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James Spader
Spader at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con
James Todd Spader

(1960-02-07) February 7, 1960 (age 64)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Years active1978–present
Victoria Kheel
(m. 1987; div. 2004)
PartnerLeslie Stefanson (2002–present)

James Todd Spader (born February 7, 1960) is an American actor. He is known for often portraying eccentric and morally ambiguous characters. He started his career in critically acclaimed independent films before transitioning into television for which he received numerous awards and acclaim including three Primetime Emmy Awards as well as nominations for three Golden Globe Awards, and ten Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Spader started his career acting in youth-oriented films such as Tuff Turf (1985), Pretty in Pink (1986), and Mannequin (1987). His breakthrough role came with the Steven Soderbergh drama Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989) for which he received the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor. He then starred in films such as White Palace (1990), True Colors (1991), Stargate (1994), 2 Days in the Valley (1996), and Secretary (2002). Spader took supporting roles in Bob Roberts (1992), Wolf (1994), Lincoln (2012), and The Homesman (2014). He also voiced the role of Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).

His television roles include those of attorney Alan Shore in the last season of The Practice (2003–2004) and its spin-off Boston Legal (2004–2008), a role which earned him three Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He is also known for his role as Robert California in the sitcom The Office (2011–2012). Most recently, he starred as Raymond "Red" Reddington in the NBC crime series The Blacklist (2013–2023).

YouTube Encyclopedic

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    205 221
    3 476 462
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    344 811
  • James Spader's Biggest SECRETS Revealed..
  • Learn how James Spader Crafted Ultron in Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron Feaurette 'How James Spader Crafted Ultron' (2015) HD
  • NBC's "The Blacklist" actor James Spader films outside Borough Hall in St. George
  • James Spader 2007 - Outstanding Actor


Early life and education

Spader was born on February 7, 1960, in Boston and is the youngest of three children. His parents, Jean (née Fraser) and Stoddard ("Todd") Greenwood Spader, were both teachers.[1][2][3][4] He has two older sisters, Libby Spader and Annie Spader. According to Spader, he had a very progressive and liberal upbringing. "I was always around dominant and influential women, and that left a great impression".[5][6] Spader is a sixth-generation descendant of Connecticut politician Seth P. Beers;[7] co-founder of American School for the Deaf Laurent Clerc is his 3rd great-grandfather.[8]

During his early education, he attended many private schools, including The Pike School in Andover where his mother taught art, and the Brooks School in North Andover where his father was a teacher.[6] He later transferred to Phillips Academy, befriended former President John F. Kennedy's son John F. Kennedy Jr., dropped out at the age of seventeen, and moved to New York City to pursue his acting career.[9][2] While studying to become a full-time actor, Spader undertook jobs including bartending, teaching yoga, driving a meat truck, loading railroad cars, and being a stable boy.[9]

Acting career

Spader features in The Blacklist as Raymond Reddington

Spader's first major film role was in the film Endless Love (1981), and his first starring role was in Tuff Turf (1985). He rose to stardom in 1986, when he played the rich, arrogant playboy Steff in Pretty in Pink. He co-starred in Mannequin (1987) and the film adaptation of Less than Zero (1987), in which he played a drug dealer named Rip. Supporting roles in films such as Baby Boom (1987) and Wall Street (1987) followed until his breakthrough in Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), in which he played a sexual voyeur who complicates the lives of three Baton Rouge, Louisiana residents. For this performance he received the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival.[10]

Spader's roles in the early 1990s included a young, affluent widower opposite Susan Sarandon in the romantic drama White Palace (1990), a yuppie who meets the mysterious Rob Lowe in the Noir drama Bad Influence (1990), John Cusack's best friend in the drama True Colors (1991), and a poker-playing drifter in The Music of Chance (1993). In 1994 he starred as Egyptologist Daniel Jackson in the sci-fi film Stargate. In 1996 he played car accident fetishist James Ballard in the controversial Canadian film Crash and assassin Lee Woods in 2 Days in the Valley. In 1997 Spader guest starred in the Seinfeld episode "The Apology", as an angry recovering alcoholic who refuses to apologize to George for making fun of him. In 2000 he played a drug-addicted detective tracking a serial killer in The Watcher. In 2002 he starred as a sadomasochistic boss in Secretary.

From 2004 to 2008 Spader starred as Alan Shore in the series Boston Legal, in which he reprised his role from the television series The Practice (2002). Longtime writer-producer David E. Kelley said there was resistance when he first tried to cast Spader in the role, "I was told that no one would ever welcome James Spader into their living room". During a TV Game Changers interview Kelley noted, "People will watch him (Spader) in the movies, but they will never let him in their own home."[11]

He won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2004 for his portrayal on The Practice and won it again in 2005 and 2007 for Boston Legal.[10][12][13] With the 2005 win, he became one of only a few actors to win an Emmy Award while playing the same character in two series. Even rarer, he won a second consecutive Emmy while playing the same character in two series. He also won the Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical for Boston Legal in 2006.[10]

In October 2006, Spader narrated "China Revealed", the first episode of Discovery Channel's documentary series Discovery Atlas. He also did voice-over in several television commercials for Acura.[14] He starred in Race, a play written and directed by David Mamet, which opened on December 6, 2009, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway.[15] The show closed on August 21, 2010, after 297 performances.[16] In March 2011, he was named to star in the film By Virtue Fall, written and to be directed by Sheldon Turner. As of June 2011, the movie was in pre-production.[17]

Spader guest starred as Robert California in "Search Committee", the season 7 finale of The Office. On June 27, 2011, it was announced that he would join the cast on a permanent basis.[18] He planned to stay only through the eighth season. While the original plan was just to do the guest appearance, executive producer Paul Lieberstein said: "those two scenes became a season".[19]

Spader starred in the television series, The Blacklist, which premiered on NBC September 23, 2013 and which had its series finale on July 13, 2023, a total of ten seasons. He portrayed Raymond "Red" Reddington, one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives.

