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Spacey in April 2009
|Born||Kevin Spacey Fowler
July 26, 1959
South Orange, New Jersey, United States
|Occupation||Actor, director, producer, screenwriter|
|Years active||1981 – present|
Kevin Spacey, CBE (born July 26, 1959) is an American actor, director, screenwriter, producer, and crooner. He grew up in California, and began his career as a stage actor during the 1980s, before being cast in supporting roles in film and television. He gained critical acclaim in the early 1990s, culminating in his first Academy Award for The Usual Suspects (Best Supporting Actor), followed by a Best Actor Academy Award win for American Beauty (1999). His other starring roles in Hollywood include Seven, L.A. Confidential, Pay It Forward, and Superman Returns in a career which has eventually earned him Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Since 2003, he has been artistic director of the Old Vic theatre in London.
He was born Kevin Spacey Fowler in South Orange, New Jersey, the son of Kathleen Ann (née Knutson; December 5, 1931 – March 19, 2003), a secretary, and Thomas Geoffrey Fowler (June 4, 1924 – December 24, 1992), a technical writer and data consultant. He has two older siblings: a sister, Julie, and a brother, Randy. He attended Northridge Military Academy, from which he was expelled, Canoga Park High School (in tenth and eleventh grades), and then Chatsworth High School in Chatsworth, California, where he graduated valedictorian of his class. At Chatsworth High, he starred in the school's senior production of The Sound of Music, playing the part of Captain Georg von Trapp, opposite Mare Winningham's character, Maria. While in high school, he took on his paternal grandmother's maiden name, "Spacey", originally a Yorkshire name, as his acting surname. Several reports have incorrectly suggested that he took his name in tribute to actor Spencer Tracy, combining Tracy's first and last names. He had tried to succeed as a stand–up comedian for several years, before attending the Juilliard School in New York City, where he studied drama, between 1979 and 1981. During this time period, Spacey performed stand–up comedy in bowling alley talent contests.
Spacey's first professional stage appearance was as a spear-carrier in a New York Shakespeare Festival performance of Henry VI, part 1 in 1981. The following year, he made his first Broadway appearance as Oswald in a production of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts, starring Liv Ullmann. Then he portrayed Philinte in Molière's The Misanthrope. In 1984, it was David Rabe's Hurlyburly where, energetic and fabulously adaptable, Spacey rotated through each of the male parts (he'd later appear as Mickey in the screen version too). Next came Anton Chekhov's The Seagull and a period, in 1986, performing Sleuth in a New Jersey dinner theatre.
But his prominence as a stage actor really began in 1986, when he was cast opposite Jack Lemmon, Peter Gallagher and Bethel Leslie as Jamie, the eldest Tyrone son in Jonathan Miller's lauded production of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night. Lemmon in particular would become a mentor to Spacey. He made his first major television appearance in the second season premiere of Crime Story, playing a Kennedy-esque American senator. Although his interest soon turned to film, Spacey remained actively involved in the live theatre community. In 1991, he won a Tony Award for his portrayal of "Uncle Louie" in Neil Simon's Broadway hit Lost in Yonkers. Spacey's father was unconvinced that Spacey could make a career for himself as an actor, and did not change his mind until Spacey became a well known theatre actor.
Some of Spacey's earlier roles include a widowed eccentric millionaire on L.A. Law, the made–for–television film The Murder of Mary Phagan (1988), opposite Jack Lemmon, and the Richard Pryor/ Gene Wilder–starring comedy See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989). Spacey earned an avid fan base following, after playing the criminally insane arms dealer Mel Profitt on the television series Wiseguy. He quickly developed a reputation as a character actor, and was cast in bigger roles, including one-half of the bickering Connecticut couple in the dark comedy The Ref (1994), a malicious Hollywood studio boss in the satire Swimming with Sharks, and the put-upon office manager in the all-star ensemble film Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), gaining him positive notices by critics.
His performance as the enigmatic criminal Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects launched him to A-list status and won him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Spacey appeared in the 1995 thriller film Seven, with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, making a sudden and unexpected entrance late in the film as the serial killer John Doe, after going unmentioned in the film's advertisements and opening credits. His work in Seven, The Usual Suspects, and Outbreak earned him Best Supporting Actor honours at the 1995 Society of Texas Film Critics Awards.
Spacey played an egomaniacal district attorney in A Time to Kill (1996), and founded Trigger Street Productions in 1997, with the purpose of producing and developing entertainment across various media. He made his directorial debut with the film Albino Alligator (1996). The film was a failure at the box office, grossing $339,379 with a budget of $6 million, but critics praised Spacey's direction. He also did voice work in Pixar's A Bug's Life (1998) voicing the main antagonist Hopper, the leader of a vicious gang of grasshoppers.
Spacey won universal praise and a Best Actor Oscar for his role as a depressed suburban father who re-evaluates his life in 1999's American Beauty; the same year, he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Spacey also earned another Tony nomination the same year for his work in a Broadway production of The Iceman Cometh. During the several years following American Beauty's release, Spacey appeared in films that he believes hadn't done as well critically or in terms of box office. In 2001, Spacey co-hosted with Judi Dench Unite for the Future Gala, the UK's fundraiser for the British Victims of 9/11 and Médecins Sans Frontières at London's Old Vic Theatre, produced by Harvey Goldsmith and Dominic Madden.
