Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey

His role as a ruthless Hollywood executive in 'Swimming with Sharks' (1994)

Background:

“I think I am a much better actor than I have allowed myself to be.” Kevin
Spacey

One of the great actors of the world, Kevin Spacey gained worldwide popularity
for his spectacular portrayal of Lester Burnham, a man in a mid-life crisis, in
Sam Mendes’ drama American Beauty (1999). For his excellent performance, he took
home countless awards including an Academy award. He was also impressive for his
supporting turn as Roger ‘Verbal’ Kint in Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects
(1995), in which he nabbed another Academy award.

Aside from his large screen career, the actor also made a name for himself as an
accomplished stage actor with his award-winning performance in plays like “Lost
in Yonkers” (1991), wherein his execution of the role Uncle Louie won Spacey a
Tony award. His next turn in Iceman Cometh (1998) handed him several awards like
a London Evening Standard award and a 1999 Olivier award.

Off screen, Spacey visited Africa in September 2002 with former US president
Bill Clinton to fight AIDS and encourage economic development in Ghana, Nigeria,
Rwanda, Mozambique and South Africa. He also appeared at Britain’s Labor Party
Conference, where Clinton made a speech.

He also launched a website along with Bono and Mike Myers, targeted to aspiring
screenwriters so they have a channel for their scripts or clips. In 2003,
alongside Elton John, Spacey saved one of London’s famous theaters, the Old Vic,
by presenting a star-studded charity concert to raise $826,000 for the repairing
of the theater’s roof. He later became the artistic director of the theater.

On a more private note, one of the 1998 Entertainment Weekly’s “25 Best Actors,”
Spacey has not allowed anyone to enter his romantic life despite the 24-hour
public attention he undergoes. He calmly denied the rumors of his relationship
with Helen Hunt and Diane Drier as well as the gossip of his status as gay,
although he was once wrongly put on a Famous Gay and Lesbian educational list
given to the students of British schools. Upon the questions of his sexual
preference, he remarked, “My sexuality should not matter.”


Co-Valedictorian

Childhood and Family:

On July 26, 1959, Kevin Matthew Fowler was born in South Orange, New Jersey, to
Thomas Fowler (technical writer, died on Christmas Eve 1993) and Kathleen Fowler
(secretary, died of brain tumor in 2003). Due to his father’s irregular job,
Kevin, the youngest son of the family, joined his mother and siblings Randall
and Julie Ann as they traveled across the country before finally settling down
in California.

The rebellious young Kevin, who burnt his sister’s tree house and later threw a
tire at his classmate in Northridge Military Academy, showed his interest in
acting at a very early age. He liked to sneak off and watched the late show on
TV, and in high school, he watched films at the NuArt Theater in the middle of
school days.

After being kicked out from Northridge Military Academy in 1977, he attended
Chatsworth High School in San Fernando Valley, where he graduated as
co-valedictorian with actress Mare Winningham. Upon graduation, he briefly
enrolled with the Los Angeles Valley College, but soon dropped out following the
suggestion of Chatsworth classmate, actor Val Kilmer, to attend The Juilliard
School in New York, where he studied drama for 1979 to 1981. Kevin later left
his studies to pursue an acting career.

As for his romantic life, Kevin, who changed his surname Fowler to his mother’s
maiden name Spacey, enjoys keeping his private life out of the spotlight.


The Usual Suspect

Career:

“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.” Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey’s first experience in acting began in high school when he performed
as Captain von Trapp, opposite Mare Winningham, in the play “The Sound of
Music.” He then tried stand-up comedy and hosted a pilot of an ABC stand-up
show, although the show was never aired. After leaving The Juilliard School,
Spacey went to Joe Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival (NYSF) and made his
professional stage debut in “Henry VI, Part I.” Spacey made his first Broadway
appearance in “Ibsen’s Ghosts” the following year. In 1984, when he joined an
audition for Mike Nichols’ “The Real Thing,” he was offered Nichols’ another
play, “Hurlyburly,” in which he played the three male leading roles of Phil,
Mickey and Eddie. He also appeared as Jamie Tyrone in O’Neill’s controversial
play “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” (1986), wherein Jack Lemmon, his idol, had
the leading role of the family’s father.

The same year, 5’11 inch tall Spacey had his big screen debut in Mike Nichols’
Heartburn, taking the part of a subway thief, and a year later, in 1987, he made
his first TV appearance by guest starring as Senator Rourke in the TV series
“Crime Story.” Spacey reprised his stage role of Jamie Tyrone for the film
version of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, before having supporting roles in the
TV movie The Murder of Mary Phagan (1988) as well as in the TV series “Wiseguy”
(1988, as Mel Profitt). Next up for Spacey, he was seen in such movies as Rocket
Gibraltar (1988, portraying Dwayne Hanson), Dad (1989, playing Mario), Henry &
June (1990, as Richard Osborn), and Darrow (1991, TV), where he played the title
character.

