Brent Spiner

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Brent Spiner

Birth name Brent Jay Spiner
Born February 2, 1949 (age 58)
Flag of United States Houston, Texas, USA
Notable roles Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation

Brent Jay Spiner (born February 2, 1949) is an American actor, best known for his portrayal of the android Lieutenant Commander Data in the television and movie series Star Trek: The Next Generation.


[edit] Biography

[edit] Early life

Spiner was born to Jack and Sylvia Spiner in Houston, Texas. After Jack's death, he was adopted by Sylvia's second husband, Sol Mintz, whose surname he used between 1955 and 1975.

Spiner attended Bellaire High School in Houston, Texas, where he was influenced by drama teacher Cecil Pickett—the same drama teacher who coached such people as Cindy Pickett, Randy Quaid, Dennis Quaid, Trey Wilson, Robert Wuhl, and Thomas Schlamme. Spiner would become active on the Bellaire Speech Team; later, winning the national championship in dramatic interpretation. After attending the University of Houston and performing in local theatre there, Spiner moved to New York City, where he became a stage actor, performing in several Broadway and off-Broadway plays, most notably with the original cast of the Stephen Sondheim musical Sunday in the Park with George. At the same time, he also had nonspeaking background in the film Stardust Memories as one of the silent Felliniesque "grotesques" on Sandy Bates' train car.

[edit] Career

In 1984, Spiner moved to Los Angeles, appearing in several pilots and made-for-tv movies. He played a recurring character on Night Court named Bob Wheeler, patriarch of a family of West Virginia hicks. In 1986, Spiner also made two appearances as characters in season 3 of the television show, Mama's Family: Mr. Conroy, and Billy Bob.

Spiner's first and only starring movie role was in Rent Control in 1984.

In Cheers episode "Never Love a Goalie - Part II", he memorably played the acquitted murder suspect Bill Grand.

Since his success in Star Trek, he has also acted in film, including a notable role in the movie as Dr. Brackish Okun (chief scientist at Area 51) in Independence Day. In 1991, he recorded an album of 1940s pop standards entitled Ol' Yellow Eyes Is Back, the title of which was a play on the yellow eyes Spiner sported as Data. He has since had guest appearances on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Friends, Deadly Games, Mad About You, Gargoyles, Frasier, Joey, The Outer Limits, as well as movie roles in films such as Phenomenon, Dude, Where's My Car? , Out to Sea, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Geppetto, I Am Sam, Master of Disguise and The Aviator. He had a sizable lead role as Dorothy Dandridge's manager/confidant Earl Mills in the HBO production Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, which was partially based on Mills' book Dorothy Dandridge.

In 1997, Spiner returned to the Broadway stage, playing the leading role of John Adams in the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of the musical 1776. His performance met with generally positive reviews, and the production was nominated for a Tony Award. A cast recording was released of the revival production.

In 2004, Spiner returned to the world of Star Trek when he appeared as Dr. Arik Soong, a perhaps equally brilliant but much sleazier ancestor of Data's creator Dr. Noonien Soong, whom he also played, in a three-episode story arc of Star Trek: Enterprise in "Borderland", "Cold Station 12", and "The Augments". He also briefly reprised the role of Data for the series, providing a voice-only cameo in the Enterprise finale, "These Are the Voyages...". Spiner also cameo'd in Joey playing himself. He had also guest-starred in Friends as the man who interviews Rachel for Gucci.

In 2005, Spiner began a role in a short-lived science-fiction television series, Threshold, that was cancelled on November 23, 2005.

[edit] Personal life

Spiner currently lives in Los Angeles. He maintains a high level of privacy about his personal life. Spiner was attached to the actress Swoosie Kurtz for many years in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His marital status is uncertain; some sources have cited Loree McBride as his wife, while others maintain that the two are not married. The two do have a son named Jackson, who was born in 2002. He is not as active in the Star Trek convention scene as many of his co-stars, but he is nonetheless close to his Next Generation colleagues and counts Patrick Stewart, Gates McFadden and LeVar Burton amongst his best friends. But he will be attending London Film & Comic Con ( the 8th and 9th of September 2007.

[edit] Trivia

  • The 1997 documentary Trekkies included an interview with Spiner discussing a group of female fans who called themselves "Spiner Femmes." The documentary profiled Anne Murphy as an example of a Spiner Femme. Murphy kept several photo albums filled with pictures of Spiner.
  • Brent Spiner is left-handed, as demonstrated in TNG's episode "Hero Worship" while painting.
  • Spiner is the voice of Conan O'Brien in the South Park movie.

[edit] External links

Major Cast Members of Star Trek: The Next Generation
Patrick Stewart | Jonathan Frakes | Brent Spiner | LeVar Burton | Michael Dorn | Gates McFadden | Marina Sirtis | Wil Wheaton | Denise Crosby | Diana Muldaur