-----Lea Michele Sarfati was born August 29, 1986, in the Bronx, New York. She grew up in Tenafly, New Jersey.
Michele adopted her stage name at an early age; when she went on her first audition, she gave her name as "Lea Michele," and has used it ever since. She has stated that she changed it because she was teased about the pronunciation of her last name.
She made her Broadway debut in 1995, as a replacement in the role of Young Cosette in Les Misérables. This was followed by the role of Tateh's daughter, the Little Girl, in the 1998 original Broadway cast of Ragtime.
In 2004 - during her senior year of high school - Michele played Shprintze in the Broadway revival of the musical Fiddler on the Roof. (She also sang on the 2004 Broadway revival cast recording of Fiddler on the Roof.)
Lea played the role of Wendla in Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik's musical version of Spring Awakening, starring in early workshops and Off-Broadway and finally originating the role in the Broadway production in 2006 at the age of 20. Around the same time that the show was set to go to Broadway, she was offered the role of Eponine in the Broadway revival of Les Misérables. She elected to remain with Spring Awakening, which debuted on Broadway in December 2006. She was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her performance in Spring Awakening in the category of Outstanding Actress in a Musical.
Michele stars in the Fox musical comedy-drama series, Glee, as Rachel Berry, the show's female lead and star singer. The role of Rachel was written specifically for Michele.
Michele has won a number of awards for her portrayal of Rachel. At the 2009 Satellite Awards, she won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical or Comedy Television Series. In 2010, Michele won the NewNowNext Awards for Brink of Fame: Actor.
In 2009, she was nominated for a Teen Choice Award in the category "Choice TV Breakout Star". That same year, Michele was nominated for 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 received another Teen Choice Award nomination in 2010 for "Choice TV Actress: Comedy". Michele was included in Time magazine's 2010 list of the 100 Most Influential People In the World. She won the 2012 People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Comedy Actress.
In December 2010, Michele received Billboard's First-Ever Triple Threat Award. Michele was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 2011. The first for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals ("Don't Stop Believin'"), the second for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media (Glee: The Music, Volume 1).
She was nominated again for "Best Actress- Television Series Musical or Comedy" at the 2011 Golden Globe Awards.
In 2010, FHM named her No.7 on their “Sexiest Women List.”
Lea started recording her first solo album in October 2012.
She dated Glee co-star Cory Monteith until his death on July 13, 2013.