Keir Gilchrist found himself a bellwether in the portrayal of alternative lifestyles on American television with his role as an assured, amicable, self-aware gay teen on Showtime's "The United States...
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|Debuted as a series regular on FOX's short-lived comedy "The Winner"|
|Made his television debut as the son of police chief Jim Stockwell on Showtime's "Queer as Folk"|
|Cast as Marshall, Tara's sensitive and soft-spoken gay teenage son, on the Showtime series "United States of Tara"|
|Had a recurring role as 'Jamie,' the boy who had developed a crush on Lizzie, in the Canadian show "Life with Derek"|
|Co-starred in "It's Kind of a Funny Story" with Zach Galifianakis and Emma Roberts|
|First feature film appearance, the Canadian comedy-drama "The Right Way"|
He was born Keir David Peters Gilchrist on Sept. 28, 1992, in London, England, U.K., the first of two sons of Ian and Catherine Gilchrist; the latter a daughter of a Canadian member of parliament. The family relocated to the United States briefly before moving back to his mother's native country, settling in Toronto. There, Keir attended the Annex Children's Theatre in Education, a school for youngsters gifted in the performing arts, and was followed in his thespian aspirations by his younger brother Evan. At age 10, Keir won his first role in a major North American TV series, Showtime's groundbreaking, Canadian-shot drama about denizens of Pittsburgh's gay community. Though a two-line guest-shot, it would be the kick-off of a series of small roles in designated "kid parts" as the protagonist's youthful self in flashbacks, as with "The Right Way" (2004), "The Waldo Cumberbund Story" (2005), and the horror outing "Dead Silence" (2007). He netted some one-off TV roles on series such as "1-800-Missing" (Lifetime, 2003-06) and "ReGenesis" (Movie Central, 2004-08) and landed increasingly prominent speaking roles afforded by the active film business that had given Toronto the nickname of "Hollywood North;" among them the gritty mystery "Horsie's Retreat" (2005), the family fantasy drama "A Lobster Tale" (2006), and the CBC comedy, "The Altar Boy Gang" (2007).
In 2007, Gilchrist came to the attention of comedy cartoon über-producer Seth MacFarlane, creator of Fox's ribald staples "Family Guy" (1999- ) and "American Dad!" (2005- ). Gilchrist not only earned a guest-shot voicing an insufferable grade-school bully in "Family Guy," he also landed a regular role on the producer's first attempt at creating a live sitcom, "The Winner." The show starred Rob Corddry as a conspicuously immature neighborhood loser attracted to his next-door neighbor but finding more in common with her young son, played by Gilchrist. When "The Winner" shuttered after only six episodes, Gilchrist did another flight of Canadian productions, including "The Egg Factory" (2008) and a minor role in the comedy "The Rocker" (2008), as well as two recurring roles on the CBC series "Life With Derek" (2005-09) and "The Listener" (CTV/NBC, 2009- ). More importantly, Gilchrist landed his first feature leads: the title role of the in the indie film "Just Peck" (2008), playing an unobtrusive freshman who bonds unexpectedly with a senior girl from the popular clique, finding they have much in common in their latch-key suburban existence; and a turn as young man coming of age in western Canada of the 1920s who attempts to live down his family's checkered past in "Hungry Hills" (2009).
But his pop-cultural breakthrough would come with his casting in "The United States of Tara," the Showtime series created by hot young screenwriter Diablo Cody, just off her own breakthrough with the sleeper hit feature "Juno" (2007). Gilchrist played Marshall Gregson, a gay teenager less flummoxed by his own social issues than by his mother and her four other personalities, including a homophobic redneck named Buck, as she deals with dissociative identity disorder. In the title role, Toni Collette won raves and awards, but Gilchrist's sweet, measured performance as a boy facing his sexuality undaunted by archaic mores won positive attentions of gay-oriented media such as Out and The Advocate. In The Hollywood Reporter's June 15, 2010, Emmy Awards ramp-up, Boston Globe critic Matthew Gilbert called Gilchrist "the best thing about 'United States of Tara' . . . He is touching as he shows the plight of a gay kid who doesn't fit any of the stereotypes." It proved a springboard for Gilchrist to take the lead in indie filmmakers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's 2010 outing "It's Kind of a Funny Story." The tale of a suicidal young man who voluntarily checks himself into a psychiatric hospital, but after finding the youth ward full, winds up institutionalized among more seriously addled adults, the movie hit the film festival circuit starting, appropriately enough, with the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010.
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