Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Ferguson in 2022
Born (1975-10-22) October 22, 1975 (age 47)
EducationAmerican Musical and Dramatic Academy
Years active1998–present

Jesse Tyler Ferguson (born October 22, 1975)[1] is an American actor. From 2009 to 2020, he portrayed Mitchell Pritchett on the sitcom Modern Family, for which he earned five consecutive nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

Ferguson made his Broadway debut in On the Town, and was in the original Broadway cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, for which he and his ensemble cast won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Cast Ensemble. He has appeared in theatre adaptations of A Winter's Tale, The Producers, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Spamalot and The Merchant of Venice. For his performance in the 2016 Broadway production of Fully Committed, Ferguson was awarded a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance. He won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance in the 2022 Broadway revival of Richard Greenberg's Take Me Out.

Early years

Jesse Tyler Ferguson was born in Missoula, Montana,[1] to Anne Ferguson (née Doyle) and Robert "Bob" Ferguson.[2] 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,[3] to whom he was very close growing up.[4] His paternal great-grandfather was also named Jesse.[5]

His family moved when he was young to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he was raised.[6] At age eight he decided to become an actor, and joined the Albuquerque Children's Theater, where he was a member for six years.[7] 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.[8] He worked as a dancer/singer at Cliff's Amusement Park.[7]

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



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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11][12]

Television and film

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.

From 2009 to 2020, he 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, and opposed actress Chrissy Metz in a 2017 episode of TBS's Drop the Mic. From 2020, he has co-hosted HGTV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition together with Ty Pennington.

Other works

In 2018, Ferguson was one of the actors who voiced the audiobook A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo.[13]

In 2019, Ferguson appeared in Taylor Swift's music video for "You Need to Calm Down".[14]


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,[15] an effort to raise funds in support of same-sex marriage, using bow ties sold to retail.[16] They officially launched it as their engagement announcement in an online video where they explain only seven states at the time had same-sex marriage.[16][17][18] 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.[19]

The foundation sells limited-edition bow ties to support organizations that advocate for same-sex marriage.[20] 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.[20]

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.[20] The bill passed both legislative houses,[21][22] and Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill into law,[23] going into effect on June 1, 2014.[24]

In October 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union named Ferguson the celebrity ambassador for the LGBT community.[25] He participated heavily in the ACLU's "Out for Freedom" campaign[26][27] They noted that Ferguson travelled to New Mexico, his home state, to take part in same sex marriage efforts. Before the state's full legalization of same-sex marriage on December 19, 2013, New Mexico did not explicitly permit or prohibit same-sex marriage; it was the only state lacking a statute or constitutional provision explicitly addressing same-sex marriage.[28] The couple's non-profit made a grant of US$10,000 to the ACLU of New Mexico for same sex efforts.[26]

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,[29] including professional athlete designs with Scott Fujita and Chris Kluwe, and Brittney Griner.[30]

Personal life

Ferguson uses his full name as there was already an actor called Jesse Ferguson in the actors' union when he joined.[5]

In September 2012, he announced his engagement to lawyer Justin Mikita, his boyfriend of nearly two years.[31] They married in Manhattan on July 20, 2013,[32] with the playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner officiating at their wedding.[5] The couple have two children, Beckett Mercer Ferguson-Mikita born on July 7, 2020 [33] and Sullivan Louis Ferguson-Mikita born on November 15, 2022.[34]

On the process of coming out, he 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 it takes time".[35]

He has a dog named Leaf.[5] He is a supporter of the Democratic Party and is shown in the 2016 Democratic National Convention promotional trailer "Our Fight Song".[36]



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
8 Dr. Ilan Meyer
Red Short
2016 Ice Age: Collision Course Shangri Llama (voice) First animated role and film
2023 Cocaine Bear Peter


