Darren Everett Criss, born February 5, 1987, is an American singer-songwriter and actor. He rose to fame portraying Harry Potter in the fanmade hit musicals A Very Potter Musical, A Very Potter Sequel and A Very Potter 3D: A Very Potter Senior Year.

He portrayed the character of Blaine Anderson on the Fox TV show Glee, an openly gay student who transfers from Dalton Academy to William McKinley High School to be with his now husband, Kurt Hummel.

Personal life

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Young Darren

Criss was born in San Francisco, California, the youngest son of Cerina (née Bru) and Charles William Criss, a banker and a former director of the San Francisco Opera, the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the Stern Grove Festival, and San Francisco Performances. Criss is Eurasian; his mother was born in the Cebu, Philippines, and is of Chinese, Spanish, and Filipino descent, while his father, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is of Irish descent. He has an older brother named Charles "Chuck" Criss (born April 15, 1985), a musician and member of the indie rock band Freelance Whales.

In 1988, the Criss family relocated to Honolulu, Hawaii, where Criss's father started the East West Bank, serving as Chairman and CEO. They lived there until their return to San Francisco in 1992. At the age of five, Criss began taking violin lessons and continued his classical training up through university. He eventually became a multi-instrumentalist, mastering the guitar, piano, cello, mandolin, harmonica, and drums. Criss attended private schools in San Francisco. He completed his elementary education at Stuart Hall for Boys, and later graduated from Saint Ignatius College Preparatory in 2005.

On January 19, 2018, Criss announced on Twitter, that he and longtime girlfriend Mia Swier got engaged. They got married on February 16, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. They also have a piano bar together in LA, called Tramp Stamp Granny's.


Darren Criss first decided he wanted to be an actor when he watched Aladdin and decided he wanted to be a genie. He realized that the genie was played by Robin Williams - an actor, and that's when he decided he wanted to be one himself.


Darren played Mauro in the Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim musical Do I Hear a Waltz?

On the Web/Local Theater

That Media Show

Darren was the original host of That Media Show, a San Francisco short-form web series which discussed Hollywood, filmmaking and visual effects (early episodes are available on iTunes).

Little White Lie

Though often considered a StarKid production, 'Little White Lie' was a webseries Criss was part of two years before Team StarKid was formed. Many of the Team Starkid members are in it. Criss played Tanya Freemont's (Lauren Lopez) love interests on the show, Toby Phillips.

StarKid Productions

Criss is a major actor in the theater production group Team Starkid, formed by musical theater students at the University of Michigan. His most popular role with Starkid was Harry Potter in both A Very Potter Musical (which went viral in the summer of 2009) and A Very Potter Sequel (which premiered in May 2010). He is credited with writing half of the songs in A Very Potter Musical and all of the songs in A Very Potter Sequel. The popularity of the musical gained Darren many fans within the Harry Potter fandom.
A Very Potter Musical Act 1 Part 1

A Very Potter Musical Act 1 Part 1

Criss in "A Very Potter Musical" as Harry Potter

250px-Darren Criss
In the fall of 2009, Starkid created an original musical entitled Me and My Dick He was originally cast as one of the main protagonists, Dick, but he was a recurring role in TV series Eastwick during the show rehearsal, so Joe Walker was chosen instead to play the role of Dick. In spite of his involvement in the TV Series, he wrote a few songs and played guitar in the band for the musical.

Darren wrote the music for the StarKid production Starship, an original musical about "a far off world inhabited by a race of giant alien insects" and Bug, who "has never quite fit into bug-society and inside the pus-vesicles that serve as his heart longs for something more." The show was performed live from February 11 to the 23rd at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre in Chicago. It premiered on YouTube on April 30, 2011.

Many StarKid fans are possessive of Darren because they claim to have discovered him before Glee, something that Darren himself has acknowledged, but he says that his fans are the reason he is where he is right now, and he doesn't want to distinguish them as StarKid or Glee fans.

