Kevin Spacey


26 Jul 1959


South Orange, New Jersey, USA


Kevin Spacey Fowler


As enigmatic as he is talented, Kevin Spacey has always kept the details of his private life closely guarded. As he explained in a 1998 interview with the London Evening Standard, "the less you know about me, the easier it is to convince you that I am that character on screen. It allows an audience to come into a movie theatre and believe I am that person".

There are, however, certain biographical facts to be had - for starters, Kevin Spacey Fowler was the youngest of three children born to Kathleen Ann (Knutson) and Thomas Geoffrey Fowler, in South Orange, New Jersey. His ancestry includes Swedish (from his maternal grandfather) and English. His mother was a personal secretary, his father a technical writer whose irregular job prospects led the family all over the country. The family eventually settled in southern California, where young Kevin developed into quite a little hellion - after he set his sister's tree house on fire, he was shipped off to the Northridge Military Academy, only to be thrown out a few months later for pinging a classmate on the head with a tire. Spacey then found his way to Chatsworth High School in the San Fernando Valley, where he managed to channel his dramatic tendencies into a successful amateur acting career. In his senior year, he played "Captain von Trapp" opposite classmate Mare Winningham's "Maria" in "The Sound of Music" (the pair later graduated as co-valedictorians). Spacey claims that his interest in acting - and his nearly encyclopedic accumulation of film knowledge - began at an early age, when he would sneak downstairs to watch the late late show on TV. Later, in high school, he and his friends cut class to catch revival films at the NuArt Theater. The adolescent Spacey worked up celebrity impersonations (James Stewart and Johnny Carson were two of his favorites) to try out on the amateur comedy club circuit.

He briefly attended Los Angeles Valley College, then left (on the advice of another Chatsworth classmate, Val Kilmer) to join the drama program at Juilliard. After two years of training he was anxious to work, so he quit Juilliard sans diploma and signed up with the New York Shakespeare Festival. His first professional stage appearance was as a messenger in the 1981 production of "Henry VI".

Festival head Joseph Papp ushered the young actor out into the "real world" of theater, and the next year Spacey made his Broadway debut in Henrik Ibsen's "Ghosts". He quickly proved himself as an energetic and versatile performer (at one point, he rotated through all the parts in David Rabe's "Hurlyburly"). In 1986, he had the chance to work with his idol and future mentor, Jack Lemmon, on a production of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night". While his interest soon turned to film, Spacey would remain active in the theater community - in 1991, he won a Tony Award for his turn as "Uncle Louie" in Neil Simon's Broadway hit "Lost in Yonkers" and, in 1999, he returned to the boards for a revival of O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh".

Spacey's film career began modestly, with a small part as a subway thief in Heartburn (1986). Deemed more of a "character actor" than a "leading man", he stayed on the periphery in his next few films, but attracted attention for his turn as beady-eyed villain "Mel Profitt" on the TV series Wiseguy (1987). Profitt was the first in a long line of dark, manipulative characters that would eventually make Kevin Spacey a household name: he went on to play a sinister office manager in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), a sadistic Hollywood exec in Swimming with Sharks (1994), and, most famously, creepy, smooth-talking eyewitness Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects (1995).

The "Suspects" role earned Spacey an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and catapulted him into the limelight. That same year, he turned in another complex, eerie performance in David Fincher's thriller Se7en (1995) (Spacey refused billing on the film, fearing that it might compromise the ending if audiences were waiting for him to appear). By now, the scripts were pouring in. After appearing in Al Pacino's Looking for Richard (1996), Spacey made his own directorial debut with Albino Alligator (1996), a low-key but well received hostage drama. He then jumped back into acting, winning critical accolades for his turns as flashy detective Jack Vincennes in L.A. Confidential (1997) and genteel, closeted murder suspect Jim Williams in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997). In October 1999, just four days after the dark suburban satire American Beauty (1999) opened in US theaters, Spacey received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Little did organizers know that his role in Beauty would turn out to be his biggest success yet - as Lester Burnham, a middle-aged corporate cog on the brink of psychological meltdown, he tapped into a funny, savage character that captured audiences' imaginations and earned him a Best Actor Oscar.

