Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey

Film Actor, Actor, Theater Actor(c. 1959–)
Kevin Spacey was catapulted into international stardom in the 1990s and now inhabits the character Frank Underwood on the Netflix original series House of Cards.


Kevin Spacey was born on July 26, 1959, in South Orange, New Jersey. The 1990s films The Usual Suspects (1995) and Se7en (1995) catapulted Spacey into international stardom, with later films such as LA Confidential, American Beauty and Superman Returns. Even more diverse roles followed, and his turn to TV acting in 2013 garnered across-the-board acclaim, as he began inhabiting the character Frank Underwood on the Netflix original drama House of Cards. In addition to film acting, Spacey has earned acclaim for his work as a film producer, director and writer and is a well-respected theater actor.

Early Life and Career

Kevin Spacey was born in South Orange, New Jersey, on July 26, 1959, the youngest of three children of a technical writer and a secretary. The family relocated to Southern California when Spacey was 4. He was sent to military school, but was expelled for throwing a tire at another student. He channeled his rebellious energy into acting and transferred to Los Angeles' drama-centric Chatsworth High School, where he graduated co-valedictorian. Former classmate Val Kilmer convinced the skilled impressionist to enroll in New York City's renowned Julliard School. He left Julliard after two years to join the New York Shakespeare Festival. After various roles on stage and in television in the United States, Spacey moved to the big screen, with early film credits including Working Girl (1988), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) and Glengarry Glen Ross (1992).

Big-Screen Success

In the mid-1990s, Spacey was catapulted into international stardom with lead performances in the hit movies The Usual Suspects (1995; for which he won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role) and Se7en (1995). These early films led to more and more mainstream films, and Spacey shined in roles in such films as A Time to Kill (1996), Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997), L.A. Confidential (1997) and American Beauty (1999; for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role).

"The less you know about me, the easier it is to convince you that I am that character onscreen." - Kevin Spacey

With two Oscars under his belt, and countless other awards to come, Spacey was able to pick roles in a wide variety of films, and he took full advantage of his artistic freedom by playing the lead in such movies as Pay It Forward (2000), The Shipping News (2001) and The Life of David Gale (2003). In 2004, Spacey starred as singer Bobby Darin in Beyond the Sea, which he also produced, directed and co-wrote. Two years later, he switched gears completely, taking on the iconic super-villain role of Lex Luthor in Superman Returns (2006).

Spacey also portrayed Richard Nixon in Elvis & Nixon, a 2016 comedy-drama about the King of Rock 'n' Roll's meeting with Nixon in 1970. 

'House of Cards'

Before 2013, the last time Kevin Spacey had appeared in a TV role was in the 1994 TV movie Doomsday Gun. Even though Spacey hadn't been appearing in the blockbuster roles that marked much of his earlier career, the move to TV may have come as a surprise to anyone following the enigmatic actor's trajectory. But with 2013, Spacey would become a household name all over again when he landed the role of Congressman Frank Underwood on the Nexflix original drama House of Cards. The role allows Spacey to show off his complete range: from his quietly brilliant moments to those allowing him to chew some scenery, and everything in between. This range helped Spacey secure both Golden Globe and Emmy nominations, and the actor won a Globe award in 2015 for the role. The following year, he was nominated again for an Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama Series.

Kevin Spacey

Theater Roles

In addition to his film work, Spacey is a well-respected theater actor in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Notable stage credits include Lost in Yonkers (1991) and The Iceman Cometh (1998).

In 2003, Spacey was appointed artistic director of the Old Vic Theatre in London, and he later starred in the company's productions of The Philadelphia Story (2005), A Moon for the Misbegotten (2006), Inherit the Wind (2009) and Shakespeare's Richard III (2011).

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