b. June 26, 1970
“I know I should’ve come out sooner and I’m sorry for that. Especially when I think about the possibility that I might have made a difference in someone’s life.”
Sean Patrick Hayes is an actor, singer, comedian and producer best known for his role as Jack McFarland on NBC’s award-winning sitcom “Will and Grace.” The role has earned him an Emmy, an American Comedy Award, four Screen Actors Guild Awards and numerous nominations.
Hayes was raised Roman Catholic by his single mother in the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn. He studied piano performance at Illinois State University but left before graduating. He became the music director of a theater in St. Charles, Illinois, and worked as a classical pianist.
Hayes practiced improvisation at The Second City in Chicago, the renowned comedy enterprise that launched many of the industry’s top talents. In 1995 he moved to Los Angeles to work as a stand-up comedian.
Hayes made his film debut in “Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss” in July 1998. Later that year, he was cast as the flamboyant, humorously self-obsessed gay character, Jack, in the new television comedy series, “Will and Grace.” The groundbreaking sitcom was one of the first widely broadcast programs to feature LGBT characters consistently and portray them positively.
“Will and Grace” ran for eight seasons (188 episodes) and garnered numerous awards and accolades. The series was revived in 2017 with its original core cast.
In 2001 Hayes’s performance on “Will and Grace” earned him an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Between 2001 and 2006 he earned seven consecutive Primetime Emmy Award nominations for the role. He also received six Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor, an American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Male in a Television Series, four SAG Awards and multiple Satellite Award nominations for his work on the show.
In 2004 Hayes founded his own television production company, Hazy Mills Productions, which has produced popular NBC shows such as “Grimm” and “Hollywood Game Night.”
Hayes’s Broadway credits include “An Act of God” and “Promises, Promises,” for which he received the 2010 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. He hosted the live Tony Awards show that same year.
Although Hayes portrays a gay character on “Will and Grace,” he did not come out until he was interviewed by The Advocate in 2010. In 2018 he told the Hollywood Reporter, “I didn’t have the DNA or the ability to be one spokesperson for an entire group of people.”
In 2013 Hayes received an honorary Ph.D. from Illinois State University. In 2014 he married his longtime partner, Scott Icenogle.