Kevin Spacey

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Kevin Spacey (2013)

Kevin Spacey Fowler , KBE , (born July 26, 1959 in South Orange , New Jersey ) is an American actor , film and theater director . He is a two-time Oscar winner and was Artistic Director of London's Old Vic Theater from 2003 to August 2015 . He is known, among other things, for his role as the power-hungry politician Francis "Frank" Underwood in the television series House of Cards . In the course of the sexism debate about Harvey Weinstein , Spacey was confronted with allegations of sexual harassment in more than 30 cases from October 2017.

life and work

Childhood and youth

Kevin Spacey was born the son of the Secretary Kathleen A. Spacey (1931-2003) as well as the technical editor Thomas Geoffrey Fowler (1924-1992) in South Orange in the State of New Jersey born. When he was three and a half years old, he and his older siblings Julie and Randy moved the family to suburban Los Angeles . In the Californian metropolis Spacey later attended the Northridge Military Academy , from which he was expelled. In the eleventh grade he finally moved from Canoga Park High School to Chatsworth High School , where he gained his first serious acting experience and which he left as the best of his year .

At Chatsworth High , Spacey played, among others, Georg Ludwig von Trapp in the musical The Sound of Music . During this time he took his mother's maiden name. Various reports incorrectly state that he took the name in honor of the actor Spencer Tracy by combining his first and last name. After his time in high school, Spacey tried his hand at stand-up comedian for a few years before studying acting at the Juilliard School in New York City between 1979 and 1981 .


Spacey's first professional acting appearance was that of a lance-bearer in a production of the first part of the drama Henry VI. at the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1981. The following year he made his Broadway debut as Oswald in Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts . He then took on the part of Philinte in Molière's The Misanthrope , before playing for the first time in David Rabe's Hurlyburly in 1984 . He then took on every male role in the play in rotation and also appeared in the 1998 screen version as Mickey . After an appearance in Anton Chekhov's Die Möwe , he was engaged in a dinner theater in New Jersey in 1986 , where he took part in Anthony Shaffer's Revenge .

Kevin Spacey was best known as a stage actor in 1986 when he starred alongside Jack Lemmon , Peter Gallagher and Bethel Leslie as Jamie in Jonathan Miller's critically acclaimed production Eugene O'Neill's One Long Day Journey into the Night . He had his first major television appearance in an episode of the crime series Crime Story , in which he played a senator from the Kennedy clan in 1987 . Although his interest turned more and more to the film, Spacey also played in several major Broadway productions in the following years. In 1991 he won a Tony Award for acting as Uncle Louie in Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers .

Film and series

At the beginning of his film career, Kevin Spacey played an eccentric millionaire in the television series LA Law - Star Lawyers, Tricks, Trials , again alongside Jack Lemmon in the television film The Murder of Mary Phagan (1988) and in the comedy Die Glücksjäger with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder (1989). He became known to a wider audience as the mad arms dealer Mel Profitt in the television series Wiseguy . Spacey established himself as a character actor and was chosen for bigger roles, such as in the tragicomedy No Panic (1994), the satire Unter Haien in Hollywood or the drama Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) with Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino and Ed Harris signed .

Kevin Spacey's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Spacey gained international fame in 1995 for his role as the enigmatic criminal Verbal Kint in Bryan Singer's The Usual Suspects , for which he was awarded the 1996 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor . In the same year he starred in the thriller Seven with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman , in which he appeared late and without being named in the opening credits as serial killer John Doe . In 1996 he played a prosecutor in the film adaptation of John Grisham's The Jury and also made his directorial debut with Albino Alligator . Although Spacey's work received critical acclaim, the film was a financial failure.

In 1997 Spacey founded the production company Trigger Street Productions (CEO is Dana Brunetti ). The name Triggerstreet originated in Spacey's youth, based on the street of the same name in his area. In addition to larger film productions such as Casino Jack , Safe - Death Safe and Recount , it also enables new talents to enter the film business. In collaboration with Jameson First Shot, scripts by young directors will be implemented in the form of a talent competition, in 2012 also with Spacey in the lead role.

As an actor, he took on other leading roles in successful Hollywood productions such as LA Confidential (1997), Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) and Matter of Negotiation (1998).

Noteworthy is his role in American Beauty as the disaffected family man Lester Burnham in 1999, for which he received his second Oscar , this time for Best Actor . For this performance, Spacey was also awarded the Chlotrudis Award for "Best Actor". In 1999 he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame . He was nominated again for a Tony Award for his role in the Broadway production The Iceman Cometh .

Kevin Spacey at the HBO Post-Emmys Party , 2008.

