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Kevin Spacey (1959)

Kevin Spacey Fowler

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  Summary  

Kevin Spacey, CBE 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 , followed by a Best Actor Academy Award win for American Beauty . His other starring roles in Hollywood include Seven, L.A. Confidential, Pay It Forward, K-PAX, and Superman Returns in a career which has earned him several Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Since 2003, he has been artistic director of the Old Vic theatre in London.

  Biography  

 early life
Spacey was born 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, Canoga Park High School , and then Chatsworth High School in Chatsworth, Los Angeles, 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.

 career
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 he rotated through each of the male parts . Next came Anton Chekhov's The Seagull and a period, in 1986, performing Sleuth in a New Jersey dinner theatre.

His prominence as a stage actor 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 theater 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 well-known.

Some of Spacey's early roles include a widowed eccentric millionaire on L.A. Law, the made-for-television film The Murder of Mary Phagan , opposite Jack Lemmon, and the Richard Pryor/Gene Wilder–starring comedy See No Evil, Hear No Evil . Spacey earned a 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 , a malicious Hollywood studio boss in the satire Swimming with Sharks, and the malevolent office manager in the all-star ensemble film Glengarry Glen Ross , gaining him positive notices by critics. His performance as the enigmatic criminal Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects 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 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 honors at the 1995 Society of Texas Film Critics Awards.

Spacey played an egomaniacal district attorney in A Time to Kill , 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 . 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 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 , a patient in a mental institution, who may or may not be an alien in K-Pax , and singer Bobby Darin in Beyond the Sea . 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 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 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.

 personal life
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 spoke to the press about their encounter but hours later the actor visited the government-funded movie studio, Villa del Cine . In December of that year he co-hosted the Nobel Peace Prize Concert with Uma Thurman.

Spacey has never married and staunchly protects his private life. This has generated rumors regarding his sexual orientation. He has stated that he is not gay in the October 1999 issue of Playboy, in The Sunday Times Magazine and in the May 2007 issue of Gotham Magazine.

Voice actress 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.
Between 1992 and 2000, Spacey reportedly discreetly dated Dianne Dreyer, script supervisor to Anthony Minghella, M. Night Shyamalan and Sydney Pollack.

In March 2011, following Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko's crackdown on the Belarusian democracy movement, Spacey, along with Jude Law and others, joined street protests against Lukashenko. Spacey stated: "...they will never be able to ban the Belarus people's right to fight for their freedom and their voices to be heard, and that's what this protest is about."

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Kevin Spacey", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.