Sean Patrick Hayes (born June 26, 1970) is an American actor, comedian, and producer. He is best known for playing 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. +more 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. Since July 2020, he has co-hosted the comedy podcast SmartLess. He is known for his appearances in films 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.

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 hosted the 64th Tony Awards, for which he was awarded a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Program.

Join Group About Sean Hayes
1.725 Members
764 Posts

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, and Ronald Hayes, a lithographer. He is of Irish descent and was raised as a Roman Catholic in the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, Illinois. +more His father, an alcoholic, left the family when Hayes was five years old, leaving his mother to raise him and his siblings. He has been estranged from his father for many years.

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

Hayes worked as a classical pianist. He practiced improv at The Second City in Chicago. +more He also composed original music for a production of Antigone at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. He moved to Los Angeles in 1995, where he found work as a stand-up comedian and an actor on stage and on television, including a commercial for Doritos 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. +more 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. 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. +more 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").

Hayes appeared as Thomas in the film The Bucket List (2007). On July 5, 2008, he made his New York stage debut as Mr. +more Applegate / Devil in New York City Center's Encores! production of Damn Yankees.

He also appeared as Mr. Hank Humberfloob and provided the voice of "The Fish" in The Cat in the Hat. +more In a 2008 interview in The New York Times, Hayes talked about a television project, BiCoastal, about "a guy with a wife and kids in California and a boyfriend in New York" for Showtime. 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. In 2010, he reprised the role of Mr. +more 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).

Aware that his role in Will & Grace "wouldn't go on forever," Hayes teamed up with friend Todd Milliner, whom he met at Illinois State University, to create the television production company Hazy Mills Productions in 2004. Hayes was co-executive producer of the TV Land original comedy series Hot in Cleveland, which premiered in June 2010 and ran for six seasons. +more He was also a co-executive producer of the NBC series Grimm, as well as creator and executive producer on another NBC series, Hollywood Game Night. Other television series produced by the company include The Soul Man and Sean Saves the World.

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

Hayes starred in the Broadway production An Act of God, June 6 to September 4, 2016, after engagements in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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. Hayes has always had an interest for the Nutcracker and memorized the whole musical piece.

Hayes has also guest starred as Buddy Wood on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation.

In July 2020, Hayes, along with Will Arnett and Jason Bateman, created a comedy and talk podcast called SmartLess. He also hosts another podcast with Dr. +more Priyanka Wali called HypochondriActor.

Hayes starred in and was one of the executive producers for the Netflix Series Q-Force, released September 2, 2021.

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. 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. +more I am who I am. " He also indicated that he was in a relationship. He feels 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. " He received an honorary PhD from Illinois State University in February 2013.

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

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.



1996A&PSammyShort film
1998Billy's Hollywood Screen KissBilly Collier
2000Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure BeginsBrain Pod #13Voice
2001Cats & DogsMr. TinklesVoice
2003Pieces of AprilWayne
2003The Cat in the HatMr. +more Hank Humberfloob / Voice of the Fish
2004Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!Richard Levy the Shameless
2005Roberto the Insect ArchitectNarrator
2007The Bucket ListMatthew
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
2020Lazy SusanSusan O'Connell
2022Am I Ok?Stu


1996Silk StalkingsRogerEpisode: "Services Rendered"
1998-2006, 2017-2020Will & GraceJack McFarland246 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
2001RugratsTalent Show Director (voice)Episode: "And the Winner Is. +more/Dil's Bathtime/Bigger Than Life"
2001ScrubsNick MurdochEpisode: "My Super Ego"
2001Saturday Night LiveHimself/HostEpisode: "Sean Hayes/Shaggy"
2002Martin and LewisJerry LewisTelevision 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"
2008Man Stroke WomanVariousTelevision film
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
2013-2020Hollywood Game NightHimself2 episodes Also creator, executive producer; 6 episodes
2014-2015The MillersKip Finkle11 episodes
2014The ComebackHimselfEpisode: "Valerie Gets What She Really Wants"
2015The Late Late ShowHimself/Guest Host3 episodes
2016CrowdedExecutive producer; 13 episodes
2016Maya & MartyHimself/various2 episodes
2016An All Star Tribute to James BurrowsHimself/HostTelevision special Also executive producer
2016Hairspray Live!Mr. PinkyTelevision special
2017-2020Tangled: The SeriesPete the Guard (voice)21 episodes
2019Live in Front of a Studio AudienceMr. Frank LorenzoEpisode: "Norman Lear's All in the Family and The Jeffersons"
2020, 2022Jimmy Kimmel Live!Himself/Host6 episodes
2021Q-ForceSteve Maryweather (voice)Main role


2008Damn YankeesApplegateOff-Broadway
2010-2011Promises, PromisesChuck BaxterBroadway 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
2016An Act of GodGodBroadway
2022Good Night, OscarOscar LevantGoodman Theatre

Further reading

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

Living people

Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Primetime Emmy Award winners

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series Screen Actors Guild Award winners