- Brent Spiner
name = Brent Spiner
caption = Spiner next to an image of Data at a 2005 convention
birthname = Brent Jay Spiner
birthdate = birth date and age|1949|02|02
Houston, Texas, United States
yearsactive = 1984–present
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Spiner was born in
Houston, Texas, the son of Sylvia, a corporate vice president, and Jack Spiner, who owned a furniture store. [ [http://www.filmreference.com/film/86/Brent-Spiner.html Brent Spiner Biography (1949-) ] ] 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 Pickettndash 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, eventually winning the national championship in dramatic interpretation. After attending the University of Houstonand performing in local theatre there, Spiner moved to New York City, where he became a stage actor, performing in several Broadway and off-Broadwayplays, including "The Three Musketeers" and Stephen Sondheim's " Sunday in the Park with George". At the same time, he also had a nonspeaking background role in the film " Stardust Memories" as one of the silent Felliniesque"grotesques" on Sandy Bates's train car.
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 Virginiahicks. 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 film role was in "Rent Control" in 1984. In the " Cheers" episode "Never Love a Goalie, Part II", he memorably played the acquitted murder suspect Bill Grand.
In 1987, Spiner started his 15 year run (on television for 7 seasons and in 4 feature films) portraying Lieutenant Commander Data on '. As one of the main characters, he appeared in all but one episode of the series' 178 episode run. He reprised his role in the spin-off films, "
Star Trek Generations" (1994), ' (1996), ' (1998), and " Star Trek Nemesis" (2002). Although billed as the final "Trek" movie for the "TNG" cast, the ambiguous ending of " Star Trek Nemesis" suggested that there was a possible avenue for the return of Data. However, Spiner has insisted that he is now too old to play with conviction a character who is not supposed to age. Additionally, he voiced his character in several " Star Trek" video games, such as "Star Trek Generations", ', ', and '. [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000653/ Brent Spiner] on the Internet Movie Database]
Since his success in "Star Trek", he has also acted in film, including a notable role in "Independence Day" as Dr. Brackish Okun (chief scientist at
Area 51). 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 and Frank Sinatra's nickname, Ol' Blue Eyes. He has since had guest appearances on ', " Friends", " Deadly Games", " Mad About You", "Gargoyles", " Frasier", "Joey", and " The Outer Limits", as well as movie roles in films such as "Phenomenon", " Dude, Where's My Car?", " Out to Sea", ', " Geppetto", " I Am Sam", " Master of Disguise", and " The Aviator". He had a sizable lead role as Dorothy Dandridge's manager/ confidant Earl Millsin the HBOproduction " Introducing Dorothy Dandridge", which was partially based on Mills's book "Dorothy Dandridge". He played the lawyer in the 1991 made for TV film, "The Ponder Heart".
In 1997, Spiner returned to the Broadway stage, playing the leading role of
John Adamsin the Roundabout Theatre Companyrevival 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. Spiner played the voice of Conan O'Brienin the 1999 .
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 arcof "" in "", " 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 cameoed in "Joey", playing himself. He had also guest-starred in " Friends" as a man who interviews Rachel for Gucci.
In 2005, Spiner began a role in a short-lived science-fiction television series, "Threshold", which was cancelled in November of that year after 13 episodes were produced. In 2006, Spiner appeared in a comedy, "
Material Girls", with Hilary and Haylie Duff.
During the tenth season of the sitcom "
Frasier", in the episode " Lilith Needs a Favor", Spiner makes two brief cameos as a fellow airline passenger of Frasier's ex, Lilith. When she comments that he must not like flying (in reference to his abnormally pale skin tone) he replies that he is "always this pale", a reference to the pasty complexion of his "Star Trek" character Data.
In March 2008, Spiner performed alongside
Maude Maggartin a new radio show/musical called "Dreamland". [http://www.therealbrentspiner.com/ Dreamland] . www.therealbrentspiner.com] This was released as a CD album (as mentioned on the Radio Show BBC Radio 2, w/Steve Wright, 05 March 2008). In February 2008, Spiner joined the growing league of celebrities who feature on popular online sites like MySpace, under the name of 'The Real Brent Spiner'.
Spiner is not as active in the "Star Trek" convention scene as many of his co-stars are, although he has participated in the last few years in several conventions around the world, such as in Las Vegas, Milton Keynes and Hobby Star's Fan Expo in Toronto Canada. He is close to his "Next Generation" colleagues and counts
Patrick Stewart, Gates McFadden, and LeVar Burtonamongst his best friends. He was seen at the 2007 DragonCon, held in Atlanta, Georgia and more recently at the first ever Collectormania Midlands in Coventry, UK on 1st/2nd March 2008, along with Star Trek co-star Marina Sirtis. [ [http://www.collectormaniamidlands.com Collectormania Midlands ] ] Most recently he made an appearance at the FedCon XVII at Bonn, Germany on 18th-20th April 2008, accompanying his fellow Star Trek stars LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis, John DeLancie, as well as René Auberjonoisand Michelle Forbes.
Spiner recently attended the
Star Trek Conventionin Secaucus, New Jersey from 7-9 March 2008. He was promoting his recent CD, "Dreamland," an audio experience reminiscent of radio plays from the 1940s. Maude Maggart, sister of singer/songwriter Fiona Apple, is featured on the CD as the female lead.
Spiner currently lives in Los Angeles and guards the privacy of his personal life. He was linked to actress
Swoosie Kurtzfor many years in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His marital status is uncertain; some sources have cited Loree McBride as his wife, [imdb name|id=0564344|name=Loree McBride] while others maintain that the two are not married. The couple have a son named Jackson, who was born in 2002.
Spiner is a self-described acrophobe. ["" Deluxe Edition DVD, "First Contact" Production: "The Missile Silo"]
Audition for Star Trek
In response to a fan's question at the 2008 Fan Expo in Toronto, Brent said when he was first auditioning for the role of Data on Star Trek The Next Generation, he was told he might have to read for the role of Cmdr. William T. Riker. Brent's response was he only wanted to read for the character of Lt. Cmdr. Data, he said he was not interested in doing the show in the event he would be cast as Riker.Fact|date=August 2008
* [http://www.therealbrentspiner.com/ Brent Spiner's personal site]
*imdb name|id=0000653|name=Brent Spiner
* [http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view/library/cast/TNG/bio/69070.html Star Trek.com biography]
*tvtome person|id=16294|name=Brent Spiner
* [http://www.sci-fi-london.com/audio Recent interview with Brent about his CD 'Dreamland']
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