No longer relegated to offbeat supporting parts, Spacey seems poised to redefine himself as a Hollywood headliner. He says he's finished exploring the dark side - but, given his attraction to complex characters, that mischievous twinkle will never be too far from his eyes.

In February 2003 Spacey made a major move back to the theatre. He was appointed Artistic Director of the new company set up to save the famous Old Vic theatre, The Old Vic Theatre Company. Although he did not undertake to stop appearing in movies altogether, he undertook to remain in this leading post for ten years, and to act in as well as to direct plays during that time. His first production, of which he was the director, was the September 2004 British premiere of the play Cloaca by Maria Goos (made into a film, Cloaca (2003)). Spacey made his UK Shakespearean debut in the title role in Richard II in 2005. In 2006 he got movie director Robert Altman to direct for the stage the little-known Arthur Miller play Resurrection Blues, but that was a dismal failure. However Spacey remained optimistic, and insisted that a few mistakes are part of the learning process. He starred thereafter with great success in Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten along with Colm Meaney and Eve Best, and in 2007 that show transferred to Broadway. In February 2008 Spacey put on a revival of the David Mamet 1988 play Speed-the-Plow in which he took one of the three roles, the others being taken by Jeff Goldblum and Laura Michelle Kelly.

In 2013, Spacey took on the lead role in an original Netflix series, House of Cards (2013). Based upon a British show of the same name, House of Cards is an American political drama. The show's first season received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination to include outstanding lead actor in a drama series.

Actor ( 157 credits )