He played a physically and emotionally scarred grade school teacher in Pay It Forward (2000), a patient in a mental institution, who may or may not be an alien in K-Pax (2001), and singer Bobby Darin in Beyond the Sea (2004). Beyond The Sea was a lifelong dream project for Spacey, who took on co-writing, directing, co-producing and starring duties in the biography/musical about Darin's life, career, and relationship with late actress Sandra Dee. Facing little interest for backing in the States, Spacey went to the UK and Germany for funding. Almost all of the movie was filmed in Berlin. Spacey provided his own vocals on the Beyond the Sea soundtrack and appeared in several tribute concerts around the time of the film's release. He received mostly positive reviews for his singing, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for his performance. However, reviewers criticized the age disparity between Spacey and Darin, noting that Spacey was too old to convincingly portray Darin, particularly during the early stages of the singer's life depicted in the film. Spacey has said that despite criticism, he is still proud of the film.
Spacey hosted Saturday Night Live twice: first in 1997 with musical guest Beck and special guests Michael Palin and John Cleese from Monty Python's Flying Circus. In this episode, Spacey parodied Christopher Walken, Walter Matthau, and Jack Lemmon in a three-part pre-taped sketch about actors who auditioned for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope; and again in the last episode of season 31 with musical guest Nelly Furtado where Spacey played a detective in the sketch "Two A-Holes At A Crime Scene", one of the Falconer's past selves in Will Forte's sketch, "The Falconer", a parody of Neil Young, and as himself in a parody of The Usual Suspects.
In 2006, Spacey played Lex Luthor in the Bryan Singer–directed superhero film, Superman Returns. He was to return for its 2009 sequel, but it was recently revealed that there won't be a chronological sequel; it is currently unknown if he has been asked to resume the role in any future films. Spacey also appeared in Edison, co-starring Morgan Freeman and Justin Timberlake; Edison received a direct–to–video release on July 18, 2006. In 2008, he played an MIT lecturer in the film 21, along with Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, and Jim Sturgess. The film is based on Ben Mezrich's best seller, Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions, a story of student MIT card-counters who used mathematical probability to aid them in card games such as blackjack.
Spacey is well-known in Hollywood for his impressions as when he appeared on Inside the Actors Studio he imitated, at host James Lipton's request: James Stewart, Johnny Carson, Katharine Hepburn, Clint Eastwood, John Gielgud, Marlon Brando, Christopher Walken, Al Pacino and Jack Lemmon.
Capitol/ EMI's album Forever Cool (2007) features two duets with Spacey and the voice of the late Dean Martin: "Ain't That a Kick in the Head" and "King of the Road."
Spacey sits on the Board of Directors of the Motion Picture and Television Fund.
The Old Vic
In February 2003, Spacey announced that he was returning to London to become the artistic director of the Old Vic, one of the city's oldest theatres. Appearing at a press conference with Judi Dench and Elton John, he promised both to appear on stage and to bring in big-name talent. Spacey undertook to remain in the post for a full ten years. The Old Vic Theatre Company, in its current form, stages shows eight months out of the year. Spacey's first season started in September 2004, and opened with the British premiere of the play Cloaca by Maria Goos, directed by Spacey, which opened to mixed reviews. In the 2005 season, Spacey made his UK Shakespearean debut, to good notices, in the title role of Richard II directed by Trevor Nunn.
In mid–2006, Spacey felt he was having the time of his life working at the Old Vic. At this point in his career, he was "trying to do things now that are much bigger and outside himself". He performed in productions of National Anthems by Dennis McIntyre, and The Philadelphia Story by Philip Barry in which he played C. K. Dexter Haven, the Cary Grant role in the film version. Critics applauded Spacey's daring for taking on the management of a theatre, but noted that while his acting was impressive, his skills and judgment as a producer/manager had yet to develop.
In the 2006 season, Spacey suffered a major setback with a production of Arthur Miller's Resurrection Blues, directed by Robert Altman. Despite an all-star cast (including Neve Campbell and Matthew Modine) and the pedigree of Miller's script, Spacey's decision to lure Altman to the stage proved disastrous: after a fraught rehearsal period, the play opened to a critical panning, and closed after only a few weeks. Later in the year, Spacey starred in Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten, along with Colm Meaney and Eve Best. The play received excellent reviews for Spacey and Best, and was transferred to Broadway in 2007.
For the spring part of the 2007–08 season, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Michelle Kelly joined Spacey as the three characters in David Mamet's 1988 play Speed-the-Plow.
In January 2009, he directed the premiere of Joe Sutton's Complicit, with Richard Dreyfuss, David Suchet and Elizabeth McGovern.
In June 2009 it was announced that Trevor Nunn will return to direct Spacey in a revival of Inherit The Wind. Previews were scheduled to begin in September 2009. Based on a true story of a teacher arrested for teaching his students evolution also known as the " Scopes monkey trial", Spacey plays defense lawyer Henry Drummond, a role that was made famous by actor Spencer Tracy in the 1960 film of the same name.
