Idina Kim Menzel is an American actress, theater performer, singer and songwriter. Menzel rose to prominence when she originated the role of Maureen Johnson in the Broadway musical Rent. Her performance earned her a Tony Award nomination in 1996. Take a look below for 30 more awesome and interesting facts about Idina Menzel.
1. Menzel was born on May 30, 1971.
2. Her birthplace is varyingly reported as either the New York City borough of Queens or the town of Syosset, New York, on Long Island.
3. She grew up in Syosset, the daughter of Helene, a therapist, and Stuart Menzel, a pajama salesman.
4. She has a younger sister named Cara. Menzel’s family is Jewish, and her grandparents emigrated from Eastern Europe. Menzel attended Syosset High School.
5. When Menzel was 15 years old, her parents divorced, and she began working as a wedding and bar mitzvah singer, a job that she continued throughout her time at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drama.
6. Idina changed the spelling of her surname to “Menzel” to better reflect the pronunciation that the Menzel family had adopted in America.
7. She was friends with actor Adam Pascal before they worked together in Rent.
8. In 2017, during an interview with Irish New York–based songwriter Jimmy Walsh, he revealed that, in 1992, Menzel recorded a demo for him of the song “In Your Eyes”, which went on to win the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest for Irish singer Niamh Kavanagh. Menzel was paid $75 for the recording.
9. Menzel married actor Taye Diggs on January 11, 2003.
10. They met in 1995 during the original production of Rent, in which Diggs portrayed the role of Benjamin Coffin III, the landlord.
11. On September 2, 2009, she gave birth to their son, Walker Nathaniel Diggs.
12. In late 2013, it was reported that Menzel and Diggs had separated after ten years of marriage.
13. Their divorce was finalized on December 3, 2014.
14. Menzel began dating actor Aaron Lohr and they appeared together in April 2015 at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.
15. In August 2015, Menzel and Lohr bought a home located in Encino, Los Angeles, California.
16. They both starred in the 2005 film adaptation of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway musical Rent as well as the Off-Broadway musical See What I Wanna See.
17. On September 23, 2016, Menzel announced that she and Lohr were engaged.
18. They were married over the weekend of September 22, 2017.
19. Menzel identifies as a feminist, saying “I love that I play all of these strong women. But they’re not just strong— they’re women who have a really deep vulnerability and need to go through a journey in order to harness their power.”
20. Menzel was an honorary chair of the Imperial Court of New York’s Annual Charity Coronation Ball, Night of A Thousand Gowns on March 21, 2009.
21. On May 17, 2009, Menzel performed at a special benefit concert in Atlanta, Georgia to raise money for the Pace Academy Diversity Program in coordination with the Ron Clark Academy. The event resulted in the funding of two scholarships for Ron Clark Academy students to attend Pace Academy.
22. In 2010, Menzel founded the A BroaderWay Foundation with then-husband Taye Diggs as a means of supporting young people in the arts.
23. Menzel has long-championed LGBT rights by partnering with organizations like The Trevor Project, the Give A Damn Campaign (filming a public service announcement and designing a T-shirt) and the NOH8 Campaign, posing for one of their trademark duct-taped silence photos.
24. In April 2014, Menzel presented at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Easter Bonnet Competition with Bryan Cranston, Fran Drescher, and Denzel Washington, after raising donations at her Broadway show If/Then.
25. Menzel starred as C.C. in the Lifetime TV movie remake of the film Beaches, which aired on January 21, 2017.
26. She is also set to star on the Ellen DeGeneres–produced sitcom Happy Time.
27. In 2013, Menzel starred as Elsa in the animated musical film Frozen. Menzel’s performance received praise from film critics.
28. After minor roles in Kissing Jessica Stein and Just a Kiss, Menzel had supporting roles in The Tollbooth and Water in 2004.
29. Her first major role in a major film was in 2005 when she reprised her role of Maureen Johnson in the film adaptation of Rent. She was nominated for several critics circle awards for the part.
30. In 2007, she played Nancy Tremaine in the film Enchanted.