Lea Michele (born Lea Michele Sarfati; August 29, 1986) is an actress and singer. She was born in the Bronx. She started acting at the tender age of eight as Young Cosette in a production of Les Misérables, which she admits she tried out for on a whim. She then continued on to play the Little Girl in the original Broadway cast of Ragtime, Shprintze on Fiddler on the Roof, and several parts in various musicals, concerts, and plays, reaping in a bunch of awards and accolades while she was at it. She also played Wendla in the musical and the original Broadway run of Spring Awakening.
And then she auditioned for the part of the obnoxious, talented diva Rachel Berry on Glee (with a rendition of "On My Own" from Les Miserables. Interviews say, though, that it was in fact platonic life partner and ''Spring Awakening'' co-star Jonathan Groff who introduced her to series creator Ryan Murphy, and that the part of Rachel was written with her in mind.) And to say that playing Rachel made her famous is a huge understatement.
She's made her film debut in New Year's Eve and has already lent her voice to the titular character in Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return.
Personality-wise, the media knows her as a cheerful sweetheart with pipes that have been called a once-in-a-generation voice. Lea is also a vegan and a very strong advocate for gay rights, as well as for PETA and has campaigned very openly against animal cruelty. Follow her on Twitter here!
In early 2014, she released her debut musical album, Louder.
Tropes commonly used in her roles
- Actor-Inspired Element: After Cory Monteith died in real life, Ryan Murphy asked her what they should do with Finn on the show. She said they should have him die on the show as well.
- Approval of God: Natalie Imbruglia stated that she loved Lea's cover of "Torn".
- Casting Gag: She plays one of Jon Bon Jovi's back-up dancers in New Year's Eve. She had once almost hit him with her car.
- Dawson Casting: In Spring Awakening and Glee. Rachel is supposed to be sixteen. Uh huh. Likewise she's a full ten years older than her character in Scream Queens (2015).
- Though, it was Justified for her role in Spring Awakening, due to her role containing brief nudity and a sex scene, so legally the part had to be portrayed by someone over the age of 16.
- I Am Not Spock: She'll always be Rachel to most television-watching people. But of course, theater circles will always remember her for her performance in Spring Awakening. She seems determined to avoid this though, going heavily against type in Scream Queens (2015) - as a death-obsessed freak who is also a manipulative serial killer.
- Romance on the Set: With her Glee co-star Cory Monteith until his death in 2013. She even received a tattoo to remember him forever.
- Separated-at-Birth Casting: She and Idina Menzel look as if they could be mother and daughter.
- She Really Can Act: Her singing voice tends to overshadow her acting talents, and she's more often thought of as a voice. In Scream Queens she not only doesn't sing at all on the show but also goes radically against type from her wholesome good girl image - showing that she's also a gifted actress in addition to her singing.
- What Could Have Been: She was originally cast as Kate Upton's friend/rival in The Layover - because of a scheduling conflict, she was replaced by Alexandra Daddario.