Year Title Role Notes
2000 Sally Hemings: An American Scandal Young Tom Hemings TV film
2002 Absolutely Fabulous Uncredited Episode: "Gay"
2006–2007 The Class Richie Velch 19 episodes
2007, 2010 Ugly Betty Dr. Gabe Farkas Episode: "Icing on the Cake" (2007)
Episode: "The Passion of the Betty" (2010)
2008 Do Not Disturb Larry 5 episodes
2009–2015 The Battery's Down Shamus McKelvy 2 episodes
2009–2020 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"
RuPaul's Drag Race Himself Episode: "Dads I'd Like to Frock"
2013 2013 Do Something Awards Honoree TV film
2013–2014 Web Therapy Steve Olson 5 episodes
2013 Hot in Cleveland Wes Episode: "Love Is All Around"
Project Runway Himself Episode: "Tie the Knot"
Guest judge
2014 Backstage with Disney on Broadway: Celebrating 20 Years Host
2015 Comedy Bang! Bang! Episode: "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Wears a Brown Checked Shirt and Stripey Socks"
Running Wild with Bear Grylls Episode: "Jesse Tyler Ferguson"
2017 Nightcap Episode: "Always a Beard, Never a Bride"
Drop the Mic Episode: "David Arquette vs. Brian Tyree Henry / Jesse Tyler Ferguson vs. Chrissy Metz"
2020 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Host[37]
A Modern Farewell Himself Modern Family documentary
2021 The Good Fight Garrison Vitar Episode: "And the Two Partners Had a Fight..."
Martha Gets Down and Dirty Himself Episode: "You Grow Girl"[38]
2022 High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Marvin Episode: "Into The Unknown"


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)
2005–2006 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)
The Merchant of Venice Launcelot Gobbo Public Theater
(Shakespeare in the Park)
2012 The Producers Leo Bloom Hollywood Bowl
July 27–29, 2012
2013 The 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
2018 Log Cabin Ezra Playwrights Horizons
June 1 – July 18, 2018
2022–2023 Take Me Out Mason Marzac Broadway
March 10 – June 11, 2022
November 11, 2022 – February 5, 2023

Music videos

Year Title Artist Role Notes Ref(s)
2012 "Glamazon" RuPaul Guest star
2016 "Our Fight Song" Various Artists Himself [39]
"Holy Shit (You Got to Vote)" [40]
2019 "You Need to Calm Down" Taylor Swift Cameo

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2005 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Ensemble Performance The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Won
2009 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Modern Family Nominated
2010 Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
2011 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
2012 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Comedy Actor Nominated
2013 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Comedy Actor Nominated
2014 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
2015 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
2016 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Solo Performance Fully Committed Won
People's Choice Awards Favorite Comedic TV Actor Modern Family Nominated
2019 MTV Video Music Awards Video of the Year "You Need to Calm Down" Won
Video for Good Won
2022 Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Play Take Me Out Won
Drama League Awards Distinguished Performance Award Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Won
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Play Nominated


