Fans of the Netflix comedy-drama “Atypical” are more than familiar with Keir Gilchrist, a Canadian musician and actor born on 28th September 1992. With dozens of acting credits under his belt, Keir’s notable works include playing Marshall Gregson in “United States of Tara” and having roles in “It Follows” and “It’s Kind of a Funny Story”.
A talented singer, Keir also makes time to perform with two different bands, Whelm and Phalanx, despite his busy filming schedule.
Keir was born in Camden Town, London, England, to his Canadian parents Catherine and Ian. His grandfather, Douglas Peters, was a renowned banker, economist and politician, whereas his uncle, David Wilfrid Peters, is an economist.
The Gilchrist family moved around several times, relocating to Boston, Massachusetts, and New York City in the USA, before returning to their Canadian roots and settling in Toronto, Ontario.
Keir studied at the Annex Children’s Theatre and landed his first TV acting credit aged 11, in an episode of “Queer as Folk”. His first film role was in 2004, playing a young David in “The Right Way”. Over the next three years, he appeared in various series and films of varied genres before playing Josh McKellar in “The Winner”, a 2007 sitcom series that helped him boost his profile, despite its short run.
2009 to 2011 saw Keir enjoy his first co-starring role, as Marshall Gregson in “United States of Tara”. Marshall was the main character’s son and considered the baby of the family; with his love of classic films and old-fashioned clothing, he was certainly an eccentric character who stood out from the rest.
Diablo Cody, the creator of the show, clarified that making Marshall’s character gay “wasn’t intended as any sort of plot point”. The Gregsons were incredibly supportive of Marshall, although Buck, a friend of the family, was homophobic and would often make awkward remarks.
Marshall’s love interests in the show included Jason, an older student at his school with whom he shared a kiss. Things abruptly ended between Marshall and Jason after an incident with another character named T. In season one, Marshall developed a pill addiction; however, the storyline fizzled out and wasn’t revisited in season two.
Despite dating a girl named Courtney and consummating the relationship, Marshall realized that he was gay and began dating his openly gay best friend, Lionel, a few episodes later. Marshall and Lionel broke up in season three, with Marshall soon entering a relationship with a mysterious new classmate named Noah.
Keir’s portrayal of the sophisticated teenager earned him glowing praise, with one publication branding him “the real breakout star” of the series.
2009 was a great year for Keir work-wise, as he also won a leading role as Craig Gilner in “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” – the movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival the following year. Similarly, 2015 was another year of career highlights, as Keir played the lead roles in “Dark Summer”, “Len and Company”, “Share”, and “The Stanford Prison Experiment”. Nevertheless, bigger and better things were on their way to the actor, as he would soon be cast as Sam Gardner in “Atypical”.
Keir’s portrayal of Sam, a teen on the autism spectrum, was so convincing that many fans genuinely believed he really was neurodivergent. Sam Gardner was the main character throughout the show’s four seasons, with his main interests being penguins, Antarctica, and the South Pole. His parents were Doug and Elsa Gardner, and he had a younger sister named Casey.
Sam was diagnosed with autism in 2004 when he was around 15 years old. Despite being a curious and empathetic individual, he found it difficult to express his emotions, which made him appear cold and disinterested. His autism also made him brutally honest, and prone to awkward moments when interacting with other people.
Season one saw Sam research dating advice, as one of his goals was to get a girlfriend. His quest for love became one of the main topics of discussion between himself and his therapist, Julia Sasaki, who gave him plenty of helpful tips. At the same time, Sam struggled with his anxiety while working at an electronics and appliance store named Techtropolis; however, this changed when he met and became best friends with a client named Zahid.
With Zahid’s help, Sam began looking for a relationship, but doesn’t have much luck. After a few unsuccessful dates and online dating experiences, Sam was crushed to learn that Julia had a boyfriend, and so slowly began changing his wardrobe and mannerisms in order to attract a girl. Eventually, he asked a fellow student named Paige Hardaway if she could be his practice girlfriend, to which she said yes.
Sam and Paige found it difficult to get on due to their many differences. Nevertheless, they grew closer and became physically intimate by the end of the season. The main storylines in season two were Sam’s plans to attend college, and his bullying struggles. In one poignant moment, he asked dozens of students to sign his yearbook before graduation and was devastated to see that they had signed it with insulting nicknames and disparaging remarks.
Season three saw Sam settle in at Denton University, and make new friends in college. In season four, Sam moved into an apartment with Zahid and finally accomplished one of his main goals: to be independent and stop living with his parents. Although Sam and Zahid both found it hard to get used to the other’s rules and unusual habits, they eventually reached a comfortable middle ground.
From losing his job at Techtropolis to trying to raise enough money for a trip to Antarctica, Sam dealt with plenty of curveballs during season four, which served to highlight his character development and personal growth. The series ended on a bittersweet note, with Sam hugging his mother and sister goodbye, as he and his father set off to explore the frozen continent.
Although Keir has worked in a handful of shows and films since “Atypicals” came to an end, his latest projects have failed to replicate the success of the Netflix series. Nevertheless, the actor is reportedly worth $400,000.
Keir is currently in a long-term relationship with his “Atypical” co-star Michelle Farrah Huang. Although Michelle only appeared in seven episodes, she and Keir met on set of the series and soon became inseparable. Despite keeping things lowkey, the couple have been photographed together plenty of times over the years, either at red carpet events or during casual outings. A University of California graduate, Michelle is known for her work in “The Disappointment Tour”, and “Killing Animals”.