Spacey was awarded an Doctor of Letters, honoris causa from the London South Bank University in November 2005.
In June 2008, he was appointed as Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at St Catherine's College, Oxford, succeeding Patrick Stewart in the post. He was officially welcomed on October 13, 2008.
In September 2006, Spacey announced his intention to stay on at the Old Vic for at least another nine years, and that due to his continuing UK residency he intends to take up British citizenship when it becomes available to him.
Spacey is a staunch Democrat and a friend of former US President Bill Clinton, having met Clinton before his presidency began. Spacey has described Clinton as "one of the shining lights" of the political process. According to Federal Election Commission data, Spacey has contributed US$42,000 to Democratic candidates and committees. He additionally made a cameo appearance in President Clinton: Final Days, a light-hearted political satire produced by the Clinton administration for the White House Correspondents Dinner.
In September 2007, Spacey met Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. Neither of them spoke to the press about their encounter, but hours later the actor visited the government-funded movie studio, Villa del Cine (Cinema City). In December of that year, he co-hosted the Nobel Peace Prize Concert with Uma Thurman.
Spacey is unmarried and vehemently protects his private life, about which very little is known. This generated tabloid press rumors that he might be gay; however, Spacey has repeatedly denied them over the years, for example in Playboy (October 1999), in The Sunday Times Magazine (December 19, 1999) and implicitly in Gotham Magazine (May 2007). Moreover, April Winchell revealed, in broadcasts of her KFI show, on her web diary and several other websites, that she and Spacey dated for a while after high school, during a run of the musical Gypsy, and later went to New York together. She and Spacey have remained friends.
Between 1992 and 2000, Spacey discreetly dated Dianne Dreyer, script supervisor to Anthony Minghella, M. Night Shyamalan and Sydney Pollack.
|1986||Heartburn||Subway Thief||First Motion Picture|
|1988||Working Girl||Bob Speck|
|Rocket Gibraltar||Dwayne Hanson|
|Wiseguy||Mel Profitt||television series|
|See No Evil, Hear No Evil||Kirgo|
|1991||Henry & June||Richard Osborn|
|Darrow||Clarence Darrow||Released in UK only|
|A Show of Force||Frank Curtin|
|1992||Consenting Adults||Eddy Otis|
|Glengarry Glen Ross||John Williamson|
|1994||The Ref||Lloyd Chasseur|
|Iron Will||Harry Kingsley|
|1995||Seven||John Doe|| MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor — also for The Usual Suspects, Swimming with Sharks, Outbreak
Society of Texas Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor — also for The Usual Suspects, Outbreak
|The Usual Suspects||Roger 'Verbal' Kint|| Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actor
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor — also for Seven, Swimming with Sharks, Outbreak
Seattle International Film Festival Award for Best Actor
Society of Texas Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor — also for Seven, Outbreak
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role - Motion Picture
|Swimming with Sharks||Buddy Ackerman|| New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor — also for The Usual Suspects, Swimming with Sharks, Outbreak
Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
|Outbreak||Maj. Casey Schuler|| New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor — also for Seven, Swimming with Sharks
Society of Texas Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor — also for The Usual Suspects, Seven
|1996||Looking for Richard||Himself, Duke of Buckingham|
|A Time to Kill||D.A. Rufus Buckley|
|1997||Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil||James 'Jim' Williams||Society of Texas Film Critics Award for Best Actor|
|L.A. Confidential||Det. Sgt. Jack Vincennes|| Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actor
Empire Award for Best Actor
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
|Albino Alligator||director only|
|The Negotiator||Lt. Chris Sabian|
|A Bug's Life||Hopper||(voice)|
|1999||American Beauty||Lester Burnham|| Academy Award for Best Actor
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Chlotrudis Award for Best Actor
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Russian Guild of Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Actor
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Empire Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
|2000||Ordinary Decent Criminal||Michael Lynch||also producer|
|Pay It Forward||Eugene Simonet|
|The Big Kahuna||Larry Mann||also producer|
|2001||The Shipping News||Quoyle||Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
|Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure||Narrator||(voice)|
|2002||Austin Powers in Goldmember||Himself||playing Doctor Evil in a film|
|2003||The Life of David Gale||David Gale|
|2004||Beyond the Sea||Bobby Darin||also director/writer/producer
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
|The United States of Leland||Albert T. Fitzgerald||also producer|
|Superman Returns||Lex Luthor|
|2007||Fred Claus||Clyde Northcut|
|Recount||Ron Klain||Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor - Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Male Actor - Miniseries or Television Film
|The Men Who Stare at Goats||Larry Hooper|
|2010||Casino Jack||Jack Abramoff||Nominated— Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy|
|Father of Invention||Robert Axle||post-production|
|2004||Beyond the Sea||Nominated — Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
with Phil Ramone
|1997||" That Old Black Magic"||from the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil soundtrack|
- " Mind Games" — Come Together: A Night for John Lennon's Words and Music — October 2, 2001 — Radio City Music Hall