Gavin McHugh is a 13-year-old American actor, probably best known for playing Christopher Diaz in the “9-1-1” TV series since 2018. The series covers fictional situations based on real-life events that first responders, primarily emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and firefighters, handle daily. He fell in love with the character so much that he asked people to call him Cristopher in real life. Gavin McHugh is disabled with cerebral palsy in real life, which helped viewers understand the congenital condition better.
Gavin Nicholas McHugh was born on 6 May 2010, in Latvia; he was adopted by Lisa and Michael “Mike” McHugh from the country’s capital, Riga, when he was two and a half. Ed was a left-handed pitcher for the Texas Rangers in the minor baseball league. Gavin is the youngest of five siblings and has two brothers, Logan and Flynn, and sisters, Lia Ryan and Shea. Gavin’s uncurable cerebral palsy affects his ability to move, and maintain posture and balance.
His mother told TeenVogue that Gavin has mild hip dysplasia, weakness on his left side, cortical visual impairment, and spastic diplegia affecting his legs. He isn’t alone; about 500,00 children under 18 have cerebral palsy. Furthermore, according to Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation statistics, up to a million people in the US and roughly 18 million globally have the condition.
Flynn McHugh was born on 26 June 2000, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, and made his stage debut at seven in Atlanta, Georgia. He was best known for his guest role as Cameron in the sixth season of the “Shameless” TV series, and for playing Tank in “The 5th Wave” movie that year. Logan McHugh played Cody in “Survivor’s Remorse”, and Michael Massey in “Your Worst Nightmare” in one episode of each TV series in 2015, but was best known as Bill/Phil Lambert in the “Hot Summer Nights” 2017 movie.
Shea played the role of a schoolgirl in an episode of the “Powers” TV series in 2015, and had a minor role in the 2016 movie “Miracles from Heaven.” Lia Ryan was born on 18 November 2005 in Pittsburgh. She had notable roles as Jessica Nolan in the “American Woman” TV series in 2018 and several horror films such as “Totem” in 2017, “The Lodge” in 2019, and “A House on the Bayou.”
— FOX (@FOXTV) December 3, 2020
Early education, source of career
Gavin’s family moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles, California in 2015, because his siblings wanted to pursue acting. He was in kindergarten then, and while studying also focused on working with his physical therapists to improve his muscle control and strength. However, having five children meant that his parents couldn’t always hire a babysitter, and Gavin became interested in acting when they drove his siblings to auditions, with him in tow.
After he saw how fun being on set is, Gavin told his parents that he would like to audition, and to the surprise of his family and siblings, he received much interest. That was expected in hindsight; brands that sought authenticity and representation showered Gavin with offers because inclusivity and diversity became more common in the entertainment industry. According to his Ability Magazine interview, Gavin wasn’t home-schooled, because he got along well with his peers and did well in class. His mother said that his friends love him, and tell her whenever he gets a star for his behavior. In 2020, Gavin showed his diploma from the Walt Disney Elementary School in Tullytown, Pennsylvania, which he likely attended remotely.
After being signed to Leslie Allan-Rice Management, Gavin appeared in nationwide commercials for brands such as Lincoln Financial, Target, Walmart, and Adventist Health. He also worked for Tommy Hilfiger’s Adaptive fashion collection, appeared in commercials for the automotive brand Honda, and modeled for the covers of Los Angeles Magazine and Family Fun Magazine. Once his name garnered some attention, Gavin advertised businesses that he liked or used; examples include A Walk on Water surf therapy, Inspired by Drive products for special needs users, and Shane’s Inspiration UAPs (universally accessible playgrounds) for children of all abilities.
One of Gavin’s first roles was his appearance in the 2014 documentary, “Called by Mary.” He had a minor uncredited role in the story about the Order of Malta and its journey to the Massabielle grotto outside of Lourdes, Hautes-Pyrénées, France, the site of about 18 apparitions of the Virgin Mary, whom the Roman Catholic Church has venerated as Our Lady of Lourdes.
Actor Gavin McHugh (911) and Actor Micah Fowler (Speechless)
Starring in “9-1-1”
Gavin made his official acting debut as Christopher Diaz in the second episode of the second season of “9-1-1.” He was the casting director’s early favorite, and the co-creator and showrunner, Tim Minear, said that it only required one look at his audition for him to know that he was ‘the one, because he was so genuine, sweet, and special.’ In the first episode, his character was saved from a monumental earthquake in Los Angeles that wrecked a massive high-rise hotel, making the audience instantly empathize with his disability.
