A native of Missoula, MT, who came of age in Albuquerque, Jesse Tyler Ferguson first cut his dramatic chops on the American stage, delivering fluid performances in such on and off-Broadway productions as On the Town, The 25th Annual Puttnam County Spelling Bee, Little Fish, and Hair. Ferguson moved into filmed work as early as 2000, with a bit part in the made-for-television opus Sally Hemings: An American Scandal, and appeared on the British situation comedy Absolutely Fabulous, before making his mark as a regular on two series: The Class (2006), as Richie Velch, a former "nerd" thrust back into a social situation with various members of his third-grade class during adulthood; and Do Not Disturb, as a housekeeper at a Manhattan hotel more preoccupied with strife at home than with sticking to the requirements of his daily grind.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Worked in an amusement park as a teen.
- In 1998, he made his Broadway debut as one of the leads in a revival of On the Town.
- Originated the role of Leaf Coneybear in the Tony-nominated 2005 musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
- Made TV breakthrough in the sitcom The Class which won the 2007 People's Choice Award for Favorite New TV Comedy.
- In 2012, appeared in the play 8, which focused on California's gay-marriage ban.
- The gay actor, whose Modern Family character is also gay, had a publicized clash in 2012 with former Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron after Cameron slammed gay marriage in a TV interview; Ferguson subsequently said, "I had a crush on Kirk Cameron until about 24 hours ago." (Cameron, while sticking with his opposition to gay marriage, later apologized for any hurt feelings.)