Sean Hayes

Sean Patrick Hayes[2] (born June 26, 1970)[1] is an American actor, comedian, singer and producer. He is known for his role as Jack McFarland on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace, for which he won a Primetime Emmy Award, four SAG Awards, and one American Comedy Award, and earned six Golden Globe nominations.[3][4] He also runs a television production company called Hazy Mills Productions, which produces shows such as Grimm, Hot in Cleveland, The Soul Man, and Hollywood Game Night

Sean Hayes
Hayes in 2010
Sean Patrick Hayes

(1970-06-26) June 26, 1970
OccupationActor, comedian, singer, producer
Years active1996–present
Scott Icenogle (m. 2014)

He is known for his film work in movies such as Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss, Cats & Dogs, Pieces of April, The Cat in the Hat, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, The Bucket List, The Three Stooges, and A&P.

He is also known for his work on Broadway such as An Act of God and Promises, Promises, where he played Chuck Baxter and received a nomination for Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. He has hosted the 64th Tony Awards, for which he was awarded a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Program.

Early life

Hayes was born in Chicago, the youngest child of five of Mary Hayes (1939-2018), the director of a non-profit food bank called the Northern Illinois Food Bank,[1][5][6] and Ronald Hayes, a lithographer.[1] He is of Irish descent and was raised as a Roman Catholic in the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, Illinois. His father, an alcoholic, left when Hayes was five years old, and he and his siblings were raised by their mother. He has not spoken to his father in many years.[2][6]

After graduating from Glenbard West High School,[7] Hayes attended Illinois State University,[6] where he studied piano performance.[8] He left "two or three classes short" of graduation when he became music director at the Pheasant Run Theater in St. Charles, Illinois.[8]

Hayes worked as a classical pianist.[9] He practiced improv at The Second City in Chicago.[10] He also composed original music for a production of Antigone at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago.[11] He moved to Los Angeles in 1995,[10] where he found work as a stand-up comedian and an actor on stage and on television, including a commercial for Doritos[10] which aired during Super Bowl XXXII in 1998.


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.[3] 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 (S2E15, "Bass Fest").[12]

Hayes appeared as 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.[2]

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"[2] for Showtime.[13] 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.[14] 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).[15]

Aware that his role in Will & Grace "wouldn't go on forever,"[16] Hayes teamed up with his friend Todd Milliner, whom he met at Illinois State University,[7] to create the television production company Hazy Mills Productions in 2004.[16][17][18][19] The company has produced multiple American television series, including Hot in Cleveland, Grimm, The Soul Man, Hollywood Game Night and Sean Saves the World.[19] Hayes is co-executive producer of the TV Land original comedy series Hot in Cleveland, which premiered in June 2010.[20] He is also a co-executive producer of the NBC series Grimm,[21] as well as creator and executive producer on another NBC series, Hollywood Game Night.[22]

Hayes and his husband, Scott Icenogle, produce lip-sync videos under their YouTube channel, The Kitchen Sync.[23] They lip-synced to songs such as Trouble & Burnitup! He was the host of An All Star Tribute to James Burrows.

Hayes starred in the Broadway play An Act of God, which ran from June 6, 2016 to September 4, 2016.

In 2017, Hayes played the role of Steven, the devil emoji in The Emoji Movie.

He and his husband wrote a book named Plum, which is about how the sugar plum fairy got her wings, Sean has always had an interest for the Nutcracker and memorised the whole musical piece.[24]

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.[25] 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."[10] He received an honorary PhD from Illinois State University in February 2013.[8]

In November 2014, Hayes announced that he had married his partner of eight years, Scott Icenogle.[26]

In October 2017, while appearing on an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Hayes revealed that he had been hospitalized with a rare condition in which his small intestine burst. The intestine was successfully repaired.[27]



1998Billy's Hollywood Screen KissBilly Collier[28]
2000Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure BeginsBrain Pod #13Voice
2001Cats & DogsMr. Tinkles[29]Voice
2003Pieces of AprilWayne
2003The Cat in the HatMr. Hank Humberfloob / Voice of the Fish
2004Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!Richard Levy the Shameless
2005Roberto the Insect ArchitectNarrator
2007The Bucket ListMatthew
2008Man Stroke WomanVarious
2008Soul MenDanny Epstein
2010Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty GaloreMr. TinklesVoice
2012The Three StoogesLarry Fine
2012Hit and RunSandy Osterman
2013Monsters UniversityTerri PerryVoice
2014How Murray Saved ChristmasEdison ElfVoice
2017The Emoji MovieStevenVoice


