Kevin Spacey biography 2022

Actor Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey biography

Kevin Spacey was born July 26, 1959, in South Orange, New Jersey, USA.

While it was rumored that the origin of his last name is the combination of "Spencer" and "Tracey," Spacey is, in fact, his mother's maiden name.

The youngest of three children, Spacey was always the troublemaker during his childhood. Because his father was a technical writer, the Fowler family was forced to move around the country and finally settled in Southern California, where a young Kevin set his sister's tree house on fire.

His father sent him off to Northridge Military Academy as a punishment, but he didn't last too long as he was expelled for throwing a tire at a classmate's head. Perhaps this was for the best since he next attended Chatsworth High School in the San Fernando Valley, where he honed his acting skills.

Kevin Spacey participated in drama in high school and was Captain Von Trapp to fellow actress Mare Winningham's Maria in a school production of The Sound of Music. The valedictorian headed off to Julliard thanks to classmate Val Kilmer's encouragement.

The aspiring actor didn't last there long (from 1979 until 1981) because he was anxious to pursue his acting career. The Julliard student (he left before receiving his diploma) next signed up with the New York Shakespeare Festival, where he performed with John Goodman and Mandy Patinkin.

Spacey made his theatrical debut with the production of Henry VI and became a regular on the theater circuit. Shakespeare in the Park Festival head Joseph Papp threw him into natural acting. Spacey made his Broadway debut in Ibsen's Ghosts. While auditioning for a part in another play, he caught the attention of director Mike Nichols. The latter cast him in his production of Hurly Burly.

One of the most meaningful roles for Kevin Spacey was his co-starring part in a 1986 production of O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night, where he worked with Jack Lemmon, his future mentor. Spacey made his film debut as a subway thief in 1986's Heartburn, which he followed up with a TV role in Wiseguy.

He returned to Mike Nichols' direction in 1988's Working Girl as a sleazy businessman. The beginning of the '90s was marked by small yet memorable roles by Spacey in films such as 1990's Henry & June and 1992's Glengarry Glen Ross and Consenting Adults. He earned respect and critical acclaim in 1994's Swimming with Sharks, a film in which he co-produced and portrayed the boss from hell.

The role garnered Kevin Spacey a New York Film Critics Circle Award and marked the beginning of an era for Spacey and Hollywood, for that matter.

1995 was a banner year for Spacey, with a starring role in Outbreak.

A portrayal of John Doe in the thriller "Se7en"; and the role of Roger "Verbal" Kint in The Usual Suspects, which garnered him Best Supporting Actor awards from the Academy Awards, the National Board of Reviews, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Boston Society of Film Critics, and the Broadcast Film Critics Association, to name a few. These were in addition to the awards he won by the same associations for his role in "Se7en".

In 1996, Kevin Spacey starred in A Time to Kill (with Sandra Bullock), Looking for Richard, directed by Al Pacino, and followed this up in 1997's critical favorite, LA Confidential. His portrayal as Sergeant Jack Vincennes raked in even more awards, such as the Boston Society of Film Critics and the Society of Texas Film Critics, both for Best Supporting Actor. He also won the latter for his role in 1997's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

After 1998's The Negotiator and A Bug's Life, Spacey blew audiences away with his portrayal of Lester Burnham in American Beauty satire. The role of father and husband, who starts to smoke pot and work out, and turn his life around, changed from the usually villainous characters he has portrayed. His work garnered him a list of awards, namely the Oscar for Best Actor and the Screen Actors Guild award for Male Actor in a Leading Role.

He was the director's first choice to prove that Spacey was made for this role. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame four days after the movie opened. After making such a splash with American Beauty, Spacey starred in The Big Kahuna, and Pay It Forward, co-starring Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment.

Despite his success, he still delved into the theater world throughout his film career, with roles in a 1991 Broadway production of Lost in Yonkers and in 1999's Broadway adaptation of The Iceman Cometh, which also received critical acclaim. He also delved into directing with 1996's Albino Alligator.

Spacey can now be seen in the much-anticipated film K-PAX, which features Spacey as a man who claims he's from the planet Prot and is therefore deemed delusional by his doctor and those on earth. He can also be seen in The Shipping News and The Life of David Gale in 2002.

last updated October 2022

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