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Jesse Tyler Ferguson (born October 22, 1975) is an American actor best known for portraying Mitchell Pritchett on the ABC sitcom Modern Family, which has earned him five nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Previously, he played the role of Richie Velch in the CBS sitcom The Class.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Ferguson at the Yahoo News/ABCNews Pre-White House Correspondents' dinner reception pre-party, May 2014
Ferguson at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., May 2014
Born (1975-10-22) October 22, 1975 (age 42)
Missoula, Montana, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1998–present
Spouse(s) Justin Mikita (m. 2013)


Early yearsEdit

Jesse Tyler Ferguson was born in Missoula, Montana, to Anne Ferguson (née Doyle) and Robert "Bob" Ferguson.[1] His parents divorced when he was 18 years old. Ferguson has a brother, Ben Ferguson, and sister, Kelly Ferguson.

Ferguson was named after his paternal grandmother, Jessie Uppercue Ferguson,[2] to whom he was very close growing up.[3] His paternal great-grandfather was also named Jesse.[4]

His family moved when he was young to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he was raised.[5] At age eight he decided to become an actor, and joined the Albuquerque Children's Theater, where he was a member for six years.[6]

At Albuquerque's St. Pius X High School, Ferguson played Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie and General Bullmoose in Li'l Abner. He participated on the speech and debate team and graduated in 1994.[7] He worked as a dancer/singer at Cliff's Amusement Park.[6]

After high school Ferguson attended The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York City.



Jesse Tyler Ferguson with Modern Family co-star Eric Stonestreet at the 2010 HRC National Dinner

In New York City, Ferguson worked mainly in Off-Broadway and Broadway theatre, including the Tony Award-winning The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, where he originated the role of Leaf Coneybear.[8] Ferguson starred in the Public Theater's 2007 Shakespeare in the Park production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and 2015 production of The Tempest. In the summer of 2015, he played Sir Robin in the Hollywood Bowl production of "Monty Python's Spamalot"

In March 2012, Ferguson was featured as Dr. Ilan Meyer in a performance of Dustin Lance Black's play 8, a staged reenactment of Perry v. Brown, the federal trial that overturned California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage.[9] The production was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and broadcast on YouTube to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, a non-profit organization funding the plaintiffs' legal team and sponsoring the play.[10][11]

Television and filmEdit

On television, Ferguson was among the large ensemble cast on the short-lived CBS sitcom The Class, playing Richie Velch. Ferguson co-starred in the 2008 thriller Untraceable.

Since 2009, he has played the role of Mitchell Pritchett, the openly gay lawyer on the ABC sitcom Modern Family. For his performance, Ferguson has received five consecutive Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He has also appeared as a judge on So You Think You Can Dance.


Tie The KnotEdit

Ferguson at a PFLAG event on October 1, 2010

In September 2012, Ferguson and his lawyer husband, Justin Mikita, started the non-profit charity 'Tie The knot',[12] an effort to raise funds in support of same-sex marriage, using bow ties sold to retail.[13] They officially launched it as their engagement announcement in an online video where they explain only seven states at the time had marriage equality.[13][14][15] In an interview Ferguson stated that he wanted to do something that was smaller and manageable in case it did not work out as a business model.[16]

The foundation sells limited-edition bow ties with "proceeds going to organizations nationwide that are working toward marriage equality".[17] Their collections are designed by the couple plus guest designers, and is sold by The Tie Bar, a Naperville, Illinois-based online men's neckwear company.[17]

In January 2013, the couple were recruited by Lieutenant Governor of Illinois Sheila Simon to lobby legislators to pass SB10 which would allow same-sex marriage.[17] The bill passed both legislative houses,[18][19] and Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill into law,[20] going into effect on June 1, 2014.[21]