He also played villainous robot Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).

Personal life

Spader met his first wife, decorator Victoria Kheel, while working in a yoga studio after he moved to New York City in the 1980s. They married in 1987 and had two sons. Spader filed for divorce from Kheel in 2004. He began dating his former Alien Hunter (2003) co-star, Leslie Stefanson, in 2002.[20] They have one son together.[4]

In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2014, Spader revealed he has obsessive–compulsive disorder.[4]



Year Title Role Notes
1978 Team Mates Jimmy First Role
1981 Endless Love Keith Butterfield Credited as Jimmy Spader
1983 ‘’Cocaine: One Man's Seduction‘’ Buddy Gant Credited as James Spader
A Killer in the Family Donny Tyson Credited as James Spader
1985 Starcrossed Joey Callaghan
Tuff Turf Morgan Hiller
The New Kids Eddie "Dutra" Dutra
1986 Pretty in Pink Steff
1987 Mannequin Richards
Baby Boom Ken Arrenberg
Less than Zero Rip
Wall Street Roger Barnes
1988 Greasy Lake Digby Short Film
Jack's Back John / Rick Westford
1989 Sex, Lies, and Videotape Graham Dalton
The Rachel Papers Deforest
1990 Bad Influence Michael Boll
White Palace Max Baron
1991 True Colors Tim Gerrity
1992 Storyville Cray Fowler
Bob Roberts Chuck Marlin
1993 The Music of Chance Jack Pozzi
Dream Lover Ray Reardon
1994 Wolf Stewart Swinton
Stargate Dr. Daniel Jackson
1996 Crash James Ballard
2 Days in the Valley Lee Woods
1997 Keys to Tulsa Ronnie Stover
Driftwood The Man
Critical Care Dr. Werner Ernst
1998 Curtain Call Stevenson Lowe
2000 Supernova Nick Vanzant
The Watcher Joel Campbell
Slow Burn Marcus
2001 Speaking of Sex Dr. Roger Klink
2002 Secretary E. Edward Grey
The Stickup John Parker
2003 I Witness Douglas Draper
Alien Hunter Julian Rome
2004 Shadow of Fear William Ashbury
2009 Shorts Mr. Black
2012 Lincoln William N. Bilbo
2014 The Homesman Aloysius Duffy
2015 Avengers: Age of Ultron Ultron Voice,
Motion capture


Year Title Role Notes
1983 Diner Fenwick Television short
The Family Tree Jake Nichols 6 episodes
Cocaine: One Man's Seduction Buddy Gant Television film
A Killer in the Family Donny Tison Television film
1984 Family Secrets Lowell Everall Television film
1985 Starcrossed Joey Callaghan Television film
1994 Frasier Steven (voice) Episode: "Slow Tango in South Seattle"
1997 Seinfeld Jason "Stanky" Hanky Episode: "The Apology"
2003 The Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg Television film
2003–2004 The Practice Alan Shore 22 episodes
2004–2008 Boston Legal Alan Shore 101 episodes
2006 Discovery Atlas Narrator (voice) Episode: "China Revealed"
2011–2012 The Office Robert California 20 episodes
2013–2023 The Blacklist Raymond "Red" Reddington 218 episodes; also executive producer

Awards and nominations


  1. ^ "Jean Fraser Spader, 84, "Gigi", musician, teacher, volunteer".
  2. ^ a b "James Spader Biography". The website. A&E Television Networks. Archived from the original on December 10, 2015. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  3. ^ "James Spader Biography (1960–)". Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c Goldman, Andres (April 21, 2014). "James Spader, the strangest man on TV". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  5. ^ "James Spader Reveals His Childhood Sexual Fantasy (And What He Regrets Most About It)". August 15, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Rebello, Stephen (August 18, 2014). "PLAYBOY INTERVIEW: JAMES SPADER". Playboy. Archived from the original on December 11, 2015. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  7. ^ "James Spader Family Group". Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  8. ^ Family Relationship of James Spader
  9. ^ a b "James Spader Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved September 23, 2007.
  10. ^ a b c "Awards for James Spader". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 17, 2007.
  11. ^ "David E. Kelley Reveals Why James Spader Almost Didn't Star in 'Boston Legal'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  12. ^ "James Spader Emmy Award Winner".
  13. ^ James Spader at the Primetime Emmy Award Database
  14. ^ Greenberg, Karl (October 13, 2006). "Acura Targets 'Alpha' Driver In New Ads". Marketing Daily. Archived from the original on April 29, 2007.
  15. ^ "New York Production Listings". Backstage. June 24, 2009.
  16. ^ "James Spader Rips Into Mamet's 'Race'". The New York Times. May 12, 2009.
  17. ^ "James Spader, Carla Gugino, Ryan Phillippe Join Cast of 'By Virtue Fall'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  18. ^ "This Side of the Truth".
  19. ^ Elavsky, Cindy (March 16, 2012). "Celebrity Extra". Downriver Sunday Times. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  20. ^ "James Spader Plans to Wed Again". Contact Music. December 29, 2005. Retrieved September 17, 2007.

External links

This page was last edited on 7 April 2024, at 18:23
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