Spader at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con
James Todd Spader
February 7, 1960
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
(m. 1987; div. 2004)
|Leslie Stefanson (2002-present)|
James Todd Spader (born February 7, 1960) is an American actor. He portrays eccentric characters in films such as the drama Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), the action science fiction film Stargate (1994), the controversial psychological thriller Crash (1996), the erotic romance Secretary (2002) and Steven Spielberg's Lincoln (2012). In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he played the titular character of Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), which he portrayed through voice and motion capture.
His television roles include those of attorney Alan Shore in The Practice and its spin-off Boston Legal (for which he won three Emmy Awards), and Robert California in the comedy-mockumentary The Office. He also stars as high-profile criminal-turned-FBI-informant Raymond "Red" Reddington in the NBC crime drama The Blacklist, for which he has earned two Golden Globe Award nominations.
Spader was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and is the youngest of three children. His parents, Jean (née Fraser) and Stoddard ("Todd") Greenwood Spader, were both teachers. Spader grew up in a liberal and progressive home surrounded by "dominant and influential women...that left a great impression". During his early education, he attended multiple private schools, including The Pike School, where his mother taught art, and the Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts, where his father taught. He later transferred to Phillips Academy, where he befriended former President's son John F. Kennedy, Jr., before dropping out at the age of seventeen and moving to New York City to pursue his acting career. On his way to becoming a full-time actor, Spader undertook jobs such as bartending, teaching yoga, driving a meat truck, loading railroad cars, and being a stable boy.
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.
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 down 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 of the 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." Kelley said at a TV Game Changers interview, "People will watch him in the movies, but they will never let him in their own home."
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. With the 2005 win, he became one of only a few actors to win an Emmy award while playing the same character in two different series. Even rarer, he won a second consecutive Emmy while playing the same character in two different series. He also won the Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical for Boston Legal in 2006.
In October 2006 Spader narrated "China Revealed", the first episode of Discovery Channel's documentary series Discovery Atlas. He has also done the voice-over in several television commercials for Acura. 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. The show closed on August 21, 2010 after 297 performances. 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.
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. He planned to stay only through the eighth season, and while the original plan was just to do the guest appearance," executive producer Paul Lieberstein said: "those two scenes became a season".
Spader stars in the NBC series The Blacklist, which premiered on NBC September 23, 2013. He portrays Raymond "Red" Reddington, one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives. He also played villainous robot Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).
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; they have one son.
|1981||Endless Love||Keith Butterfield||Credited as Jimmy Spader|
|1985||Tuff Turf||Morgan Hiller|
|1985||The New Kids||Eddie "Dutra" Dutra|
|1986||Pretty in Pink||Steff|
|1987||Baby Boom||Ken Arrenberg|
|1987||Less Than Zero||Rip|
|1987||Wall Street||Roger Barnes|
|1988||Greasy Lake||Digby||Short Film|
|1988||Jack's Back||John / Rick Westford|
|1989||Sex, Lies, and Videotape||Graham Dalton|
|1989||The Rachel Papers||Deforest|
|1990||Bad Influence||Michael Boll|
|1990||White Palace||Max Baron|
|1991||True Colors||Tim Gerrity|
|1992||Bob Roberts||Chuck Marlin|
|1993||The Music of Chance||Jack Pozzi|
|1993||Dream Lover||Ray Reardon|
|1994||Stargate||Dr. Daniel Jackson|
|1996||2 Days in the Valley||Lee Woods|
|1996||Keys to Tulsa||Ronnie Stover|
|1997||Critical Care||Dr. Werner Ernst|
|1998||Curtain Call||Stevenson Lowe|
|2000||The Watcher||Joel Campbell|
|2001||Speaking of Sex||Dr. Roger Klink|
|2002||Secretary||E. Edward Grey|
|2002||The Stickup||John Parker|
|2003||I Witness||Douglas Draper|
|2003||Alien Hunter||Julian Rome|
|2004||Shadow of Fear||William Ashbury|
|2012||Lincoln||William N. Bilbo|
|2014||The Homesman||Aloysius Duffy|
|2015||Avengers: Age of Ultron||Ultron (voice)||Motion capture|
|1983||The Family Tree||Jake Nichols||6 episodes|
|1983||Cocaine: One Man's Seduction||Buddy Gant||Television film|
|1983||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||25 episodes|
|2013-present||The Blacklist||Raymond "Red" Reddington||Also executive producer|