At this point I feel like we've all seen an episode or two of Criminal Minds; the super popular CBS procedural crime drama slated to debut its 13th season on September 27th, 2017.
Most fans of Criminal Minds are familiar with Dr. Spencer Reid, the eidetic memory-having super genius who tags along with the team and inserts all sorts of crazy facts and puzzle solving skills into their antics. There are many interesting facts about Spencer Reid as a character, from his graduation from high school at age 12 to his ability to read 20,000 words per minute. What fans might not know, however, is that the actor behind Dr. Reid, Matthew Gray Gubler, is fascinating in his own right. The 37-year-old cast member has accomplished many things in his life, and his artistic career has been multi-faceted, way beyond just playing Dr. Spencer Reid. So if we have any fans of Gray Gubler in the building, these next 15 facts will make them love him more.
15 He Was Born And Raised In Las Vegas
Like Dr. Spencer Reid, Matthew Gray Gubler was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada (though Gubler graduated high school at the age of 18, not 12).
On March 9th, 1980, he was born to Marilyn Gubler (a rancher and political consultant) and John Gubler (an attorney). Fun fact: having a father for an attorney is another thing he shares with Dr. Spencer Reid.
Matthew Gray Gubler’s family has actually been in Las Vegas for a very long time, passing through generations to when Las Vegas was only a small town of around 10,000 people, rather than the huge, vibrant metropolis that it is today. Gubler attended the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Visual and Performing Arts, where he majored in acting. But that was not what he actually wanted to do. He only chose acting because his high school did not offer his true youthful passion, which was film making ( I'll explore more on this in a second).
14 He Used To Model Before Acting
Once he reached college age, Gubler decided to pursue his passion for filmmaking at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and moved to New York to attend classes there. While he was studying, he was discovered by a modeling scout (because, come on, those cheekbones are wild), and was signed to DNA Model Management. In the course of his modeling career, which he used to finance his filmmaking, he modeled for Calvin Klein, American Eagle, Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, and many other well known fashion establishments. At a certain point, he became so popular as a model and— excelled tremendously on the runway—that he was included on a list of the top 50 male models in the world (on which, if you are curious, he ranked 46th). In interviews, he has said that he actually can’t believe he was a serious fashion model, calling it “the craziest thing of all.”
13 He Loves Doing Magic Tricks
Fans of Criminal Minds will know that Dr. Spencer Reed is a big fan of magic tricks. From optical illusions to card tricks to physic based balancing acts, Dr. Reid loves to pull out a trick and perform for friends and strangers alike. And, to the great delight of many of his fans (myself included), this is a trait that Matthew Gray Gubler shares with the character he portrays.
As a once popular YouTube video showed, he may not exactly be as good as his genius persona on Criminal Minds is at actually pulling off tricks, but he is better than most people at the old sleight of hand. This definitely has to do, at least in part, with his background. When he was only six years old, he expressed an interest in magic (possibly because he was surrounded by magicians in his native Las Vegas all the time), and his parents hired a magic tutor to teach him some tricks. He still loves doing magic tricks and playing pranks on his Criminal Minds cast members.
12 He Is Best Friends With Paget Brewster
In Criminal Minds, the whole team is definitely portrayed as close, almost like a family. However, there seems to be an especially close bond between Spencer Reid and Emily Prentiss, and Reid is especially devastated by Prentiss’ sudden departure in season six. There is a reason behind that perceived chemistry: in real life, Matthew Gray Gubler and Paget Brewster (the actress who plays Emily Prentiss) are actually best friends.
He frequently describes her as his closest friend, and even says that she’s like a female version of him (or, more specifically, like a “more female” version of him).
Gubler and Brewster are frequently seen hanging out on set, as well as off set, and the two are often at one another's houses, just hanging out. Personally, I am insanely jelly of that friendship on both sides. Like, how cool would it be to get to work every single day with your best friend? And also, how cool would it be if your best friend was Paget Brewster OR Matthew Gray Gubler?
11 He Is A Registered Minister Because Of Paget
Okay, so I just told you about the ultimate cuteness that is Matthew Gray Gubler’s friendship with Paget Brewster. If you liked that, folks, I suggest you buckle in, because you’re going to love this. Apparently, Gubler actually introduced Brewster to the man she would eventually marry. Steve Damstra was a close friend of Gubler’s from before he was on Criminal Minds, and he was the one who had the idea to introduce him to Brewster.