That season, Gavin remained a guest star, but the storyline made him even more likable and relatable. Christopher was born with cerebral palsy, but instead of receiving the needed help, his mother, Shannon Diaz, left him as a child to care for her brother, who had cancer. Additionally, Christopher’s father, Eddie, played by Ryan Guzman, had to rush home from a tour in Afghanistan as an army medic to be there for his birth in Texas. Eddie subsequently raised him as a single father, after initially returning to Afghanistan to earn money to pay Christopher’s medical bills. Things improved when Eddie relocated to California with Christopher, after he landed a job at the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Gavin was upgraded to the regular cast in the third season, primarily because the plot involved him spending time with family and the firefighters at his father’s unit, Station 118. Everyone loved having him around, but Evan “Buck” Buckley, played by Oliver Stark, had a special connection and eventually became his god-father.
Gavin played Christopher until the last episode of the sixth “9-1-1” season, the last before Fox canceled the TV series. Thankfully, around the time it premiered on 15 May 2023, ABC television network announced that it had purchased the license, and that the seventh season would air the following year. It’s unclear whether Gavin will return, because the viewers don’t know if Christopher is alive. A tsunami hit the pier that he was on, and he disappeared in the muddy waters. Buck was still searching for him when the episode ended.
Gavin McHugh isn’t dating anyone publicly and hasn’t expressed a crush on anyone, a celebrity, friend, or co-worker.
- Gavin has a picture with the first fan who recognized him as Christopher in 2018, a woman named Mindy.
- He presented Tommy Hilfiger with an award from The Arc for creating the Adaptive collection. The Arc is a non-profit that protects the human rights of people with developmental or intellectual disabilities
- He has an excellent memory, so his family enjoys helping him memorize lines for his roles.
- Gavin has a knack for multiplication.
- He used to dress as a Wolverine for Halloween. When his mom told him that he needed to get sideburns, he asked if they would burn.
- Gavin’s family has two dogs, Walker and |Freddy, and uploads images and videos of their life to the Instagram account @freddyandwalker.
- Gavin enjoys reading on the couch, grocery shopping, going to the beach, and surfing when he’s not working. He also enjoys swimming and boating with his family.
- Gavin surfed with Timmy Hazelip, the founder of Mighty Under Dogs, a surf therapy organization based in Malibu, California.
- He would recommend acting as a career choice to his peers, because it ‘made him feel special and boosted his confidence and sense of self-worth.’
- Gavin has a close bond with his on-screen father and sometimes calls him Dad. He said that he gives actor Ryan Guzman hugs because he loves him and feels loved by him.
- Gavin’s scenes in the third season, when the tsunami engulfs the Santa Monica Pier, were shot at the water tank that director James Cameron built for the movie “Titanic” in Mexico in 1996.
- His favorite memory of the third season was the scene where Buck had to carry him away from the tide; although Gavin was supposed to be petrified of the waves, he couldn’t stop laughing.
- Gavin would like to break a salad bowl, which Christopher did in the eighth episode of the fourth season, and slide down a firefighter’s pole one day.
- He can play the piano.
- Some fans wrongly assume that Gavin is related to the Scottish-Irish singer Lisa McHugh or the American actress and model Caitlin McHugh.
- Gavin would love to continue acting in “9-1-1” forever, according to his interview with Cinema-MovieTheater.com. However, when the end inevitable comes, he’d want to star in a movie.
- Gavin once swallowed the retainer in his mouth during sleep.
- He claims that he isn’t scared of anything; the closest thing is his fear of donkeys because one bit his leg when he was four.
- One of his favorite bands is calledOld Dominion, but his all-time favorite is The Beatles.
- He sings during car rides and is a soprano.
- Gavin enjoys burgers that one of his best friends, Tyler, makes when they go to the pool. He also loves visiting the Salt & Pepper restaurantwhere his sister Shea works; he usually orders steak, eggs, and biscuits.
- Gavin organized a fundraiserfor the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital in 2023; he recorded custom messages for his fans using the Cameo.com platform to collect money and earned about $1,800.
- His favorite American Football team is The Pittsburgh Steelers, but he follows Los Angeles Rams
- He enjoys going to Disneyland; one of his favorite places is the view from The Polynesian Village Resort.
- He learned to ride a horse despite his disability.
- Boxer Mike Tyson and basketball player Dennis Rodman once recognized him at the airport, and wanted to meet him.
- He would’ve been a basketball player if he wasn’t an actor.
- Gavin celebrated his13th birthday by watching the 2021 “Dear Evan Hansen” film. He received one of his favorite book series, “The Penderwicks,” as a gift, and liked it more than more expensive ones, such as Apple AirPods Max headphones.
- Gavin enjoys the fall seasonand related activities, such as pumpkin carving.
According to his official resume, Gavin McHugh has green eyes and light brown hair, is 4ft 9ins (1.45m) tall, and weighs about 75lbs (34kgs.) Unlike some people with cerebral palsy, he rarely uses a wheelchair, only canes, and has a signature pair of red ones. He also began wearing braces in 2023 and wears glasses, commonly with black or brown rims.
Gavin McHugh has a net worth of $500,000. While he appeared in over 75 episodes of “9-1-1,” most as part of the regular cast, and could return for the seventh season on ABC under a new contract, he started acting as a child and doesn’t play the lead role.