Baby Driver (2017) Doc
The Boss Baby (2017) (voice)
Rebel in the Rye (2017) Whit Burnett
Elvis & Nixon (2016) Richard Nixon
Billionaire Boys Club (2016) Ron Levin
Unity (2015) Narrator (voice)
Late Show with Stephen Colbert (2015)  Himself / ... (2 episodes, 2015-2016)
Horrible Bosses 2 (2014) Dave Harken
Mad As Hell (2014) Himself (archive footage)
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2014)  Himself / ... (1 episode, 2014)
Bystander Revolution (2014)  Himself (7 episodes, 2014)
East 'N' Style (2014)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2014)
Nature Is Speaking (2014)  The Rainforest (1 episode, 2014)
House of Cards (2013)  Francis Underwood (26 episodes, 2013-2014)
The Ventriloquist (2012) The Ventriloquist
Envelope (2012) Evgeniy
Spirit of a Denture (2012) Dr. Robert Middling
The Diamond Queen (2012)  Himself - Actor (1 episode, 2012)
MSN Exclusives (2012)  Himself (2014)
Welcome to the Basement (2012)  John Williamson (archive footage) (1 episode, 2012)
Inseparable (2011) Chuck
Being Mean Is So Much Fun (2011) Harken (archive footage)
A Decade of Difference: A Concert Celebrating 10 Years of the William J. Clinton Foundation (2011) Himself
Clinton Foundation: Celebrity Division (2011) Himself
Horrible Bosses (2011) Dave Harken
Shakespeare High (2011) Himself
Margin Call (2011) Sam Rogers
The Organ Grinder's Monkey (2011) Fatty
Father of Invention (2010) Robert Axle
Casino Jack (2010) Jack Abramoff
Conan (2010)  Himself / ... (2 episodes, 2010-2011)
Special Collector's Edition (2010)  Himself / ... (1 episode, 2011)
Gorilla School (2010)  Narrator
IMDb's 20th Anniversary Star of the Day (2010)  Himself (1 episode, 2010)
The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009) Larry Hooper
My Big Break (2009) Himself
Shrink (2009) Henry
Hackers Wanted (2009) Himself - Narrator (voice)
Moon (2009) GERTY (voice)
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2009)  Himself (1 episode, 2011)
In the House with Peter Bart & Peter Guber (2009) (1 episode, 2010)
Söndagsparty med Filip och Fredrik (2009)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2009)
Telstar: The Joe Meek Story (2008) Major Wilfred Banks
The Applicant (2008) Human Resources (uncredited)
21 (2008) Micky Rosa
Fama Show (2008)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
Machine Child (2007) (voice)
Fred Claus (2007) Clyde
The Spirit of Money (2007) Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Chelsea Lately (2007)  Francis Underwood in 'House of Cards' / ... (2 episode
Up Close with Carrie Keagan (2007)  Himself (1 episode, 2010)
Superman Returns (2006) Lex Luthor
Uganda Rising (2006) Narrator (voice)
The Interrogation of Leo and Lisa (2006) Interrogator
Close Up (2006)  Actor / ... (1 episode, 2011)
Movie Rush (2006)  Himself
Edison (2005) Wallace
The Colbert Report (2005)  Himself / ... (2 episodes, 2011-2013)
Made in Hollywood (2005)  Himself (1 episode, 2010)
20 to 1 (2005)  Lester Burnham (uncredited) (1 episode, 2007)
Cinema mil (2005)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
Sunday AM (2005)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
Going Hollywood (2005)  Himself
Martial Law 9/11: Rise of the Police State (2005) Narrator (archive footage)
Beyond the Sea (2004) Bobby Darin
Freedom2speak v2.0 (2004) Himself - Actor, USA
Tavis Smiley (2004)  Himself (1 episode, 2010)
The Tony Danza Show (2004)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
The Life of David Gale (2003) David Gale
The United States of Leland (2003) Albert T. Fitzgerald
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2003)  Himself (2 episodes, 2010-2014)
Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003)  Himself (1 episode, 2014)
Shootout (2003)  Himself (2 episodes, 2004-2008)
Enough Rope with Andrew Denton (2003)  Himself (1 episode, 2006)
Freedom: A History of Us (2003)  Gouvenor Morris / ... (6 episodes, 2003)
Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) Himself / Famous Dr. Evil ('Austinpussy')
HypaSpace (2002)  Himself (1 episode, 2006)
Listen Up! Charles Barkley with Ernie Johnson (2002)  Himself (1 episode, 2002)
The Tower of Babble (2002) Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
The Shipping News (2001) Quoyle
K-PAX (2001) Prot
Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure (2001) Narrator (voice)
Richard & Judy (2001)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000) Michael Lynch
The Final Days (2000) Himself
Pay It Forward (2000) Eugene Simonet
Rotten TV (2000)  Himself (1 episode, 2000)
Breakfast (2000)  Himself - Guest (2 episodes, 2008-2010)
The Big Kahuna (1999) Larry Mann
