Jeffrey Kenton Duty (born May 12, 1995) is an American actor and musician. He stars as the flamboyant European exchange student Gunther Hessenheffer on the Disney Channel original series Shake It Up.
Kenton Duty was born Jeffrey Kenton Duty on May 12, 1995. He was born and raised in Plano, Texas and has two younger siblings, twin sisters born in 1999. Duty first began studying acting at the age of 9, when his parents suggested he attend a summer musical theater workshop to help him feel comfortable in front of an audience for school presentations. It was at the summer workshop that he discovered he had a love for musical theater, and it was there that he would also meet the casting director who would ask him to audition for his first play, A Christmas Carol.
Kenton Duty began his acting career in Dallas, Texas when he was 9 years old in the Dallas Theater Center's stage production of A Christmas Carol, and appeared on-stage again the following year with a principal role in Ragtime. Duty began auditioning for roles in Los Angeles after he was discovered at a workshop at the Young Actors Studio in Dallas, Texas by Hollywood talent agent Cindy Osbrink and she invited him to come to California to audition for pilot season. He has appeared in numerous national commercials for McDonalds, Walmart, Pizza Hut, and Mattel. Duty first gained popular notoriety in the role of "Young Jacob" on the hit TV series Lost, although no one, including Duty himself, knew who his character was until nearly the final episode of the series. He was billed simply as “Teenage Boy”. Duty currently co-stars on the Disney Channel original series Shake It Up! as the flamboyant dancer/fashion designer Gunther Hessenheffer alongside Caroline Sunshine as his fraternal twin sister Tinka. The glitzy brother/sister duo of Günther and Tinka is said to be inspired by Ryan and Sharpay Evans of Disney's High School Musical franchise.
Duty currently lives in Los Angeles with his parents and two younger twin sisters. Duty loves animals and dreamed of becoming a veterinarian before beginning his acting career. He has a pet guinea pig named "Peanut", and his own horse that he keeps on his grandmother's property. Duty's hobbies include baking, cooking, and horseback riding. He is a pescetarian. He also enjoys singing, playing guitar and songwriting. Before beginning work on the TV series Shake It Up, Duty played guitar and sang in the band KGMC Gigmasters with Braeden Lemasters and fellow Lost co-star Dylan Minnette.
When he isn't working, Duty involves himself with charitable causes including the Disney's Friends for Change initiative which benefits environmental charities through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, the Starlight Children's Foundation which is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with chronic and life-threatening medical conditions, and Land O'Frost's "Lunch Box for Good Program" which helps Hands On Nashville provide assistance for the victims of the 2010 Tennessee floods. In addition to his charity work, Duty has been an outspoken voice against school bullying.