Darren and Starkid also performed A Very Potter Senior Year at LeakyCon 2012. They hosted the first and only presentation of it during "A Very StarKid Event II" which took place from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm on August 11, 2012. It was posted online on March 15, 2013. Source They had minimum time to rehearse for A Very Potter Senior Year due to Darren's busy Glee schedule, so they performed with their scripts.

Darren Criss uses his voice for the Funny Or Die sensation Life Of Leopold. He is the voice of the title character Leopold Bonar. The pilot and Parts 1 through 5 have been released so far. Life of Leopold


His music career includes his first self-produced EP "Human," which was released during the summer of 2010, and includes five songs. The album is available for download on iTunes.

Songs are:

  1. Human
  2. Sami
  3. Jealousy
  4. Don't You
  5. Not Alone

He started plans for a full-length album before he was hired for Glee, and has plans to do so in the near future. He has many other original songs, and performs regularly at various venues in Los Angeles. He is also featured in Charlene Kaye's songs "Skin and Bones" and "Dress and Tie," and her music video for "Magnolia Wine."

He has also written and performed several times his original song Stutter and other songs written for Starkid productions.
Darren Criss Days of Summer Teenage Dream - 6 30 13 Silver Spring

Darren Criss Days of Summer Teenage Dream - 6 30 13 Silver Spring

Darren Criss -- Listen Up! Encore

The date of release for Criss's first full length album has yet to be determined, although it might feature songs premiered on his sold out 16-city United States 2013 summer tour (Listen Up!) which took place from May 29 to June 30.


Darren played Josh Burton, a minor recurring character and possible love interest for Mia, on ABC's short-lived drama, Eastwick. He also appeared on an episode of Cold Case, "Free Love" as the '69 version of Reuben Harris.

He appeared on FOX's Glee between 2010 and 2015.

Criss was announced that he would guest star in FX's American Horror Story: Hotel in the usual AHS Halloween two-parter in August 2015.[1] He would guest star in the second part as a hipster (Justin) that October in "Room Service", and subsequently briefly the following episode "Room 33".

In 2017 it was announced that Criss would star as real-life spree killer Andrew Cunanan in the second installment of FX's American Crime Story, The Assassination of Gianni Versace. [2]. The series aired from January 17 to March 21, 2018, to critical acclaim.[3] On July 12, 2018, Criss was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, and won the award at the Primetime Emmy broadcast on September 17, 2018, beating out Benedict Cumberbatch, John Legend, Antonio Banderas, Jesse Plemons, and Jeff Bridges.[4]


Darren made his Broadway debut on January 3, 2012, in a three week stint in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying as lead character J. Pierrepont Finch. He took over the role from Daniel Radcliffe who originated the role in this revival of the classic show. Rehearsal for the show took place during the Glee winter hiatus, and Darren was given a three week break from production for the performance. He's playing Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch for 12 weeks starting in April 29th, 2015 until July 19th, 2015.


Darren filmed the movie Imogene during the early portion of filming the third season of Glee. He plays the character Lee opposite the film's star, Kristen Wiig's Imogene. The film also stars Annette Bening and Matt Dillon. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Imogene was released under the title Girl Most Likely on July 19, 2013.

He's going to star in the romance comedy film "Smitten!"

Music Videos

In 2014, Darren appeared with Jessica Szohr in the music video for Already Home by A Great Big World.

He also appears in Katy Perry's music video - Last Friday Night along with his Glee co-star Kevin McHale.

In 2013, Darren appeared in Capital Cites' music video - Kangaroo Court in the role of the High Rolling Bulldog - The owner of the Kangaroo Court.


Criss auditioned for Glee a couple of times, including an audition for Finn (with a cover of The Little Mermaid's "Part of Your World"), before landing the character of Blaine, a student at a rival school. He cut his curly hair when he auditioned for Blaine.

