Sean Hayes returns to his iconic role as Jack McFarland on NBC’s “Will & Grace” for the final season that premieres Oct. 24.
Hayes was raised in the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, Ill. A talented musician, he supported himself as a classical pianist and performed in a pop band while attending Illinois State University, where he majored in performance and conducting. After his college experience, Hayes worked in the Chicago stage community and served as the music director at the Pheasant Run Theater for a few years where he appeared in several of their productions.
After moving to Los Angeles, Hayes performed at the Comedy Club as a standup comic and starred in the television movie “A&P,” based on the short story by John Updike. Hayes received his big break in 1998 and landed the role of Jack on “Will & Grace,” for which he won an Emmy Award (and was nominated six additional times). The series has earned a total of 18 Emmys and 91 nominations. Hayes has also won four Screen Actors Guild Awards, two TV Guide Awards, an American Comedy Award, six Golden Globe nominations and was the recipient of the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the GLAAD Awards.
Hayes’ other notable television projects include well-received guest roles on “Scrubs” and “30 Rock,” as well as “Martin & Lewis,” a television film that earned him a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for his role as Jerry Lewis. Hayes appeared in multiple episodes of the NBC sitcom “Up All Night,” in which he played a former colleague of Ava’s (Maya Rudolph). He also made guest appearances in seasons of “Parks and Recreation,” “Portlandia” and “Hot in Cleveland.” In addition, he had an arc on “Smash” as a TV and film star making his Broadway debut. He also appeared in NBC’s “Hairspray Live!,” which was nominated for seven Emmy Awards.
Hayes starred as Larry Fine in the movie “The Three Stooges,” directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly, and voiced Terri in the 2013 summer box office hit “Monsters University.” Hayes’ additional film credits include “The Bucket List,” opposite Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, “Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss,” “Pieces of April,” the voice of Mr. Fish in “The Cat in the Hat,” “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton,” “Igor,” “Soul Men” and the voice of Mr. Tinkles in the box-office hit “Cats and Dogs.”
In 2010, Hayes made his Broadway debut in the wildly successful “Promises, Promises,” alongside Kristin Chenoweth. Based on Billy Wilder’s Academy Award-winning film “The Apartment,” starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, the play starred Hayes as Chuck Baxter, a young insurance employee who lends his apartment to his executives for their illicit affairs as a means for advancement within the company. In 2016, Hayes returned to Broadway as the title role in “An Act of God,” for which he received glowing reviews. Previously, Hayes was seen on stage in the New York City Center production of “Damn Yankees,” with Jane Krakowski and Cheyenne Jackson. In addition to receiving a Tony Award nomination for his role in “Promises, Promises,” he also hosted the Tonys in 2011 to strong reviews.
In 2004, Hayes and producing partner Todd Milliner formed Hazy Mills Productions, which has produced award-winning and critically acclaimed content in television, film, branded content, theater and publishing. Hazy Mills’ credits include “Hot in Cleveland,” “The Soul Man,” “Sean Saves the World,” CNN’s “The History of Comedy” and currently “Hollywood Game Night,” among many others.