On 02 June, City Connect celebrates the birthday of the American actor and producer Zachary Quinto who was born on this day in 1977. Zachary Quinto is famous for his role as series antagonist Sylar in the science fiction drama Heroes from 2006 to 2010. He was cast as Spock in Star Trek (2009). Zachary Quinto publicly came out as gay in October 2011. He explained that, after the suicide of gay teenager Jamey Rodemeyer, he realized “that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it, is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality.”
Quinto, who is of half-Italian and half-Irish descent, was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in Green Tree, Pennsylvania, with his mother Margo and his brother Joe. His father, John, who was a barber, died of cancer when Quinto was 7 years old. He graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1995, where he participated in their musicals and won the Gene Kelly Award for Best Supporting Actor, and then attended Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama, from which he graduated in 1999.
Quinto first appeared on television in the short-lived television series The Others, and appeared as a guest star on shows including CSI, Touched by an Angel, Charmed, Six Feet Under, Lizzie McGuire, and L.A. Dragnet. In 2003, he landed a recurring role as computer expert Adam Kaufman on the Fox series 24; Quinto appeared in 23 episodes of the third season.
In 2006, Quinto played the role of Sasan, the haughty, gay Iranian-American best friend of Tori Spelling on her VH1 series So NoTORIous. Later that year, he joined the cast of Tim Kring’s Heroes as Gabriel Gray, better known as the serial killer Sylar. He worked on the series until its cancellation in 2010 after four seasons.
His casting as a young Spock in the J. J. Abrams-directed reboot of the Star Trek film franchise was officially announced at the 2007 Comic-Con. Speaking alongside Leonard Nimoy at a press conference to promote the new Star Trek film, Quinto revealed that Nimoy had been given casting approval over who would play the role of the young Spock. “For me Leonard’s involvement was only liberating, frankly,” says Quinto. “I knew that he had approval over the actor that would play young Spock, so when I got the role I knew from the beginning it was with his blessing.”
In a September 2008 interview, Abrams said of Quinto’s performance as Spock: “Zachary brought a gravity and an incredible sense of humor, which is a wonderful combination because Spock’s character is deceivingly complicated. The revelation for me watching the movie, when I finally got to watch the whole thing after working on sequences, was that he is extraordinary. He was doing things I didn’t even realize while we were shooting â€“ these amazing things to track his story.”
Following Star Trek, he appeared in the comedy short Boutonniere (2009). It “…was a movie written and directed by my former landlady and friend [actress Coley Sohn]. She called up and said, ‘Would you do me a favor and be in my short film?'”
Quinto has joined with Corey Moosa and Neal Dodson to form Before the Door Pictures. The company is working on projects in film, television, new media, and the graphic novel arena. It announced a three-book publishing deal with comic book publisher Archaia at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con. The first project from the partnership is expected to be a 100-page graphic novel called Mr. Murder is Dead, created by writer Victor Quinaz. It will be followed by the comic book series LUCID: A Matthew Dee Adventure written by writer/actor Michael McMillian.
Quinto’s theatre experience includes roles in a variety of productions, including Much Ado About Nothing at the Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival and Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow at the Old Globe Theatre. Baseline Studio Systems announced in January 2010 that Steven Spielberg may direct a biopic about George Gershwin, which is scheduled for release in 2012, with Quinto confirmed for the lead role. From October, 2010 to February 2011, Quinto played the lead role of Louis Ironson in an Off-Broadway revival of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America at the Signature Theatre, New York City. For this role, Quinto received the Theatreworld Outstanding Debut Performance award. He has modeled for magazines including GQ and August.
In 2010, Quinto’s company Before the Door Pictures produced Margin Call, an independent film about the financial crisis. Quinto played the role of Peter Sullivan in the film, in a cast that included Jeremy Irons, Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci and Demi Moore. Margin Call premiered in January 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival. In October 2011, Quinto began his recurring role on the FX series, American Horror Story, as Chad, former owner of the house. Quinto will return for the second season in a lead role.
Quinto publicly came out as gay in October 2011. Prior to his coming out, Quinto had long been an active supporter of gay rights and organizations like the Trevor Project. In 2009, he appeared in the one-night production Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, a benefit stage reading in response to the passing of Proposition 8, as well as in the play The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, about the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard. In 2010, Quinto contributed a video (see below) to the It Gets Better Project, an Internet-based campaign that aims to prevent suicide among LGBT youth.