Ferguson at the Muppets Most Wanted premiere on March 11, 2014

In October 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union named Ferguson the celebrity ambassador for the LGBT community.[22] He participated heavily in the ACLU's "Out for Freedom" campaign [23][24] They noted that Ferguson travelled to New Mexico, his home state, to take part in same sex marriage efforts. New Mexico does not explicitly permit or prohibit same-sex marriage; it is the only state lacking a statute or constitutional provision explicitly addressing same-sex marriage.[25] The couple’s non-profit made a grant of US$10,000 to the ACLU of New Mexico for same sex efforts.[23]

In November 2013, a pop-up retail store for 'Tie The Knot' was located at the Los Angeles Beverly Center featuring the fourth collection from the couple,[26] including professional athlete designs with Scott Fujita and Chris Kluwe, and Brittney Griner.[27]

Personal lifeEdit

Ferguson uses his full name as there was already an actor called Jesse Ferguson in the actor's union when he joined.[4]

Ferguson is openly gay and, in September 2012, he announced his engagement to lawyer Justin Mikita, his boyfriend of nearly two years. Mikita has worked for Mamiya Makita Industries.[28] They married in New York City on July 20, 2013,[29] with the playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner officiating at their wedding.[4]

On the process of coming out, Ferguson said he had to tell his father three times (when he was 17, 19 and 21): "It's a coming out process for them as well," and takes time.[30] He has one sister and one brother, both younger.[31]

Ferguson owns a dog named Leaf.[4]





Year Title Role Notes
2001 Ordinary Sinner Ogden
2004 Mercury in Retrograde Duane Short film
2006 Griffin and Phoenix Student
2008 Untraceable Arthur James Elmer
2009 Wonderful World Cyril
2012 The Procession Jason Short film
2012 8 Dr. Ilan Meyer
2012 Red Short
2016 Ice Age: Collision Course Shangri Llama (voice)


Year Title Role Notes
2000 Sally Hemings: An American Scandal Young Tom Hemings TV film
2006–2007 The Class Richie Velch 19 episodes
2007, 2010 Ugly Betty Dr. Gabe Farkus Episode: "Icing on the Cake" (2007)
Episode: "The Passion of the Betty" (2010)
2008 Do Not Disturb Larry 5 episodes
2009 The Battery's Down Shamus McKelvy Episode: "The Party's Over"
2009–present Modern Family Mitchell Pritchett Main character
2011–2013 So You Think You Can Dance Himself 7 episodes
Guest judge
2012 Submissions Only Jared Halstead Episode: "Another Interruption"
2012 RuPaul's Drag Race Himself Episode: "Dads I'd Like to Frock"
2013 2013 Do Something Awards Honoree TV film
2013–14 Web Therapy Steve Olson 5 episodes
2013 Hot in Cleveland Wes Episode: "Love Is All Around"
2013 Project Runway Himself Episode: "Tie the Knot"
Guest judge
2014 Backstage with Disney on Broadway: Celebrating 20 Years Himself Host
2015 Comedy Bang! Bang! Himself Episode: "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Wears a Brown Checked Shirt and Stripey Socks"
2015 Running Wild with Bear Grylls Himself Episode: "Jesse Tyler Ferguson"
2017 Nightcap Himself Episode: "Always a Beard, Never a Bride"


Year Title Role Notes
1998–1999 On the Town Chip Broadway revival
November 19, 1998 – January 17, 1999
The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told Off-Broadway
Little Fish Marco Off-Broadway
Where Do We Live
Hair Margaret Mead
SantaLand Diaries
A Midsummer Night's Dream Francis Flute Public Theater
(Shakespeare in the Park)
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)
2005–2008 The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Leaf Coneybear Broadway
May 2, 2005 – June 23, 2006
2005 On the Twentieth Century Max Jacobs Special concert
September 26
2010 The Winter's Tale Shepard's Son Public Theater
(Shakespeare in the Park)
2010 The Merchant of Venice Launcelot Gobbo Public Theater
(Shakespeare in the Park)
2012 The Producers Leo Bloom Hollywood Bowl
July 27–29, 2012
2013 A Comedy of Errors Dromio of Syracus / Dromio of Ephesus Public Theater
(Shakespeare in the Park)
2015 Spamalot Sir Robin Hollywood Bowl
July 31 – August 2, 2015
2016 Fully Committed Sam and others Broadway
April 25 – July 24, 2016