1996Silk StalkingsRogerEpisode: "Services Rendered"
Will & GraceJack McFarland188 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
2001ScrubsNick MurdochEpisode: "My Super Ego"
2001Saturday Night LiveHimself/HostEpisode: "Sean Hayes/Shaggy"
2002Martin and LewisJerry Lewis[30]Television film
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2006Tom Goes to the MayorTour GuideEpisode: "Bass Fest"
2006Lovespring InternationalVictorEpisode: "A Rear Window"
2006Will & Grace: Say Goodnight GracieJack McFarlandTelevision film
2006–2007Campus LadiesMarshall2 episodes
200730 RockJesse ParcellEpisode: "Hiatus"
201064th Tony AwardsHostTelevision special
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Program
2010–2015Hot in ClevelandChadEpisode: "One Thing or a Mother"
Also executive producer; 124 episodes
2011–2017GrimmExecutive producer; 108 episodes
2012–2016The Soul ManExecutive producer; 11 episodes
2012PortlandiaSeanEpisode: "Cops Redesign"
2012Parks and RecreationBuddy WoodEpisode: "Lucky"
2012Up All NightWalter4 episodes
2013SmashTerrence Falls3 episodes
2013American Dad!Foster (voice)Episode: "Lost in Space"
2013–2014Sean Saves the WorldSean Harrison15 episodes
Also executive producer; 15 episodes
2013–presentHollywood Game NightHimself2 episodes
Also creator, executive producer; 6 episodes
2014The Millers Kip Finkle11 episodes
2014The Comeback HimselfEpisode: "Valerie Gets What She Really Wants"
2015The Late Late Show Himself/Guest Host3 episodes
2016Crowded Executive producer; 13 episodes
2016Maya & MartyHimself/various2 episodes
2016An All Star Tribute to James BurrowsHimself/HostTelevision special
Also executive producer[31]
2016Hairspray Live!Mr. PinkyTelevision special
2017Tangled: The SeriesPete the Guard (voice)
2019Live in Front of a Studio AudienceMr. Frank LorenzoEpisode: "Norman Lear's All in the Family and The Jeffersons"


Year Title Role Notes
2008Damn YankeesApplegateOff-Broadway[32]
2010–2011Promises, PromisesChuck BaxterBroadway[32]
Nominated—Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Nominated—Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical
2015An Act of GodGodUS Tour[32]


  1. "Sean Hayes Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  2. McGee, Celia (July 6, 2008). "Selling His Soul for the Part". The New York Times. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  3. "Will & Grace - Awards". IMDb. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  4. Ruiz, Tony (October 23, 2017). "Sean Hayes ('Will & Grace') deserves first Golden Globe win - GoldDerby". Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  5. Wilson, Marie (January 27, 2018). "Food bank leader -- mother of Sean Hayes -- recalled for her dedication". Daily Herald. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  6. Keck, William (December 24, 2000). "It's Not Easy Being Jack". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 27, 2000. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  7. Sotonoff, Jamie; Gire, Dann (January 22, 2013). "Sean Hayes, suburban pal team up for TV success". Daily Herald. Arlington Heights, Illinois. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  8. Sobota, Lenore (February 21, 2013). "Actor Sean Hayes, former Fairleigh Dickinson president receive honorary degrees". Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  9. Marshall, Corinne (2008). The Q Guide to Will and Grace: Stuff You Didn't Even Know You Wanted to Know... About Will, Grace, Jack, Karen, and Lots of Guest Stars. Alyson Publications. p. 79. ISBN 978-1-59350-083-2. In the early days of his career, he supported himself as a classical pianist.
  10. Karpel, Ari (March 8, 2010). "Sean Hayes: I Am Who I Am". The Advocate. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
  11. Magazine, People (2002). People: Almanac 2003. Cader Books. p. 380. ISBN 978-1-929049-96-7. Composed original music for a Steppenwolf production of Antigone.
  12. Vetrano, Matt (May 17, 2018). "Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (Bass Fest)". Reviewers Unite. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  13. Andreeva, Nellie (September 4, 2008). "New deal for CBS swinger". The Hollywood Reporter. Associated Press. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  14. DiNunno, Gina (May 24, 2010). "Sean Hayes to Host the Tonys". TVGuide. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  15. "Filming at 5 Points Sports Building – Downtown Atlanta/Fairlie Poplar District" (PDF). April 28, 2011. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
  16. Byrne, Bridget (July 21, 2006). "Oh curses, it's hard: 'Will & Grace' stars try to beat odds". The Free Lance – Star. Associated Press. Archived from the original on July 21, 2006. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  17. "Development Update: Eight Days a Week (The CW, New!)". The Futon Critic. March 1, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  18. "The Company". Hazy Mills Productions. Archived from the original on August 3, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  19. Rose, Lacey. "When Did Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner Take Over TV?". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  20. "Page not found". Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  21. Ausiello, Michael (January 28, 2011). "NBC Orders Brothers Grimm-Themed Drama From Buffy Scribe". TVLine. Retrieved October 15, 2011.
  22. Kondology, Amanda (December 18, 2012). "NBC Announces Bold New Game Show 'Hollywood Game Night'". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  23. "The Kitchen Sync". YouTube. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  24. "Sean Hayes wrote a 'Nutcracker' prequel with his husband, and it looks adorable". March 7, 2018. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  25. Sean Hayes (April 29, 2010). "'Will And Grace' Star Sean Hayes Steps To Broadway". Fresh Air (Interview: audio/transcript). Interviewed by Terry Gross. NPR / WHYY. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  26. Sieczkowski, Cavan (November 20, 2014). "Sean Hayes Marries Longtime Partner Scott Icenogle". The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  27. Schaffstall, Katherine (October 25, 2017). "Sean Hayes Was Hospitalized After His Small Intestine Burst". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  28. Beltran, Mary C.; Fojas, Camilla (August 1, 2008). Mixed Race Hollywood. NYU Press. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-8147-9989-5.
  29. Rosen, Ronald; Hornberger, Francine (2006). So You Think You Know about Cats?: An All-in-one Guide for Felines and Their Humans. Citadel. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-8065-2749-9.
  30. Rowan, Terry. World War II Goes to the Movies & Television Guide Volume II L-Z. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-105-46543-7.
  31. "Must See TV: An All-Star Tribute to James Burrows". NBC. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  32. "Sean Hayes Theatre Credits". Retrieved July 13, 2017.

Further reading

  • Sean Hayes. Biography Resource Center Online. Gale Group. 1999.
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