Back on stage, Spacey portrayed the gangster wannabe Uncle Louie in Neil Simon’s
Broadway popular play Lost in Yonkers (1991), which won him a Tony Award and a
Drama Desk for Best Featured Actor in a Play. His potential soon put him on the
radar of actor-director Al Pacino, who cast him in the supporting role of John
Williamson in the wide screen movie Glengarry Glen Ross (1992). Spacey’s bravura
acting nabbed him a Valladolid International Film Festival for Best Actor. With
films like Consenting Adults (1992), Iron Will (1994) and The Ref (1994),
Spacey’s popularity was lifted higher and he starred and co-produced George
Huang’s satire Swimming with Sharks (1994). Playing Buddy Ackerman, a cruel
Hollywood movie producer, he was garnered a New York Film Critics Circle and a
Broadcast Film Critics Association award.

The actor gained even more recognition in the following year when director Bryan
Singer cast him in the starring role of Roger ‘Verbal’ Kint in The Usual
Suspects (1995). Delivering a remarkable performance, Spacey took home such
awards as an Oscar, a Screen Actors Guild and a National Board of Review for
Best Supporting Actor.

Still in 1995, Spacey played the supporting part of an army major facing a
potential health threat, Major Casey Schuler, in Wolfgang Petersen’s sci-fi
thriller Outbreak. Outstanding in his part, he picked up a New York Film Critics
Circle, a Society of Texas Film Critics and a Broadcast Film Critics Association
award. Spacey soon found himself acting together with Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman
and Gwyneth Paltrow in Se7en (1995). His part as cold-blooded murderer John Doe
in the thriller won him a New York Film Critics Circle for Best Supporting Actor
and a 1997 MTV Movie award for Best Villain.

The actor then shifted gears and had his directorial debut in the hostage drama
Albino Alligator (1996), in which he directed Gary Sinise, Matt Dillon and Viggo
Mortensen. Returning to acting, Spacey played D.A. Rufus Buckley in Joel
Schumacher’s adaptation of John Grisham’s novel, A Time to Kill (1996), before
undertaking the starring turn as Detective Jack Vincennes, opposite Russell
Crowe, in the drama-thriller L.A. Confidential (1997). His superb performance in
the latter won him a Boston Society of Film Critics and a Society of Texas Film
Critics for Best Supporting Actor and earned him a BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild
nomination.

He continued delivering good performances in Midnight in the Garden of Good and
Evil (1997, as James ‘Jim’ Williams), The Negotiator (1998, as Lt. Chris Sabian)
and in the big screen version of Hurlyburly (1998, reprising the role of
Mickey). Also in 1998, Spacey attracted attention with his notable stage
performance as Theodore ‘Hickey’ Hickman, a hardware salesman, in Eugene
O’Neill’s revival of “Iceman Cometh” (1998). Giving a different perspective on
the character, Spacey’s performance earned much kudos and he won a London
Evening Standard, a London Critics’ Circle, as well as a 1999 Olivier for
Outstanding Actor in a Play.

After providing his voice for Hopper in the famous animated movie A Bug’s Life
(1998) and its sequel It’s Tough to Be a Bug (1999), Spacey’s fame skyrocketed
even higher when he was cast in the leading role of Lester Burnham in Sam
Mendes’ American Beauty (1999), opposite Annette Benning. His portrayal of a man
in a mid-life crisis netted numerous awards, such as an Academy Award and a
BAFTA. Also, he earned two Screen Actors Guilds for Outstanding Performance by a
Male Actor in a Leading Role and for Outstanding Performance by a Cast (shared
with cast mates). For the same role, Spacey also earned Golden Globe and Screen
Actors Guild nominations.

His self-produced “The Big Kahuna” (1999), in which he also starred as Larry
Mann, which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival before its big screen release
in 2000. He was then seen in Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000), Pay It Forward
(2000), K-Pax (2001) and The Shipping News (2001), as well as Austin Powers’
Goldmember (2002), The United States of Leland (2003) and The Life of David Gale
(2003, playing the title character). In the biographical film Beyond the Sea
(2004), Spacey, who starred as singer Bobby Darin, also served as a director and
storywriter.

The artistic director of London’s Old Vic Theatre was recently seen in Edison
(2005), playing Wallace, alongside Morgan Freeman and pop singer Justin
Timberlake. The multi-talented actor will soon costar in the upcoming Bryan
Singer’s Superman Returns (2006). The film also stars Brandon Routh, Kate
Bosworth, James Marsden and Frank Langella.