Brewster and Damstra totally hit it off, eventually fell in love, and then decided to get married. When they got engaged, they actually asked Matthew Gray Gubler to be the officiant at their wedding, which he accepted.
In October of 2014, he actually got himself officially ordained as a minister, and married Brewster and Damstra a little over a month later. Talk about a serious bond of friendship, and I right? Also, I’m going to wager to bet that the Gubes is one of the hottest officially registered ministers out there.
10 He Was Bullied As A Kid, And Prefers Being Called Matthew Rather Than Matt Because Of It
Yet another thing that Matthew Gray Gubler has in common with Dr. Spencer Reid (and this time, unfortunately) is the fact that he was bullied as a kid. He is adamant that though bullying was unpleasant at the time, it ultimately made him stronger, and totally unabashed about loving what he loves. “I like full heartedly,” he said, “with my heart anything I enjoy… I like what I like. I encourage you to do the same. I’ve never been ashamed of anything I like. Don’t feel guilty if you like something. Everyone who ever told me I was a weirdo or a looser or not good at anything, because that, for whatever reason Inspired a fire inside me, that propelled me to be [where I am.]”
Despite this positive attitude, Matthew Gray Gubler specifically does not like to be called Matt, and instead prefers his full first name, Matthew, because he associates the nickname Matt with the people who used to bully him back in the day.
9 He Lives In A 'Haunted Treehouse'
At this point, knowing what I know about Matthew Gray Gubler, this doesn’t come as a surprise, but, guess what, he has a freaking awesome house. He lives out in Pasadena, in what he self-describes as a “haunted treehouse," a sprawling, foliage lined castle-esque building that used to be an old hotel in the 1920s. It has spiraling staircases and a fireplace that “looks like a drunk gnome had built it.”
The real kicker is all the stuff in his varied collection of household items: homemade stuffed animals, a specially appointed closet for his many silk kimonos, random antique shotguns stashed everywhere, and abandoned Bop Its. He tends to do interviews, like the one he did with Vanity Fair, in a floor length brown otter fur coat, that was once owned by Edward Gorey. Honestly, that sounds like the coolest guy in the world to me. I don’t know about y’all, but I would love to chill in that haunted treehouse.
8 He Not Only Acts: He Directs
As I said before, Matthew Gray Gubler’s first and most abiding love is filmmaking. Though we know him primarily for his work in front of the camera, he has accomplished quite a bit behind the camera, as well. He has directed eight episodes of Criminal Minds so far, the first of which was “Mosley Lane” (season five, episode 16). When it was established that Criminal Minds actress Paget Brewster, who plays Agent Emily Prentiss, would be leaving the show, she specifically requested that Matthew Gray Gubler direct her last episode. And, of course, he did (it’s called “Lauren”, and is episode 18 of season six).
7 He's Also A Talented Painter
In addition to both acting and directing, Matthew Gray Gubler also has another significant artistic gift. MGG is a talented painter, and a successful one to boot. His works can sell for around $10,000 per painting. In terms of mediums, he generally tends to use watercolor, gouache, oil, and pastel. His work has been very popular in gallery shows. For instance, in September of 2005, he had a showing of 12 of his watercolors by the Gallery of Fine Art in Ostrava, Czech Republic, and all 12 of the paintings sold. In September of 2006, his art was featured in a group show titled “Paper Cuts” at The Little Bird Art Gallery, and in July, 2010, some of his paintings were featured in Juxtapoz magazine. In October of 2011, an original watercolor by Gubler called “Mushface” sold on eBay for $10,100, which he donated to help fund film studies.
6 There's A Reason He Had To Walk With A Cane
During season five of Criminal Minds, Dr. Spencer Reid walks with a limp and a cane. In the universe of the show, this is because he was shot in the leg by an unsub while protecting a doctor. Throughout the season, he variously employs crutches, a cane, and a general limp. However, this injury actually had to be written into the script to accommodate a real life injury incurred by Matthew Gray Gubler himself. Basically, MGG got “a little too overzealous on the dance floor and managed to pretty much do something that most knee surgeons have never even thought possible or seen in their lives.” The injury was pretty severe, requiring surgery, and actually took nearly a year to heal. Fortunately, the Gubes is all better now, and can walk on his own free of crutches, canes, and limps. But it definitely changed the course of Dr. Spencer Reid’s character, if only a little bit.