In the following years Kevin Spacey played the physically and emotionally scarred teacher Eugene Simonet in The Happiness Principle (2000), in K-PAX - Anything Is Possible (2001) a patient in a closed institution who claims to be an alien, as well as in The Life of David Gale (2003) a death penalty activist against the death penalty. In the self-directed film biography Beyond the Sea - Music was his life (2004), which was filmed in and around Berlin, he took on the role of singer Bobby Darin . According to his own statements, the work was a long-cherished dream, and in addition to playing the lead role, he also worked on the script and directed it. In the film and on the soundtrack , Spacey sang all the pieces himself, and after the release of Beyond the Sea he appeared with the songs at various tribute concerts. Spacey received mostly positive reviews for his vocal performance, and he was also nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy / Musical for the 2005 Golden Globe Awards . Nevertheless, it was widely criticized that Spacey was too old for the role of young Bobby Darin. Despite the bad reviews, he himself affirmed that he was still proud of his project.

In 2006, Spacey played Lex Luthor in the movie Superman Returns . Although the film received mostly negative reviews, Spacey's portrayal as a villain was hailed. He should initially also play in the now discarded sequel . The actor also appeared on the side of Morgan Freeman and Justin Timberlake in the film Edison (2006), which was only released directly on DVD , and as MIT professor in film 21 with Kate Bosworth , Laurence Fishburne and Jim Sturgess . 21 is based on the bestseller Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich , which describes the story of a team of students who win large sums of money by counting cards at blackjack . In 2009, Spacey starred opposite George Clooney , Ewan McGregor and Jeff Bridges in the movie Men Who Stares at Goats .

In the Netflix television series House of Cards , of which six seasons were produced between 2013 and 2018, Spacey played the leading role of the American Congressman Francis Underwood, who is particularly ruthless and manipulative and who is rising to ever higher government offices. Underwood doesn't even shy away from murder in order to achieve his goals. This high-budget series ($ 50 million per season) was a huge hit with critics and audiences. It also brought Spacey several nominations, such as for the Emmy Award and the Golden Globe Award . On November 3, 2017, Netflix announced that it would fire Spacey as the lead actor of the series over the harassment allegations against him. Whether the series will end without Spacey was initially open. At the end of 2018, a sixth and final season was broadcast, which was tailored to Spacey's acting partner Robin Wright . Spacey no longer appeared that season - it was briefly mentioned that Frank Underwood had passed away. While the first five seasons of the series met with a largely positive response, this last season was critically evaluated. It was often criticized that the series would not work without the figure of the unscrupulous politician Underwood played by Spacey.

Netflix also announced at the currently in post-production feature film contained Gore by Michael Hoffman not to publish that should be shown originally 2018th Spacey had in the film based on a book by Jay Parini based, Gore Vidal represented (1925 to 2012). At the beginning of November 2017 it was also announced that Spacey would be removed from Ridley Scott's already completed feature film Alles Geld der Welt and replaced by Christopher Plummer . Spacey played the role of J. Paul Getty in the thriller .

Spacey's last movie Billionaire Boys Club , which was produced before the abuse affair, became a huge flop in the summer of 2018 and only grossed around $ 600 on the first weekend. The film was not shown in cinemas in Germany. No further film or TV projects with Spacey have been announced.

In the German dubbed versions, Till Hagen has been the standard voice of Kevin Spacey since 1995. Reinhard Kuhnert voiced Spacey in a few earlier productions, as well as in A Very Ordinary Thief - Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000) . Udo Schenk gave him his voice in The usual suspects . In Wolfgang Petersen's 1995 film Outbreak , Kevin Spacey was voiced by Gerhard Mohr.

Artistic Director of the Old Vic

Kevin Spacey, 2008

From February 2003 to October 2015, Kevin Spacey was artistic director at the Old Vic Theater in London . At a press conference with Judi Dench and Elton John , he stated that he would be an actor himself and that he wanted to bring some well-known colleagues to London. His contract at the Old Vic was initially ten years. But he was also active at the Old Vic after these 10 years. Spacey's first theater season began in the fall of 2004 with the UK premiere of Maria Goos ' Cloaca , which he directed and received mixed reviews.

In the spring of 2005 he was in the plays National Anthems by Dennis McIntyre and Philadelphia Story by Philip Barry himself on stage. In 2006 he starred in Shakespeare's Richard II in the title role at the Old Vic. Directed by Trevor Nunn . In this role Spacey performed with the Old Vic Ensemble at the Ruhr Festival 2006 in Recklinghausen . Greg Wise , Emma Thompson's husband , played his opponent in this production. In June 2007 Spacey officially announced that he wanted to stop acting, but at the Ruhr Festival 2008 he affirmed that he did not want to stop acting.

