Actor Jonathan Groff may be the lead in Mindhunter, but it’s not his first rodeo. The actor rose to fame in 2006 for his performance in Broadway’s Spring Awakening, and has since starred in an number of Broadway shows, TV series, and films.
‘Mindhunter’ is based on the true crime bestseller from Mark Olshaker and John E. Douglas (who was the inspiration for Clarice Starling’s mentor Jack Crawford in ‘Silence of the Lambs’), and follows FBI agents Holden Ford (Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) as they try and get to the root of a serial killer’s psychology. The show also comes from the brilliant mind of David Fincher, who directed ‘Seven’ and ‘Zodiac’. Netflix hasn’t been shy expressing their confidence in the show– they green lit a second season before season one had even aired.
Read on to learn more abou 32-year-old Jonathan Groff, the star of ‘Mindhunter’.
1. He Received a Tony Nod for His Role in ‘Hamilton’
Jesse rose to fame in 2006 for playing the lead role of Melchior Gabor in Broadway’s Spring Awakening. The role earned him the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, as well as three Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards.
In 2015, Groff was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Musical for his work as King George III in ‘Hamilton’. He was also part of the cast’s album recording, which won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album that year.
Groff has been heavily involved in theater since he was a young boy. He earned his Actors’ Equity Association card in 2005. That same year, he made his Broadway debut as an understudy in ‘In My Life’.
2. He Received Critical Acclaim for His Work in ‘Glee’
Groff received critical acclaim for his work as Jesse St. James in the Fox musical comedy series, Glee. St. James was the male lead of Vocal Adrenaline and a main antagonist in the first season.
Jesse’s character returns in the season finale after being absent since season 3– at the very end of Glee, we see that he’s married to Rachel and is a Broadway director.
Luckily, playing two people who know each other very well wasn’t a stretch for Groff and his Glee co-star Lea Michele. The two got to know each other in ‘Spring Awakening’, and since then, they’ve remained close friends.
3. He Publicly Came out as Gay in 2009
Groff came out as gay during the National Equality March in Washington in 2009, and has since supported the LGBTQ+ community.
In 2014, he spoke to The Huffington Post about being gay in Hollywood. “I’d rather be a working actor and not hiding anything in my personal life… The difference between being in the closet and out of the closet as a gay man is such a huge shift. I feel so connected still to that 22-year-old, but the idea that I was not open with that part of my life — which I am now so open about — is sort of surreal.”
Before booking ‘Mindhunter’, Groff starred in HBO’s ‘Looking’, a comedy-drama about a group of gay men living in San Francisco. The show played for two seasons, and a one-time special, which aired on July 23, 2016, served as its series finale.
4. He Voiced Kristoff in Frozen
Jonathan voiced Kristoff, Anna’s love interest, in ‘Frozen’. The role marked hist first as a voice actor.
In an interview with the Huffington Post before the film was released, Groff revealed that casting was looking for a “male voice that went well with hers.” He added, “I recorded some scenes and sang a song at the Roy E. Disney Animation Building. It was exciting just to be auditioning in that building! You can feel the history there.”
The outlet reports that Disney animators borrowed a few physical traits from Groff to accurately depict the character. “Kristoff doesn’t have your usual ‘skinny jean’ prince charming look. He’s a thicker guy, and I can relate to that. Other than that, I didn’t think that Kristoff really looked like me until I watched the movie and actually saw him making my facial expressions! They videotape you while you are working alone in the booth, so that the animators can watch it back and match what you are doing to the character. It is surreal!”
5. He Intended on Attending Carnegie Mellon University
Groff planned on attending the prestigious musical theater university Carnegie Mellon, however, he deferred admission after being cast as Rolf in a Non-equity national tour.
The accomplished actor was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to a mother who was a physical education teacher and a father who was a harness horse trainer. He attended Conestoga Valley High School.
From 2010 to 2013, Groff dated actor Zachary Quinto, best known for his roles as Skyler on the sci-fi series Heroes, and Spock on the reboot of Star Trek. He earned an Emmy nod for his work in American Horror Story: Asylum.