Blaine is an "out-and-proud student" and serves as a mentor to Kurt as he struggles through being bullied at McKinley. It was rumored his character would be a love interest for Kurt Hummel, and this has now become fact in the episode Original Song when Kurt and Blaine began a relationship. Glee creator Ryan Murphy stated, "Darren has a major, major arc... He sort of becomes Kurt's mentor and then maybe love- he had to leave his own school because of bullying and goes to an all-boys academy and finds acceptance because that school has a no-bullying, zero-tolerance policy. Kurt really admires and respects Blaine. He plays someone who's one year older than Chris' character, so he's the old pro." Although in the third season episodes he has been recognized as a junior in high school, a year behind Kurt.

Darren's first song on Glee (which was arranged and backed by Tufts University's Beelzebubs), Teenage Dream, hit number 8 on the Billboard charts, selling 214,000 singles in its first week. It surpassed "Don't Stop Believin'" for the highest first-week sales of any Glee song. The show's rendition of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" landed at #2 last May when it sold 177,000 copies. Source Many of his other songs sung in later episodes also reached the top ten on iTunes.


Year Title Role Notes
2005 I Adora You Josh short
2009 Walker Phillips Elliott
Clowns on Earth
2010 Eastwick Josh Burton (5 episodes)
Little White Lie Toby Phillips
2010 Cold Case Reuben Harris '69 ("Free Love")
Glee Blaine Anderson 2010 - 2015
2012 Girl Most Likely Lee
The Cleveland Show Hunter voice ("Jesus Walks")
2013 Web Therapy Augie Sayles
2014 Transformers: Robots in Disguise Sideswipe 2014 - 2017 (63 episodes)
2015 American Horror Story Justin ("Room Service" and "Room 33")
2017 The Flash Music Meister ("Duet")
Supergirl "Star-Crossed")
2018 All You Ever Wished For Tyler Hutton
American Crime Story Andrew Cunanan (9 episodes)
2019 Midway Eugene Lindsey
Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Raphael voice
2020 Royalties Pierce
Hollywood Raymond Ainsley Netflix Original Series (6 episodes)

