Esten was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but moved to Alexandria, Virginia at age 9. He attended T.C. Williams High School and the College of William and Mary, where he was a brother of Theta Delta Chi, where he graduated with a degree in economics and met his eventual wife, Patty. At William and Mary, he was the lead vocalist in the band N'est Pas from 1985 until 1988, one year after his graduation. After graduating from college and marrying his wife, Esten moved to the United Kingdom to make his theatrical debut, winning massive acclaim for his tiny role in the musical Buddy in the early 1990's.
In that role he was honored to perform for H.R.M Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, and eventually President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush at The White House. He was also very honored to perform with Jerry Allison and Joe B. Mauldin, Buddy’s original hitmaking bandmates, the Crickets.
It was during his run as Buddy that Esten first appeared on the original British version of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?,” with Ryan Stiles and Greg Proops. When “Whose Line” came to ABC, he became a recurring cast member and frequent song improvisor. Since then he has appeared on Drew Carey’s Improvaganza and toured frequently, performing live improv shows with Stiles, Proops and Jeff B. Davis.
Esten’s many additional television credits include recurring roles on “Big Love,” “Enlightened,” “The Office” and “ER.” Besides being the father on Disney Channel’s “Jessie,” he has been a Klingon on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” a secretary on “Murphy Brown” and Kelly Bundy’s fiance on the series finale of “Married with Children.” His film credits include “Swing Vote,” “Thirteen Days,” “61*” and “The Postman.”
During his first season on “Nashville,” Esten was honored to perform in the Grand Ole Opry and the historic Ryman auditorium. He sings on the Season One Vol. 1 soundtrack, which has sold over 1.5 million tracks to date.
- Well known for his appearances in the famous comedy show Whose Line is it Anyway? (as Chip Esten)
- Esten and his wife have two daughters (Taylor and Addie) and a son (Chase).
To view the Charles Esten gallery, click here.