Kevin Spacey's BIO


Kevin Spacey, born Kevin Fowler on July 26, 1959 in South Orange, New Jersey, was the youngest of three children. HIs father Thomas was a technical procedure writer (deceased in 1993) and his mother a private secretary. "We moved around a lot and without being a Navy brat, I almost felt like one." The family moved to southern California in 1963. "I think probably my earliest recollections are sneaking downstairs while my parents were asleep and watching the late show or the late, late show and seeing a lot of great black and white films. So before I ever started going to movies I watched Tracy and Fonda and Bogart and Stanley Kramer and that kind of style." He was a self described "little terror", who, after burning down his sister's treehouse, was sent to Northridge Military Academy. After winning the Leadership Award, Kevin was expelled for throwing a tire at a classmate during a boxing match. Subsequently enrolling at Chatsworth High School in the San Fernando Valley, he was advised by a guidance counselor to channel his "excessive energy" into acting. During his senior year he not only starred in the school's productions of The Sound of Music and UTBU (Unhealthy To Be Unpleasant), but he managed to fit singing in the choir into his schedule as well. He and his friends would cut class and head over the hill to the NuArt Theater, a revival movie house in West L.A. "I remember once a friend and I got really angry because the prints at the Nuart were so bad. Scratched and cut and jumping all over the place. We went to the manager's office, knocked on the door, said, 'Hi,' and very calmly suggested that instead of calling the theatre the 'Nuart' they should change the name to 'Oldart.' He told us to get the fuck out." It was while in high school that he gave the comedy club circuit a try. "I was good at impressions. That was the thing that I found myself falling into. I was doing Johnny Carson, Jimmy Stewart, and watching in those clubs Robin Williams, Jay Leno, all those guys who've gone on to bigger things. I was such a little punk and I'd get up on amateur night. I was doing other venues as well, like bowling alleys. They'd have talent contests at the Canoga Bowl at midnight, and you'd slowly realize as you were standing there, hearing nothing but the noise of bowling pins being knocked over, that people who are in bowling alleys at midnight don't watch Johnny Carson." He ended up graduating from Chatsworth High School co-valedictorian with classmate Mare Winningham. After giving Los Angeles Valley College a go, he decided, with Val Kilmer's encouragement, to enroll in the drama program at Juilliard. "Val wound up going to Juilliard two years before I did and was enormously encouraging me that I should audition and come out there if I was really serious about it. I took his advice and did it. So we ended up spending his last two years and my first two years together." He left in 1981 after two years, sans diploma. "Juilliard was an extraordinarily intense, competitive place. It's an experience I'm enormously grateful for because it taught me so much. Many of the people there I'm still close with, and many of my teachers still work with me. I have this long relationship with the school that's continued. But, I was very anxious to work. And I decided in the middle of my second year that I wasn't sure if I was going to stick out the full four years, and I ultimately chose not to, although I'm convinced that had I chosen to stay, they would've thrown me out the door anyway." After Kevin decided he'd learned everything he could from Juilliard, he joined the New York Shakespeare Festival. His professional stage debut came in 1981 as a spear-toting messenger and rock in Henry IV Part One. "I was a very . . . solid rock." Shortly thereafter he was fired by Joseph Papp who was attempting to force Kevin out into the "real theatre world." Later that same year marked Kevin's Broadway debut in Ibsen's Ghosts playing Liv Ullman's son. Going on to do Shakespeare, Chekhov, and O'Neill, his transition from New York to Hollywood began with his film debut in Heartburn. And the rest, as they say, is history. . .

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