Links and Social Networks


  • His trademark accessory is his hot pink sunglasses.
  • He went to a college-preparatory high school.
  • He is a tenor. (Source)
  • Darren can play the piano, guitar, digeridoo, panflute, violin, cello, harp, drums, mandolin, ukulele, kazoo and harmonica.
  • Darren can speak many languages, such as Italian (Video), which was his major in college, and some Japanese (was his elective language in college), German, Portuguese and French (his three European Language electives at the University of Michigan) and Filipino (specifically, Cebuano) since he's Half-Filipino.
  • He notoriously forgets the lyrics to his own songs.
  • He says he "swears like a sailor."
  • He claims that he can't cook very well, and pretty much lives on Hot Pockets and takeout.
  • He describes himself as a ho-hum random guy, and 'not just some floozy'.
  • He considers himself to be an actor who attempts to sing, as his degree is in acting.
  • Before starting on Glee, he sang his own renditions of some Disney songs at a Maggiano's restaurant every Thursday
  • He originally auditioned for the role of Finn Hudson on Glee.
  • Darren has a "cool crush" on co-star Heather Morris.
  • He's close to Chord Overstreet, Lea Michele and Harry Shum Jr..
  • He was the first mentor on The Glee Project and guest starred in the episodes Individuality and Pairability.
  • Darren cut his hair before his audition for Blaine Anderson on Glee, in order to look more the part of a dapper school-boy. He admits that he would have never admitted to cutting his hair for an audition had he not gotten the part.
  • He hates the hair gel they use on him.
  • He won a Teen Choice Award for Breakout TV Star in 2011.
  • The Glee cast voted him as the Biggest Nerd alongside with Harry Shum Jr.
  • In the episode "Blame It On the Alcohol" Blaine says to Kurt "Best Party Ever!" and in Katy Perry's music video for "Last Friday Night" his character Aaron Christopher says to Katy "Best Party Ever!"
  • He wrote his first song, Human, when he was fifteen.
  • He wrote every song for Team Starkid's 'A Very Potter Sequel' and Starship. He co-wrote with AJ Holmes on A Very Potter Musical.
  • He had a small cameo role in Katy Perry's Last Friday Night music video, playing a character named Aaron Christopher (a parody of his own name) along with fellow Glee co-star Kevin McHale. Video
  • He guest starred in the animated show "The Cleveland Show" as Hunter, a Jewish teen pretending to be a Christian.
  • He hosted the 13th annual Audience Choice awards.
  • Subsequently, he won the "Favorite Replacement Award" for his role as J. Pierrepont Finch.
  • Has sang for US President Barack Obama and guests at Obama's LGBT Fundraiser in Beverley Hills in June 2012, this was originally supposed to be pop singer, P!nk's event but she had to drop out.
  • He is the second member of the cast to sing for the president, the first being Amber Riley.
  • His first most surreal moment since becoming a Hollywood star is when he was being introduced to Mariah Carey by Whitney Houston.
  • Darren Criss was one of People Magazine's Sexiest Men Alive in 2011.
  • He topped the AfterElton Hot list 2 years in a row in the #1 spot.
  • He was number 69 on BuddyTV's 100 Sexiest Men of 2012. 
  • He is a fan of Conan and it was a dream come true when he was able to have an interview with him. Source
  • Darren co-starred with Mae Whitman in 3 episodes of Lisa Kudrow's web series, "Web Therapy."  
  • He co-hosted the 2013 Teen Choice Awards with Lucy Hale. 
  • He hosted the 2014 NewNowNext Awards. 
  • He was nominated for the 2014 Peoples Choice Awards three times: For Blam, Klaine, and for himself as actor.
  • He played a role in the music video of Kangaroo Court by Capital Cities. His character was the bulldog.
  • He is the voice actor for Jann Lee in the video game Dead or Alive: Dimensions. He also voices a Studio Ghibli movie for the second time when he provides the voice of Sutemaru in "The Tale of Princess Kaguya", Micro in the animated movie "Stan Lee's Mighty 7" and Sideswipe in the upcoming "Transformers: Robots In Disguise" animated TV series.
  • He wrote the songs Rise and This Time in Glee.
  • He claimed that Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch is his dream role.
  • He is the fifth Glee guest-star to appear on American Horror Story, dubbed "Hotel". He is proceed by Tanya Clarke, Neil Patrick Harris, Cheyenne Jackson, Matt Bomer and followed by Jacob Artist.
  • He is also the fifth Glee actor to make an appearance on Supergirl. The others are Melissa Benoist, Blake Jenner, Peter Facinelli and Grant Gustin.


People fall in love with a person, not a gender.

—Darren Criss

If you are not insecure as a teenager, then you are not a human being – which has not to say if you’re confident that you are inhuman. We all have insecurities.

—Darren Criss

I'm kinda on cloud nine, actually I'd say cloud ten. Cloud nine was old news.

—Darren Criss

I'm not just some floozy!

—Darren Criss

I was born a while ago...Now I'm here. Pretty cool.

—Darren Criss

The cool thing about music is no one can take music away from you. You know, if you play the kazoo, no one's gonna be like, unless you're hanging with really terrible people, like take your kazoo and be like 'You can't play that anymore'.

—Darren Criss

There's been a terrible mistake. Someone really screwed up and let my nutty a** in here.

—Darren Criss, at the Deathly Hallows premiere

When I look back on Glee and on this album, it’s like I was offered to live in a golden marshmallow house in the sky. It’s like, ‘Sure! I’ll take it!’ I never thought that it would ever happen, that I would get a magical marshmallow castle in the sky, but my God, thank you.

—Darren Criss

"Hi, I’m Darren. I like beaches, sushi, and small animals who are nice.

-Darren Criss

There's nothing more badass than being who you are.