In the 2006 season, Spacey experienced a failure with the Robert Altman- directed production of Arthur Miller's final play Resurrection Blues . Despite a well-known ensemble, including Neve Campbell and Matthew Modine , the production received mostly bad reviews, so that the performances had to be discontinued after a few weeks due to a lack of public interest. That same year, Spacey played with Colm Meaney and Eve Best in Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten (A Moon for the laden) . This production received positive reviews and was eventually performed on Broadway in 2007 .

In spring 2008 Kevin Spacey played under the direction of Matthew Warchus with Jeff Goldblum and Laura Michelle Kelly in David Mamet's play Speed-the-plow (The advantage of the moment) the film producer Charlie Fox . The piece was also shown at the 2008 Ruhr Festival in Recklinghausen.

In January 2009, Spacey directed the production of Joe Sutton's Complicit with Richard Dreyfuss , David Suchet and Elizabeth McGovern . In October 2009, the play had Inherit the Wind ( Who sows the wind ) by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, with Kevin Spacey in the role of defender Henry Drummond , directed by Trevor Nunn at the Old Vic premiere.


Spacey is also known for his imitations , which he presented in various comedy series and talk shows. During his appearance Inside the Actors Studio (Eng. Title Ungeschminkt ) he delivered short parodies of James Stewart , Johnny Carson , Katharine Hepburn , Clint Eastwood , John Gielgud , Marlon Brando , Christopher Walken , Al Pacino and Jack Lemmon at the suggestion of the host James Lipton . Spacey has twice hosted the US comedy format Saturday Night Live , where he also performed parodies by Christopher Walken, Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, among others .

In 2001 Kevin Spacey hosted the Unite for the Future Gala with Judi Dench at the Old Vic Theater , a benefit event for the benefit of the British victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks and for Doctors Without Borders .

In addition to his musical performances in the context of the film Beyond the Sea , Spacey was active as a musician on various occasions. The Dean Martin - Tribute Album Forever Cool from 2007 contains with "Is not That a Kick in the Head" and "King of the Road" two duets with Spacey and the voice of Dean Martin. At a concert in honor of John Lennon in 2001 Spacey was on stage as a presenter and also presented his version of Mind Games . He contributed the song That Old Black Magic to the soundtrack of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil .

In November 2005 Kevin Spacey was awarded an honorary doctorate as Doctor of Letters from London South Bank University . In June 2008, he was named Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theater at St Catherine's College of the University of Oxford appointed. He replaced Patrick Stewart as visiting professor. Spacey was officially welcomed into office on October 13, 2008.

In December 2007 Spacey hosted the concert with Uma Thurman as part of the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony .

On November 3, 2010, Kevin Spacey received the British Order of Merit Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) , the third level of the Knightly Order . The award for his services to the acting was presented by Prince Charles on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II at Clarence House . In June 2015, Spacey was made an honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire for services to the Old Vic by Elizabeth II . As an American citizen, however, he is not allowed to have the "Sir" added to his name.

Spacey also sits on the Board of Directors of the Motion Picture and Television Fund .

As part of his Kevin Spacey Foundation , founded in 2008 , he was heavily involved in training and promoting young talent in acting, as a screenwriter, producer and director. He passes on his knowledge in line with the philosophy: "If you have done well in whatever business you are in, it is your duty to send the elevator back down and try to help bring up the next generation of undiscovered talent." The foundation's branch was closed in February 2018.

In the computer game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare , released in 2014, Spacey played the role of the villain, as appearance and voice were recorded via motion capture and implemented in the game.

In order to be able to reach even more budding actors around the world, he also gave acting classes online between 2016 and 2017 with the help of the platform. After the allegations of harassment became known , Masterclass ended the collaboration and no longer offers Spacey's course.

Private life

Kevin Spacey at a William J. Clinton Foundation event (2010)

Between 1992 and 2000 Spacey was in a relationship with Dianne Dreyer, the script supervisor of Anthony Minghella , M. Night Shyamalan and Sydney Pollack . Fellow actress April Winchell also said she and Spacey were in a relationship after high school.

Spacey is a supporter of the Democratic Party and a friend of former US President Bill Clinton , whom he knew before his presidency. So far, Spacey has donated $ 42,000 to Democratic candidates and committees, according to the Federal Election Commission . Spacey also made a cameo on the political satire President Clinton: Final Days , produced by the Clinton administration for the White House Correspondents' Association 's annual dinner .

