- 11:40 AM, Feb 20
Lea Michele's diva training began since she was a kid working as a child actress on Broadway. Born August 29, 1986 in The Bronx, New York, she made her Broadway debut in 1995, when she was just 8, playing the role of Young Cosette in "Les Miserables". It was followed by major stage productions like "Ragtime" and "Fiddler on the Roof". She was accepted to the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, but chose to continue working professionally on the stage.
In 2006, Michele finally landed a lead role of Wendla in the Broadway musical "Spring Awakening". Around the same time, she was offered the coveted role of Eponine in "Les Miserables" stage revival, but she opted to stay in "Spring Awakening". Her decision paid off as she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award in the category of Outstanding Actress in a Musical.
From the Broadway stage, she expanded her career to TV starting with "Glee" which instantly propelled her to stardom. The lead role of an aspiring diva named Rachel Berry that she played on the series was specifically written for her after creator Ryan Murphy spent three months scouting talents on Broadway.
She received multiple nominations including a Golden Globe in the category Best Actress - Television Series Musical or Comedy and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. She also won many prestigious prizes like Billboard's Triple Threat Award after her various cover songs on the show reached notable spots on Hot 100. On top of that, she got two Grammy nods in 2011 for her "Glee" songs.
On the big screen, she first lent her voice to Dorothy Gale in animated film "Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return" in 2010. She then starred in Garry Marshall's romantic comedy "New Year's Eve", playing the love interest to Ashton Kutcher's character. A few years back, she joined the voice cast of direct-to-video animated film "Buster & Chauncey's Silent Night" with Maris Osmond and Tom Arnold.
Michele dated her co-star Cory Monteith, who coincidentally played her on-screen love interest on "Glee". Their relationship lasted until his sudden death on July 13, 2013 due to drug overdose. Before seeing Monteith, she dated Broadway actor Theo Stockman for nearly two years before breaking up in September 2011.
Following her boyfriend's passing, the avid supporter of gay and lesbian marriage focused her energy on work.