—Darren Criss

If I wear gold shorts, can I look like you, Chord Overstreet?

—Darren Criss

That which makes you different is what make you strong. Whether you're gay, straight, orange, purple, dinosaur, I don't care.

—Darren Criss

No one's tried to stab me. That's cool. I enjoy not being stabbed.

—Darren Criss

At the end of the day, I'm a fanboy.

—Darren Criss

My big… sorta… hobbit hair, you could’ve found certain species that could cure cancer in there.

—Darren Criss

The Kardashians have a book? What the f*ck?

—Darren Criss

This is the most crazy romantic thing I've ever done in my life, this is going to be amazing, we're gonna run off and love each other forever and ever until we DIE!

—Darren Criss

Buy my album because... it's the kind of music you can be friends with. And it's the only way that *pause* aliens won't come to Earth and destroy us. I am sure of this.

—Darren Criss

Be nice people, cause nobody likes an asshole.

—Darren Criss

It looks like a mess! It's like someone went into a room, took a dump, then grabbed a blowtorch and sprayed it all over the wall.

—Darren Criss, on what his songwriting process looks like

I think if I met Dan [Radcliffe] my head would explode, so I think I'll avoid him cause I like my head not exploding.

—Darren Criss

Well with that attitude let's do it! Huzzah!

—Darren Criss

I would be the worst president in the history of the United States... unless you want the apocalypse to happen really soon... then yes, I'll run for president.

—Darren Criss

I'm a bum. I am a bum. Oh my God! You guys are interviewing a bum.

—Darren Criss

More like supermegafoxyawesomehot!

—Darren Criss

Blaine has recently been bitten by a radio-active turtle. Blaine is running off to Argentina to start a zoo. Blaine then is hanging out with Rambo and moves to Mars. Then on Mars they start a glee club. The first intergalactic glee club! And that’s what you missed on GLEE!

—Darren Criss

Stick to your friends, love what you do, love who you are, and just go with that.

—Darren Criss

I was consumed with my love for Chris Colfer.

—Darren Criss

In Glee, there's a lot of amazing things... and they have nothing to do with me. So they can give me anything and I'd be like 'Yay, I get a song!'

—Darren Criss

I was throwing pinecones... pinecones... wake up, ya know?

—Darren Criss

I just hope I can continue to do work that matters to me, I’m not interested in being any kind of superstar or anything I’m not. I’m just a dude who got lucky and an artist who cares about the work that I do.

—Darren Criss

If you're crazy be proud of it because crazy people make me laugh.

—Darren Criss

Geometry is super, super fun, because... I can't, I have to be honest with you: That sucks.

—Darren Criss

You’re already inspirational. Just make sure to share it.

—Darren Criss

Use your creativity to create change.

—Darren Criss

You have resources and you live in a world where you can surround yourself with people who support you.

—Darren Criss

Oh, my God, you guys are witnessing the most extraordinary moment of my life thus far. I'm very privileged to be in this room among so many people who inspire the crap out of me, and I'm so honored to be nominated. A lot of you guys, I've been a fan of for such a long time. Actors are really only as good as the moments they are given and the moments they are granted. So I am profoundly indebted to my friend Ryan Murphy for entrusting me with this opportunity of a lifetime and for believing in me. Ricky, look where we are man. Michael I think you worked harder on this than I did. Mom, Dad, Chuck; unlike the character I played, I was lucky enough to be raised in a home that was very loving and emphasized the value of hard work, compassion and not taking yourself too seriously. You are at the root of why I'm here. And to my darling Mia; you roll the windows down and pump the music up in my life, and I am so thankful for you and I am so lucky to have you. Congratulations to all of you, thank you to the Television Academy, and Go Blue!

—Darren Criss, 2018 Primetime Emmy Award Acceptance Speech



  1. Details on the AHS: Hotel Halloween episodes with Lily Rabe and Darren Criss
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  4. [3]
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