he feels like he has “contributed monumentally to the success of the gay movement in America, and if anyone wants to argue that, I’m open to it”.[17] He received an honorary PhD from Illinois State University in February 2013.[18] In November 2014 Hayes announced that he and Scott Icenogle, his partner of eight years, had gotten married.[19]






Year Title Role Notes
2008 Damn Yankees Applegate
2010 Promises, Promises Chuck Baxter Nominated — Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
2015/6 Act of God God National Tour / Broadway




Year Title Role Notes
1996 A&P Sammy
1998 Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss Billy Collier
2000 Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins Brain Pod #13 Voice
2001 Cats & Dogs Mr. Tinkles Voice
2002 Martin and Lewis Jerry Lewis Television film
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2003 Pieces of April Wayne
2003 The Cat in the Hat Mr. Hank Humberfloob/The Fish
2004 Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! Richard Levy
2005 Roberto the Insect Architect Narrator
2006 Will & Grace: Say Goodnight Gracie Jack McFarland Television film
2007 The Bucket List Matthew
2008 Man Stroke Woman Various
2008 Soul Men Danny Epstein
2008 Igor Brain Voice
2010 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Mr. Tinkles Voice
2012 The Three Stooges Larry Fine
2012 Hit and Run Sandy Osterman
2013 Monsters University Terri Perry Voice




Year Title Role Notes
1996 Silk Stalkings Roger Episode: “Services Rendered”
1998–2006 Will & Grace Jack McFarland 188 episodes
American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Male in a Television Series
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series (2002–2003, 2006)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Nominated – American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Male in a Television Series
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2000–2005)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (2001–2006)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series (2004–2005)
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2002–2005)
Nominated – Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy (1999–2000)
Nominated – Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series
2001 Scrubs Nick Murdoch Episode: “My Super Ego”
2001 Saturday Night Live Himself Episode “Sean Hayes/Shaggy”
2006 Tom Goes to the Mayor Tour Guide Episode: “Bass Fest”
2006 Lovespring International Victor Episode: “A Rear Window”
2006–2007 Campus Ladies Marshall 2 episodes
2007 30 Rock Jesse Parcell Episode: “Hiatus”
2010 64th Tony Awards Host
2011 Hot in Cleveland Chad Episode: “One Thing or a Mother”
2011-present Grimm Executive producer
2012 Portlandia Sean Episode: “Cops Redesign”
2012 Parks and Recreation Buddy Wood Episode: “Lucky”
2012 Up All Night Walter 4 episodes
2013 Smash Terrence Falls 3 episodes
2013 American Dad! Foster Voice
Episode: “Lost in Space”
2013–2014 Sean Saves the World Sean Harrison 15 episodes
2013–present Hollywood Game Night Himself Creator, executive producer
2014–present The Millers Kip Finkle Beginning Season 2; Series Regular




  1. Stated in interview on Inside the Actors Studio.
  2. “Sean Hayes Biography”. filmreference. 2008. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  3. William Keck (December 27, 2000). “It’s Not Easy Being Jack”. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  4. Staff writers (March 1, 2010). “Development Update: Eigh Days a Week (The CW, New!)”. The Futon Critic. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  5. “New deal for CBS swinger,” Hollywood Reporter, September 4, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  6. “”Swingtown” producer & Sean Hayes to bring us “Bi-Coastal” drama,”, September 5, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  7. Celia McGee (July 6, 2008). “Selling His Soul for the Part”. The New York Times. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  8. Gina DiNunno (May 24, 2010). “Sean Hayes to Host the Tonys”. TVGuide. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  9. “Filming at 5 Points Sports Building – Downtown Atlanta/Fairlie Poplar District”. April 28, 2011. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  10. HazyMills Productions at
  11. Ausiello, Michael (January 28, 2011). “NBC Orders Brothers Grimm-Themed Drama From Buffy Scribe”. TVLine. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  12. Kondology, Amanda (December 18, 2012). “NBC Announces Bold New Game Show ‘Hollywood Game Night’”. TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  13. “The Company”. Hazy Mills Productions. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  14. Byrne, Bridget (July 21, 2006). “Oh curses, it’s hard: ‘Will & Grace’ stars try to beat odds”. The Free Lance – Star. Associated Press. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  15. Rose, Lacey. “When Did Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner Take Over TV?”. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  16. Sean Hayes (April 29, 2010). Will And Grace’ Star Sean Hayes Steps To Broadway (audio/transcript). Interview with Terry Gross. Fresh Air. NPR / WHYY. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  17. Ari Karpel (April 2010). “Sean Hayes: I Am Who I Am”. The Advocate. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  18. Sobota, Lenore (2013-02-21). “Actor Sean Hayes, former Fairleigh Dickinson president receive honorary degrees”. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  19. Cavan Sieczkowski (November 2014). “Sean Hayes Marries Longtime Partner Scott Icenogle”. The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 20, 2014.


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