Darren Criss biography
Date of Birth: February 5, 1987
Darren Criss is a multi-talented actor, musician and composer who has been featured on film, television and stage in his still-burgeoning career. Besides singing and composing, he can play the violin, piano, guitar, drums, mandolin and harmonica. He was born in San Francisco to parents Cerina and William Criss. His mother was born in an island province of the Philippines, and his father hails from Pittsburgh. His brother, Chuck Criss, is also a talented musician and part of the indie-band Freelance Whales.
Darren spent most of the childhood growing up in San Francisco, save for a few years where his family moved to Honolulu for his father’s work. He began training classically on the violin at the age of five and was accepted to the American Conservatory Theater by age 10. His love of music grew into a love of theater, as he joined a stage company and continued to perform plays throughout school at Saint Ignatius College Preparatory.
His interest in acting and performance led him to the University of Michigan, where he majored in theater performance and minored in Italian and musicology. His studies in Italian led him to a semester abroad in Abrezzo, Italy. It was there that he wrote the song "Not Alone" for Adele when she was an up-and-coming performer.
It was at university where he met a group of friends that would ultimately change his life. He teamed up with writers Nick and Matt Lang to compose for several of their parody plays. After they posted a recording of a Harry Potter musical, titled A Very Potter Musical, on YouTube, the videos soon went viral with over a million hits. With such a massive success, the students formed a theater troupe called Team Starkid and began producing several parody musicals, include two more Harry Potter plays, in which Darren starred as Harry Potter, as well as composing the music for part of the first and the entirety of the second.
After graduating from University of Michigan in 2008, Darren moved to Los Angeles, taking on small roles in both film and television as hippie characters in Cold Case and The Chicago 8. He had his first recurring television role as Josh Burton in the short-lived series Eastwick, playing the love interest of Pretty Little Liars star Ashley Benson. He also recorded his first EP Human, including the songs "Not Alone" and "Human," which he wrote at 15 years old.
When film and television roles weren't coming as quickly as he had hoped, Darren was preparing to move from Los Angeles to Chicago with the rest of Team Starkid, where they were preparing their original musical Starship composed entirely by Darren, as well as work on his first major album. As fate would have it, his agent called him in the nick of time to let him know he’d scored a major role in the hit television series Glee as prep school boy Blaine Anderson.
Darren became an immediate hit on the show and by the end of the season he was upgraded to the main cast. He kept busy, even during Glee’s hectic schedule, fitting in time to collaborate with Team Starkid and do several voice acting roles on Archer and The Cleveland Show.
He landed his first major feature film role alongside Kristen Wigg in Girl Most Likely, about a failed playwright who is forced to move back in with her mother after a failed fake suicide attempt. Darren charmed as Lee, a Yale graduate working as a Backstreet Boy impersonator.
In the summer of 2013, Darren went on his first nationwide solo tour, including stops in Toronto and Paris. He premiered several songs from his solo album.
With Glee slowly wrapping up, Darren has gone on to do several more voice acting roles, including The Wind Rises, The Tale of Princess Kaguya and a new animated series Transformers: Robots in Disguise.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)
The Wind Rises
Girl Most Likely
Glee: The 3D Concert Movie
The Chicago 8
Darren Criss Filmography