Who is Hal Sparks?
Harry Magee Sparks III, more popularly known as Hal Sparks, is an American actor, musician, stand-up comedian, and political commentator. He is most famously known for his role in the drama TV series ‘Queer as Folk’ and for hosting E! Television’s ‘Talk Soup’. He has been a part of various movies and television series, mostly in comic roles. He found his calling as a comedian quite early in his life and was even voted the funniest teenager in Chicago. He began with minor supporting roles and comedy shows in the city before he started hosting ‘Talk Soup’. Since then, Sparks never had to look back as he dabbled with various forms of entertainment and even released his debut album. He is best known for his energy and sense of humor that he manages to infuse in every show that he participates in. He has appeared in many TV series, movies, and reality shows. He currently hosts his own radio show titled ‘The Hal Sparks Radio Program’. Apart from this, he also takes part in charity events and stands up for various causes. He remains an active part of the industry and participates regularly in comedy clubs across the country.
Childhood & Early Life
Hal Sparks was born on September 25, 1969 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was raised in Kentucky, in the town of Peaks Mill. He was a boy scout and had learned Karate.
He would spend his time listening to comedy records or go to the movies as the family didn’t own a TV. However, wanting to explore the world as he was stuck in the country, he moved along with his father to Chicago.
Sparks was a student of New Trier High School in Winnetka, which had an active theatre department. He credits his teacher, Ms. Adams, for encouraging him to perform and has mentioned that he delivered his first stand-up routine here when he was 15.
In 1987, he was voted the Funniest Teenager in Chicago by the Chicago Sun Times. After graduating from high school, he decided to move to Los Angeles and soon began performing at various clubs, including The Improv, The Laugh Factory and The Ice House, The Comedy Store, and the Comic Relief’s American Comedy Festival.
He also hosted the game show ‘Treasure Mall’ in 1988 and he was one among the youngest emcees in the United States.
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Hal Sparks began his career as a comedian who had just moved to Los Angeles to find employment. He managed to be a part of various clubs and perform regularly.
His Los Angeles stint in the first ten years of his career witnessed several ups and downs. He continued to perform in the comedy circuit but didn’t play a major role anywhere. His received his first professional breakthrough when he was asked to host ‘Talk Soup’, in 1999, and thereafter his career took off.
In 2000, he essayed the role of Michael Novotny in the American drama series ‘Queer as Folk’ and the show ran for five seasons. He is extremely proud of this show as it tackled with topics that were considered taboo. He states that this role changed his career.
Hal was among the main actors in pop culture series ‘I Love The 90’s,’ ‘I Love The 80’s,’ ‘The 80’s Strike Back’ and ‘Love The 70’s’ for VH1. He remains a constant and has even appeared in ‘I Love the New Millennium’.
His first entry into mainstream cinema was with the 2000 hit ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’. He later went on to appear in several movies, including ‘Spiderman 2’ (2004) and ‘Lightning Bug’ (2004).
He has been more active on television and has made regular appearances on various shows, including ‘The Tonight Show’, ‘Larry King Live’, ‘Good Morning America’ and ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’.
In 2002, he starred in ‘Bleacher Bums’ which was a PBS adaption of the critically acclaimed play of the same name. His co-stars in this comedy included Peter Riegert, Wayne Knight, and Brad Garrett.
In 2006, he appeared in ‘Celebrity Duets’, a musical competition series on FOX. He also hosted the Warner Bros. reality series ‘Survival of the Richest’. Later, he and Rosanne Barr were the judges for the Nick at Nite comedy competition.
In 2007, he was the voice of the lead character, Tak, in the Nickelodeon animated series ‘Tak and the Power of Juju’. In the same year, he also appeared in the reality series ‘Celebracadabra’ and it was revealed that the multitalented Sparks was an accomplished magician as well.
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He recorded his first comedy special ‘Charmageddon’ at the OC Pavilion in California. The show was aired in 2010 and later released on DVD. He was soon cast as Donald Davenport in ‘Lab Rats’, a Disney pilot. ‘Lab Rats’ went on to receive critical acclaim and ran from 2012 to 2016.
In 2010, Sparks was given his own radio program on Chicago's Progressive Talk. It is titled the ‘Hal Sparks Radio Program’ and is broadcasted every Saturday.
In addition to the multiple hats he already wears, Sparks also is a musician and singer. His band, ‘Zero 1’, released their debut album in 2006. The rock band continues to perform at different venues and tour the country.
He acted in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy in 2018, the fourteenth season of the series. He played Doctor Scott Hanson in the episode ‘Hold Back the River.’ His other movie releases in 2018 include ‘Bachelor Lions’ and ‘Year 3000’.
Hal Sparks received his first major break in television when he was asked to host E!’s ‘Talk Soup’. He hosted the series from 1999 to 2000. The show involved humorous commentary while screening clippings from daily talk shows.
He is most famously known for his role of Michael Novotny in the American television series ‘Queer as Folk’. The show was a hit and ran for five seasons. As he was one among the straight guys to be cast as a key gay character, he became immensely popular with the LGBT community.
Personal Life & Legacy
Hal Sparks has been in a relationship with Summer Soltis since 2012. He previously dated Samantha Humphreys but they broke up in 2009.
In the 2011 AIDS Walk in Los Angeles, he announced that he was a father. His son was named Camden Harrison Sparks, but the mother hasn’t been revealed to the media. There is a lot of speculation over the mother, and rumors indicate that it is Summer Soltis, but nothing has been confirmed.
He is a vegan and avidly follows intermittent fasting. He is also a Freemason and he was initiated into the cult in November 2016. Apart from this, Hal is an activist who regularly participates in events for nonprofit organizations, including Imagine a Cure, AIDS Walk, and Farm Sanctuary.
He has stated that he never drinks, has not smoke, and hasn’t used recreational drugs. Trivia
He has trained for over ten years in various martial art forms, including Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu, and Wushu.
He has learnt Chinese and Mandarin and loves eating sushi.