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Brent Spiner (1949)

Brent Jay Spiner

Type :  


Brent Jay Spiner is an American actor, best known for his portrayal of the android Lieutenant Commander Data in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and four subsequent films. His portrayal of Data in Star Trek: First Contact and of Dr. Brackish Okun in Independence Day, both in 1996, earned him a Saturn Award and Saturn Award nomination respectively. He has also enjoyed a career in the theatre and as a musician.


 early life
Spiner was born in Houston, Texas to Sylvia and Jack Spiner, who owned a furniture store. After his father's death, Spiner was adopted by Sylvia's second husband, Sol Mintz, whose surname he used between 1955 and 1975. Spiner attended Bellaire High School, Bellaire, Texas, where he was influenced by drama teacher Cecil Pickett—the same man who coached his daughter Cindy Pickett, and future actors Randy Quaid, Dennis Quaid, Trey Wilson, Robert Wuhl, and Thomas Schlamme. Spiner became active on the Bellaire Speech team, winning the national championship in dramatic interpretation. He attended the University of Houston where he performed in local theatre.

Spiner moved to New York City, where he became a stage actor, performing in several Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, including The Three Musketeers and Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George. He had a nonspeaking background role in the film Stardust Memories as one of the silent Felliniesque "grotesques" on Sandy Bates's train car.

Spiner appeared as a media technician in "The Advocates", a second season episode of the Showtime cable series The Paper Chase. In 1984 he moved to Los Angeles, where he appeared in several pilots and made-for-TV movies. He played a recurring character on Night Court, Bob Wheeler, patriarch of a rural family. In 1986 he played a condemned soul in "Dead Run", an episode of the short-lived revival of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone series on CBS. He made two appearances as characters in season 3 of the television show Mama's Family, playing two different characters. Spiner's first and only starring film role was in Rent Control . In the Cheers episode "Never Love a Goalie, Part II", he played acquitted murder suspect Bill Grand. Spiner also had a role in a Tales from the Darkside episode, "A Case Of The Stubborns", as a priest who experiences a crisis of faith. He portrayed Jim Stevens in the made-for-TV movie Manhunt for Claude Dallas.

 Star Trek

In 1987 Spiner started his 15-year run portraying Lieutenant Commander Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation, which spanned 7 seasons and 4 feature films. As a main character, he appeared in all but one of the series' 178 episodes; he was not in the episode, "Family". He reprised his role in the spin-off films, Star Trek: Generations , Star Trek: First Contact , Star Trek: Insurrection , and Star Trek: Nemesis . Although billed as the final Trek movie for the TNG cast, the ambiguous ending of Star Trek: Nemesis suggested a possible avenue for the return of Data. However, Spiner has opined that he is too old to continue playing the part, as Data embodies a "childlike innocence" that Spiner can no longer credibly exhibit, as his appearance already began to lose that quality by the time he filmed his last Trek films. In addition to the shows and films he voiced his character in several Star Trek video games, such as Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity, Star Trek: Hidden Evil, and Star Trek: Bridge Commander.

 Post-Star Trek
In 1991 Spiner recorded an album of 1940s pop standards entitled Ol' Yellow Eyes Is Back, the title of which was a play on the yellow contact lenses Spiner sported as Data and a Frank Sinatra's record, Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back.

In 1997 he returned to Broadway, playing John Adams in the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of the musical 1776. The production was nominated for a Tony Award. A cast recording was released of the revival production.

Spiner has appeared on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Friends, Dream On, Deadly Games, Mad About You, Gargoyles, Frasier, The Big Bang Theory, Joey, and The Outer Limits, as well as movie roles in Independence Day, Phenomenon, Out to Sea, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, Dude, Where's My Car?, The Ponder Heart, I Am Sam, The Master of Disguise, and The Aviator. His TV movie appearances during this period include the 2000 TV musical Geppetto, and playing Dorothy Dandridge's manager/confidant Earl Mills in the HBO production Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.

In 2004 Spiner returned to Star Trek when he appeared as Dr. Arik Soong, an ancestor of Data's creator Dr. Noonien Soong, whom he also played, in a three-episode story arc of Star Trek: Enterprise in "Borderland", "Cold Station 12", and "The Augments". He also briefly reprised the role of Data for the series, providing a voice-only cameo in the Enterprise finale, "These Are the Voyages...". Spiner guest-starred in Friends as a man who interviews Rachel for Gucci, and later cameoed as himself in the Friends spinoff, Joey.

In 2005 Spiner appeared in a short-lived science-fiction television series, Threshold, which was canceled in November of that year after 13 episodes. In 2006 he appeared in a feature film comedy, Material Girls, with Hilary and Haylie Duff.

During the tenth season of the sitcom Frasier, in the episode "Lilith Needs a Favor", Spiner made two brief cameos as a fellow airline passenger of Frasier Crane's ex-wife, Lilith Sternin.

In March 2008 Spiner performed alongside Maude Maggart in a radio show/musical, Dreamland. This was released as a CD album. In February 2008 Spiner joined the celebrities who feature on popular online sites like MySpace, under the name of 'The Real Brent Spiner'.

In 2008 Spiner played Dr. Strom in the feature film parody Superhero Movie. In February 2009 he played William Quint in "The Juror #6 Job", an episode of the drama series Leverage directed by his Next Generation co-star Jonathan Frakes. That same year he voiced himself in the Family Guy episode "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven".

In 2010 Spiner and fellow Star Trek: The Next Generation star LeVar Burton appeared on TWiT.tv's coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show.

In April 2011 Spiner began starring in Fresh Hell, a comic webseries in which he plays a version of himself, attempting to put his career back together after falling out of the limelight.

He appeared as Dr. Kern in the September 12, 2011 episode of the Syfy channel program Alphas entitled "Blind Spot". In October 2011 he appeared as himself in the episode "The Russian Rocket Reaction" of The Big Bang Theory. The day after his guest appearance on The Big Bang Theory, it was announced that Spiner would guest-star in the Young Justice episode "Revelation", providing the voice of the Joker.

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  Played TV shows  



Name Duration Released
Carolina in the Morning 00:00 1991
Long, Long Time 00:00 1991
It's a Sin 00:00 1991
Embraceable You 00:00 1991
Toot Toot Tootsie 00:00 1991
More Than You Know 00:00 1991
When I Fall in Love 00:00 1991
The Very Thought of You 00:00 1991
Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart 00:00 1991
Time After Time 00:00 1991
Marie 00:00 1991



  Music track





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