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  2. ^ "Robert B Ferguson". United States Public Records, 1970–2009. FamilySearch. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
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  4. ^ Strohm, Emily (July 30, 2014). "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Discovers a Dark Crime While Tracing His Family Tree". People. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d "Jesse Tyler Ferguson 25 Things You Don't Know About Me". Us Magazine. July 26, 2014. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  6. ^ "Modern Family Biography: Mitchell Played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson". ABC. Archived from the original on June 23, 2011. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Allen, Steven Robert (September 19–25, 2013). "Wedding Bells for Jesse Tyler Ferguson". Alibi. Vol. 22, no. 38. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  8. ^ Artavia, David (May 21, 2013). "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Slams His Former Catholic School for Forcing Trans Teen to Wear Women's Graduation Garb". Advocate. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  9. ^ Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 2011
  10. ^ "'Glee' Stars 'Touched' By Pitt & Clooney's Support of '8'". Access Hollywood. March 5, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
  11. ^ "'8': A Play about the Fight for Marriage Equality". Archived from the original on December 13, 2021. Retrieved March 18, 2012 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ "YouTube to broadcast Proposition 8 play live". Pink News. March 1, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
  13. ^ Perkins, Dennis (March 19, 2018). "John Oliver hijacks homophobe Mike Pence's bunny book with a better one in A Day In The Life Of Marlon Bundo". AV Club. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  14. ^ TaylorSwiftVEVO (June 17, 2019), Taylor Swift – You Need To Calm Down, archived from the original on December 13, 2021, retrieved June 17, 2019
  15. ^ "Home". Tie The Knot.
  16. ^ a b "Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson Buys Gwen Stefani's Home for $4.55 Million". Realty Today. November 6, 2013. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  17. ^ Riggs, Erika (November 5, 2013). "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Buys Gwen Stefani's Former Home". Zillow. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  18. ^ "'Modern Family' Star Jesse Tyler Ferguson Marries!". Entertainment Tonight. April 29, 2013. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  19. ^ Interview with Ferguson by David Letterman, Late Night with David Letterman, CBS, November 20, 2013.
  20. ^ a b c "Gay marriage bill voted through Illinois House". 89 WLS AM. November 5, 2013. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  21. ^ Garcia, Monique; Long, Ray (November 5, 2013). "Lawmakers approve gay marriage in Illinois". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  22. ^ "Gay marriage bill passes in Illinois house, senate – on to governors desk". Chicago Sun-Times. November 5, 2013. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  23. ^ Garcia, Monique (November 20, 2013). "Quinn signs Illinois gay marriage bill". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
  24. ^ Geiger, Kim (November 5, 2013). "Q&A on same-sex marriage". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on November 9, 2013. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  25. ^ "ACLU Ambassadors – Jesse Tyler Ferguson". aclu.olrg (American Civil Liberties Union). Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  26. ^ a b "ACLU Names Celebrity Ambassadors for Key Civil Liberties Issues". American Civil Liberties Union. October 29, 2013. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  27. ^ Ehrman-Dupre, Joseph (October 29, 2013). "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Named Celebrity Ambassador For Marriage Equality By ACLU: VIDEO". Towleroad. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  28. ^ Grovum, Jake (February 12, 2013). "How New Mexico Legalized Gay Marriage – For 8 Hours". Statelines. Pew Charitable Trust. Archived from the original on April 12, 2014. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  29. ^ Matthew Breen. "Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson releases bow tie collection". Pursuitist. Archived from the original on July 24, 2018. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  30. ^ Tschorn, Adam (November 18, 2013). "Tie the Knot pops up at the Beverly Center through Jan. 10". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  31. ^ Chi, Paul (September 19, 2012). "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Is Engaged to Justin Mikita". People. Archived from the original on June 16, 2016. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  32. ^ Rizzo, Monica (July 21, 2013). "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Marries Justin Mikita". People. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  33. ^ "Jesse Tyler Ferguson Is a Dad! Actor Welcomes First Child, Beckett Mercer, with Justin Mikita". Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  34. ^ "Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita Welcome Their Second Baby Boy – See His Adorable First Pics!".
  35. ^ Winfrey, Oprah (October 27, 2013). "Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Dan Bucatinsky and Wanda Sykes Reflect on Coming Out" (video interview). Oprah's Next Chapter. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  36. ^ "Democratic National Convention – Our Fight Song". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 13, 2021. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  37. ^ Roberts, Madison (June 19, 2019). "Modern Family's Jessie Tyler Ferguson Will Host Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Reboot on HGTV". People. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  38. ^ Chubb, Hannah (June 3, 2021). "Martha Stewart Gets 'Down and Dirty' in New Show with A-List Celeb Friends". People. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  39. ^ McDermott, Maeve (July 27, 2016). "The Best Celebrity Moments of the Democratic Convention Night 2". USA Today. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  40. ^ Weidenfeld, Lisa (November 4, 2016). "Elizabeth Banks Is in a Very NSFW Get Out the Vote Video". Boston. Retrieved July 4, 2023.