Awards:

Palm Springs International Film Festival: Sonny Bono Visionary Award for
Acting, Directing and Producing, 2004
San Francisco International Film Festival: Peter J. Owens Award, 2002
Young Hollywood: Role Model Award, 2002
Golden Apple: Golden Apple - Male Star of the Year, 2001
Sundance Film Festival: Piper-Heidsieck Tribute to Independent Vision,
2000
Oscar: Best Actor in a Leading Role, American Beauty, 2000
BAFTA: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, American Beauty,
2000
Chicago Film Critics Association: Best Actor, American Beauty, 2000
Dallas-Forth Worth Film Critics Association: Best Actor, American
Beauty, 2000
Florida Film Critics Circle: Best Actor, American Beauty, 2000
Kansas City Film Critics Circle: Best Actor, American Beauty, 2000
Las Vegas Film Critics Society: Sierra Award - Best Actor, American
Beauty, 2000
London Critics Circle Film: Actor of the Year, American Beauty, 2000
Online Film Critics Society: Best Actor, American Beauty, 2000
Online Film Critics Society: Best Ensemble, American Beauty, 2000
Russian Guild of Film Critics: Golden Aries - Best Foreign Actor,
American Beauty, 2000
Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a
Leading Role, American Beauty, 2000
Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by a Cast (Theatrical
Motion Picture), American Beauty, shared with cast mates, 2000
Southeastern Film Critics Association: Best Actor, American Beauty, 2000
Sundance Film Festival: Tribute to Independent Vision Award, 2000
Toronto Film Critics Association: Best Actor, American Beauty, 1999
San Diego Film Critics Society: Best Actor, American Beauty, 1999
Boston Film Festival: Film Excellence Award, 1999
Outer Critics Circle: Outstanding Actor in a Play, The Iceman Cometh,
1999
Olivier: Best Actor in a Play, The Iceman Cometh, 1999
London Evening Standard: Best Actor, The Iceman Cometh, 1998
London Critics’ Circle: Best Actor, The Iceman Cometh, 1998
Cinequest San Jose Film Festival: Maverick Tribute Award, 1998
Empire: Best Actor, L.A. Confidential, 1998
London Critics Circle Film: Special Achievement Award, 1998
Boston Society of Film Critics: Best Supporting Actor, L.A.
Confidential, 1997
Society of Texas Film Critics: Best Supporting Actor, L.A. Confidential
and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, 1997
MTV Movie Award: Best Villain, Se7en, 1996
Oscar: Best Actor in a Supporting Role, The Usual Suspects, 1996
Broadcast Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actor, 1996
Chicago Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actor, The Usual
Suspects, 1996
Dallas-Forth Worth Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actor, The
Usual Suspects, 1996
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards: Best Supporting Actor, The Usual
Suspects, 1995
National Board of Review: Best Ensemble Performance, The Usual Suspects,
1995
National Board of Review: Best Supporting Actor, The Usual Suspects and
Seven, 1995
Seattle International Film Festival: Golden Space Needle Award - Best
Actor, The Usual Suspects, 1995
New York Film Critics Circle: Best Supporting Actor, Seven, The Usual
Suspects, Swimming with Sharks and Outbreak, 1995
Society of Texas Film Critics: Best Supporting Actor, The Usual
Suspects, Seven and Outbreak, 1995
Broadcast Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actor, The Usual
Suspects, Seven, Swimming with Sharks and Outbreak, 1995
Valladolid International Film Festival: Best Actor, Glengarry Glen Ross,
1992
Tony: Best Featured Actor in a Play, Lost in Yonkers, 1991
Drama Desk: Best Featured Actor in a Play, Lost in Yonkers, 1991
Whats my favourite book? It changes all the time.More Kevin Spacey quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
I went through a period of great rebellion within my family, when I was about 9 or 10. I was mad, I had no focus, had no real interest in anything, and so I started to do things that were just rebellious and stupid.More Kevin Spacey quotes [10/08/2011 01:10:22]
You've got to trust the ground you're standing on and the work you've done in telling your story. The goal should be to bring those thousands of people - viewers - together and make them one. When you feel that happening, it's usually in silence, not applause or laughter.More Kevin Spacey quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
It is not about whether you are an executive, a studio or a network. If you have a story or an idea you can build a following for it.More Kevin Spacey quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
Netflix did it right and focused on all the things that have replaced the dumb, raw numbers of the Nielsen world - they embraced targeted marketing and 'brand' as a virtue higher than ratings.More Kevin Spacey quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]

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