5 And A YouTube Star
There are lots of things that stand out about Matthew Gray Gubler (to put it mildly). But one thing in particular that is worth noting is how on point he is when it comes to engaging fans via social media content. If you look at his YouTube page, you will find not only hilarious episode of his aforementioned mockumentary, Matthew Grey Gubler: The Unauthorized Documentary, but also some really wacky, hilarious stuff. Stuff like MGG imitating a depressed blowfish, MGG meeting a very excited fan, MGG singing karaoke in Tokyo, MGG doing both the Ice Bucket Challenge and the Cinnamon Challenge, and MGG hypnotizing a chicken (pro-tip: that one is really, really worth checking out, and is genuinely pretty impressive).
With all that YouTube prowess, it really isn’t any wonder that he has over 82,000 followers on YouTube alone, with individual videos getting hits in the 500K range. Well done, Gubes.
4 His Website Is Awesome
When it comes to website design, most celebrities don’t really have much to offer. It’s usually just the standard headshot, possibly some trivia, and maybe news about upcoming films and/or appearances. This is definitely not the case when it comes to everybody’s favorite weirdo, Matthew Gray Gubler. Gubler’s website is specifically designed to reflect the man’s quirky aesthetic. Named “Guberland,” it has many interactive elements, featuring music, sounds, animation, and many of Gubler’s own drawings. Visitors to the site are invited to fill out a “Passport” and to take an oath as a new “citizen” of Gublerland, which reads as follows: “I hereby vow to be an upstanding citizen of Gublerland, and will help old ladies cross the street, and pick up trash if I see any. I will be polite, friendly, only say nice things about people, and will do my best to make Gublerland a pleasant place to live. Welcome home, friend!”
Okay, how adorable is that?
3 He Interned For Wes Anderson
If you’re curious about how the Gubes pivoted into acting instead of primarily pursuing filmmaking, there’s one man that is mostly to be thanked for that. Fans of indie films will recognize his name immediately: none other than Wes Anderson, creator of films like The Royal Tenenbaums, Bottle Rocket, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. As it turned out, Matthew Gray Gubler actually interned for Wes Anderson as he was filming The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Anderson encouraged Gubler to get in front of the camera, actually creating a role for him (specifically, that of an intern on Zissou’s ship), and gave him his first break as a speaking, on-camera actor. For those who have seen the movie, it’s kind of a little treat to remember the intern character and realize that the guy who plays him is the same guy we’ve all come to know and love as Dr. Spencer Reid.
2 He Voiced Simon In The 'Alvin And The Chipmunks' Movie
If you happen to be a Matthew Gray Gubler fan who also saw The Chipmunk Movies (and its sequels) and thought you recognized a familiar voice, you did. MGG had a big role in 2007s Alvin and the Chipmunks, 2009s Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, 2011s Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, and 2015s Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip. Namely, he voiced Simon Seville, who, like Dr. Spencer Reid, is a super genius with a dry sense of humor and a keen wit. There’s definitely a type that Gubler tends to get cast in, even when it’s just voice acting, but I’m pretty okay with that since he tends to play that role pretty well. Though I personally didn’t see Alvin and the Chipmunks or any of its many sequels (seriously, who knew there were so many Alvin and the Chipmunk movies?!), I’m sure MGG was the best animated chipmunk genius he could be.
1 He Has Both Appeared In And Directed Music Videos
We’ve covered Matthew Gray Gubler being on TV and movies, and directing both TV and movies, but we have yet to mention that he has another medium in which he excels. The Gubes both writes and directs music videos, AND has even appeared in them.
As for his appearance, he was in Fatboy Slim’s video for "Wonderful Night" (he shows up around the one minute mark, if you’re interested). He also wrote and directed Whirlwind Heat’s video for their song, "Reagan", and has not one but two director credits for music videos of songs by the popular band The Killers.
In 2007, he was the director, editor, and co-producer of The Killers song, “Don’t Shoot Me, Santa”, and in 2015, he directed the music video for their song, “Dirt Sledding.” Both videos are pretty stellar, and you can definitely see the Gube’s signature beautiful weirdness shine through in all of them.