Awards and nominationsEdit


  1. ^ "Robert B Ferguson". United States Public Records, 1970–2009. FamilySearch. Retrieved August 4, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Jesse Tyler Ferguson follows the trouble-filled story of his great-grandfather's life—and draws conclusions about his ultimate legacy". August 1, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2014. 
  3. ^ Strohm, Emily (July 30, 2014). "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Discovers a Dark Crime While Tracing His Family Tree". People. Retrieved August 4, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Jesse Tyler Ferguson 25 Things You Don't Know About Me". Us Magazine. 26 July 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "Modern Family Biography: Mitchell Played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson". ABC. Archived from the original on June 23, 2011. Retrieved August 6, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Allen, Steven Robert (September 19–25, 2013). "Wedding Bells for Jesse Tyler Ferguson". Alibi. V.22 No.38. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  7. ^ Artavia, David (21 May 2013). "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Slams His Former Catholic School for Forcing Trans Teen to Wear Women's Graduation Garb". Advocate. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  8. ^ Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 2011
  9. ^ "'Glee' Stars 'Touched' By Pitt & Clooney's Support of '8'". Access Hollywood. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "'8': A Play about the Fight for Marriage Equality". Retrieved 18 March 2012 – via YouTube. 
  11. ^ "YouTube to broadcast Proposition 8 play live". Pink News. 1 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  12. ^ "Home". Tie The Knot. 
  13. ^ a b "Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson Buys Gwen Stefani's Home for $4.55 Million". Realty Today. 6 November 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  14. ^ Riggs, Erika (5 November 2013). "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Buys Gwen Stefani's Former Home". Zillow. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  15. ^ "'Modern Family' Star Jesse Tyler Ferguson Marries!". Entertainment Tonight. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  16. ^ Interview with Ferguson by David Letterman, Late Night with David Letterman, CBS, November 20, 2013.
  17. ^ a b c "Gay marriage bill voted through Illinois House". 89 WLS AM. 5 November 2013. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  18. ^ Garcia, Monique; Long, Ray (5 November 2013). "Lawmakers approve gay marriage in Illinois". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "Gay marriage bill passes in Illinois house, senate – on to governors desk". Chicago Sun-Times. 5 November 2013. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  20. ^ Garcia, Monique (20 November 2013). "Quinn signs Illinois gay marriage bill". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  21. ^ Geiger, Kim (5 November 2013). "Q&A on same-sex marriage". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on November 9, 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  22. ^ "ACLU Ambassadors – Jesse Tyler Ferguson". aclu.olrg (American Civil Liberties Union). Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  23. ^ a b "ACLU Names Celebrity Ambassadors for Key Civil Liberties Issues". American Civil Liberties Union. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  24. ^ Ehrman-Dupre, Joseph (29 October 2013). "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Named Celebrity Ambassador For Marriage Equality By ACLU: VIDEO". Towleroad. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  25. ^ Grovum, Jake (12 February 2013). "How New Mexico Legalized Gay Marriage – For 8 Hours". Statelines. Pew Charitable Trust. Archived from the original on April 12, 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  26. ^ Matthew Breen. "Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson releases bow tie collection". Pursuitist. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  27. ^ Tschorn, Adam (18 November 2013). "Tie the Knot pops up at the Beverly Center through Jan. 10". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  28. ^ Chi, Paul (19 September 2012). "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Is Engaged to Justin Mikita". People. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  29. ^ Rizzo, Monica (21 July 2013). "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Marries Justin Mikita". People. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  30. ^ Winfrey, Oprah (27 October 2013). "Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Dan Bucatinsky and Wanda Sykes Reflect on Coming Out" (video interview). Oprah's Next Chapter. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  31. ^ Keith, Bill (27 March 2011). "Jesse Tyler Ferguson: A Gentleman in Full". Out. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 

External linksEdit