American Beauty (1999) Lester Burnham
Hurlyburly (1998) Mickey
A Bug's Life (1998) Hopper (voice)
The Negotiator (1998) Chris Sabian
The Howard Stern Radio Show (1998)  Himself (1 episode, 1999)
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) Jim Williams
L.A. Confidential (1997) Jack Vincennes
The View (1997)  Himself (1 episode, 2004)
Corazón de... (1997)  Himself (2 episodes, 2006)
Metropolis (1997)  Himself (1 episode, 2011)
A Time to Kill (1996) D.A. Rufus Buckley
The O'Reilly Factor (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 2012)
Fox Report w/ Shepard Smith (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 2014)
Theater Talk (1996)  Himself - Guest (2 episodes, 2012)
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1996)  Himself (4 episodes, 2001-2014)
Caiga quien caiga (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
Looking for Richard (1996) Himself / Earl of Buckingham
Se7en (1995) John Doe
Outbreak (1995) Casey Schuler
The Usual Suspects (1995) Roger 'Verbal' Kint
E! Live from the Red Carpet (1995)  Himself (5 episodes, 2014-2015)
The Ref (1994) Lloyd Chasseur
Iron Will (1994) Harry Kingsley
Swimming with Sharks (1994) Buddy Ackerman
Inside the Actors Studio (1994)  Himself (1 episode, 2000)
Extra (1994)  Himself (3 episodes, 2014)
Late Show with David Letterman (1993)  Himself / ... (12 episodes, 1997-2014)
GMTV (1993)  Himself (1 episode, 2004)
Tribeca (1993)  Chris Boden (1 episode, 1993)
Quelli che... il calcio (1993)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
Breakfast with Frost (1993)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1993)  Himself (5 episodes, 1999-2008)
Consenting Adults (1992) Eddy Otis
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) John Williamson
HBO First Look (1992)  Himself (3 episodes, 1995-2006)
Gomorron (1992)  Himself (1 episode, 2000)
Días de cine (1991)  Himself (2 episodes, 2009-2011)
Charlie Rose (1991)  Himself - Guest / ... (17 episodes, 1996-2014)
Henry & June (1990) Richard Osborn
A Show of Force (1990) Frank Curtin
Dad (1989) Mario
See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) Kirgo
Unsub (1989)  Benton (1 episode, 1989)
Working Girl (1988) Bob Speck
Rocket Gibraltar (1988) Dwayne Hanson
Live with Kelly and Michael (1988)  Himself (5 episodes, 2004-2011)
This Morning (1988)  Himself (3 episodes, 2004-2008)
The American Experience (1988)  Himself - Reader (1 episode, 2001)
Wiseguy (1987)  Mel Profitt (7 episodes, 1988)
Biography (1987)  Himself (1 episode, 2004)
Heartburn (1986) Subway Thief
L.A. Law (1986)  Giles Keenan (1 episode, 1992)
Crime Story (1986)  Senator Rourke (1 episode, 1987)
The Equalizer (1985)  Detective Sgt. Cole (1 episode, 1987)
American Masters (1985)  Narrator (1 episode, 2012)
Larry King Live (1985)  Himself (1 episode, 2001)
Cinema 3 (1984)  Himself (1 episode, 2011)
Entertainment Tonight (1981)  Himself (3 episodes, 2000-2008)
Newsnight (1980)  Himself (1 episode, 2007)
CBS News Sunday Morning (1979)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2014)
The South Bank Show (1978)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
Hollywood Greats (1977)  Himself (1 episode, 2006)
Working in the Theatre (1976)  Himself - Actor (1 episode, 2007)
Saturday Night Live (1975)  Himself - Host / ... (2 episodes, 1997-2006)
Arena (1975)  Himself (1 episode, 2012)
Parkinson (1971)  Himself (3 episodes, 2002-2006)
Today (1952)  Himself (2 episodes, 2008-2009)
Nine Lives (0)

Producer ( 28 credits )

Untitled Dianne Dreyer Project (2016) executive producer
Captain Phillips (2013) executive producer
The Smile Man (2013) producer
House of Cards (2013) executive producer (26 episodes, 2013-2014)
The Ventriloquist (2012) producer
Envelope (2012) producer
Spirit of a Denture (2012) producer
Safe (2012) executive producer
Inseparable (2011) executive producer
Shakespeare High (2011) executive producer
Father of Invention (2010) producer
The Social Network (2010) executive producer
Fanboys (2009) producer
Shrink (2009) producer
Hackers Wanted (2009) producer
Columbus Day (2008) producer
21 (2008) producer
Bernard and Doris (2006) executive producer
Mini's First Time (2006) producer
The Good Student (2006) executive producer
The Sasquatch Gang (2006) producer
Beyond the Sea (2004) producer (2004) producer
The United States of Leland (2003) producer
Uncle Frank (2002) executive producer
Interstate 84 (2000) executive producer
The Big Kahuna (1999) producer
Swimming with Sharks (1994) co-producer

Writer ( 1 credit )

Beyond the Sea (2004) (written by) and

Director ( 2 credits )

Beyond the Sea (2004)
Albino Alligator (1996)