In September 2006, Spacey announced that he would stay at the Old Vic for at least nine more years and would like to acquire British citizenship as soon as possible . In 2015, after he was knighted by Prince Charles on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II for his services , he spoke of the country having "adopted" him.

In September 2007, Spacey met the then Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez . Neither of the participants spoke to the press about the meeting, although it is known that both of them visited the publicly funded film studio Cinema Villa .

Sexual harassment allegations

Encouraged by the sexism debate about Harvey Weinstein , actor colleague Anthony Rapp said in an interview with BuzzFeed at the end of October 2017 that he had been sexually molested at a party by the then 26-year-old, drunk Spacey at the age of 14 in 1986. Spacey replied to Rapp on the microblogging service Twitter that he could not remember after 30 years. He apologized for the "inappropriate drunk behavior" and used the explanation to come out as a homosexual . His statement was sharply criticized by numerous acting colleagues, representatives from show business, by human rights and LGBT organizations as well as on social media, because Spacey indirectly constructs a connection between sexual assault and homosexuality. Spacey had previously vehemently shielded his private life from the press. Shortly after the allegations against Spacey, his brother Randall Fowler spoke up. He reported sexual abuse by the sadistic and racist father. Kevin Spacey announced that he wanted to seek therapeutic treatment. After the first allegations became public, eight other men told CNN alone that they had been sexually molested by Spacey. His agency then separated from him.

On November 3, the streaming service Netflix ended its collaboration with Kevin Spacey with immediate effect and announced its own investigations after some colleagues on the House of Cards series repeated the allegations of sexual harassment. In addition, it became public that Scotland Yard was investigating Spacey in a case in London in 2008 on charges of sexual assault . A few days later it was announced that Ridley Scott would cut out all scenes with Spacey from his latest film Alles Geld der Welt and re- shoot them with Christopher Plummer . The film hit theaters in December 2017 without Spacey.

In April 2018, a man accused Spacey of sexually assaulting behavior in 1992. The prosecutor in Los Angeles announced a few months later that there would be no trial because of the statute of limitations.

After reappearing on the scene with the million-clicked video Let me be Frank , Spacey read Gabriele Tinti's poems , which are based on the Quirinal pugilist , a masterpiece of ancient sculpture that is kept in the Museo Nazionale Romano in the Palazzo Massimo becomes. The event received the attention of the international press.


As an actor

As a producer

As a director





Golden Globe Awards



  • 1996: Best Supporting Actor: The Usual Suspects
  • 2000: Best Actor - Drama: American Beauty
  • 2002: Best Actor - Drama: Ship Reports
  • 2005: Best Actor - Comedy or Musical: Beyond the Sea - Music was his life
  • 2009: Best Actor - Mini-Series or TV Movie: Recount
  • 2011: Best Actor - Comedy or Musical: Casino Jack
  • 2014: Best Actor in a Series - Drama: House of Cards

Primetime Emmy Awards


  • 2008: Best Actor in a Film - Drama: Recount
  • 2013: Best Actor in a Series - Drama: House of Cards
  • 2014: Best Actor in a Series - Drama: House of Cards
  • 2015: Best Actor in a Series - Drama: House of Cards

British Academy Film Award


  • 2000: Best Actor: American Beauty


Saturn Awards


Golden camera


  • 2015: Best Actor International

Order of the British Empire

  • 2016: Appointment as "Knight Commander" (KBE) by Prince Charles (of Great Britain)

Web links

Commons : Kevin Spacey  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

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  7. Kevin Spacey , Internet Broadway Database
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  9. Archived copy ( Memento from December 28, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  10. Archived copy ( Memento from December 28, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
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  12. ^ Carsten Baumgardt: Review Beyond The Sea , 2004. Accessed December 29, 2009.
  13. James Berardinelli: Review Beyond The Sea , 2004. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
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  15. " Superman Returns is the pompously staged return of the hero in a skin-tight suit, which impresses with special effects, but unfortunately has major weaknesses that a wonderful villain alone cannot cover up. The film not only struggles with excess length, but also with a story that barely does justice to a TV episode. ”,, Kinofilm-Rating , accessed on December 29, 2009.
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  33. ^ Nobel Peace Prize Concert 2007. The Norwegian Nobel Committee, December 11, 2007, archived from the original on December 7, 2007 ; Retrieved June 2, 2008 .
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  45. [1]
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  53. christina.michlits: brother of Kevin Spacey: "Our father was a rapist" according to Randall Fowler . ( [accessed November 4, 2017]).
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  61. September 4, 2018: LA County DA declines to charge Kevin Spacey, Steven Seagal and Anthony Anderson amid allegations of sexual abuse