James Spader

James Spader Headshot

Actor

Birth Name: James Todd Spader

Birth Date: February 7, 1960

Age: 64 years old

Birth Place: Boston, Massachusetts

Actor James Spader became known for playing multiple intriguing deviants in a number of acclaimed independent films in the 1980s and 1990s before his magic touch with morally ambiguous outsiders found its way to television on "Boston Legal" (ABC, 2004-08). Spader began his career playing a series of unsympathetic yuppie types in the era of the shamelessly wealthy, then put films like "Wall Street" (1987) and "Less Than Zero" (1987) behind him in favor of exploring man's attraction to danger - often sexual - in acclaimed indie films like "sex, lies, and videotape" (1989), "Crash" (1996) and "Secretary" (2002).

In 2003, he was handpicked to shake things up on David E. Kelley's stale law drama, "The Practice" (ABC, 1997-2004), before being given a starring role as lawyer of questionable ethics in the spin-off, "Boston Legal," for which he earned several Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. By the time he joined the cast of "The Office" (NBC, 2005-2013) in 2011, Spader was firmly established as a credible lead in television and on film, capably performing in just about any role that came his way. His starring role on the thriller series "The Blacklist" (NBC 2013- ), playing master manipulator "Red" Reddington, perfectly encapsulated his ability to make unpleasant characters fascinating.

Born on Feb. 7, 1960 in Boston, MA, Spader was raised the son of two teachers, Todd and Jean, who enrolled him in top private schools, including Phillips Academy in Andover. But he was not particularly interested in school and spent more time lost in his active imagination. To compensate, Spader started performing theater while in school, where he could completely absorb in his fantasies, and eventually dropped out at 17 to move to New York City. While there, he took on a series of odd jobs and trained at the Michael Chekov Acting Studio. But he still considered acting a hobby and form of escape when he started landing paying gigs.

Unexpectedly, he found himself becoming a professional actor. His earlier roles including a small part as Brooke Shields' brother in "Endless Love" (1981) and playing the Kevin Bacon character in an unsold pilot for a 1983 adaptation of the coming-of-age dramedy "Diner" (1982). He played Frank Converse's slightly rebellious son in the short-lived "The Family Tree" (NBC, 1982-83), then costarred in a few television movies before he hit his stride in feature films.

Spader gained feature film attention as Andrew McCarthy's linen-clad, elitist best friend in the wrong-side-of-the-tracks teen romance "Pretty in Pink" (1986). He followed by digging even deeper into the dark side of the privileged, playing a rich kid cocaine dealer who forces Robert Downey Jr. to prostitute himself for drugs in "Less Than Zero" (1987). He paired with McCarthy again as a less-loathsome buddy in the absurd romantic comedy "Mannequin" (1987), but was again tapped to deliver his best smarmy yuppie in the classic portrait of 1980s excess, "Wall Street" (1987).

In 1989, Spader saw a turning point in his career when the actor - who had often been seen as the guy you loved to hate - gave an intriguing and subtle performance in Stephen Soderbergh's "sex, lies, and videotape." He was recognized with a Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival for his finely nuanced portrayal of an eccentric, quietly neurotic drifter forced to face his emotional demons when a return to his college town upsets the staid suburban life of an old friend.

Following a supporting role as a possessive boyfriend in the well-received Martin Amis adaptation, "The Rachel Papers" (1989), Spader played a buttoned-up square befriended by a dangerously charming con artist (Rob Lowe) in the uneven thriller "Bad Influence" (1990). He fared better in independent film territory, delivering a quality performance as a young widower who falls for an older woman (Susan Sarandon) in the erotic "White Palace" (1990). He was paired alongside John Cusack for the political drama "True Colors" (1991), but the film about friendship and blackmail was not a commercial success. With "Storyville" (1992), Spader reinforced his new association with sexy, intelligent fare playing a New Orleans lawyer turned congressional candidate tempted by fleshly pleasures.

He was again at the mercy of a destructive femme fatale (Madchen Amick) in the erotic thriller "Dream Lover" (1994), though the "Basic Instinct" (1992) wannabe failed to attract much attention. In "Wolf" (1994), an imaginative urban take on the werewolf legend, Spader played his trademark yuppie villain, then went on to score his biggest commercial hit with "Stargate" (1994). An unexpected sight in the mainstream sci-fi adventure, Spader successfully showcased another side of his eccentricity playing a nerdy Egyptologist who becomes involved in a parallel dimension.

When he returned from journeying across the universe, Spader was back to exploring the dark underbelly of humanity as a scheming hit man characterized as evil incarnate in John Herzfeld's "2 Days in the Valley" (1996). Stepping boldly into the film adaptation of J.G. Ballard's "Crash" (1996), the David Cronenberg-directed world of fetishism and erotic obsession, Spader found perhaps his most provocative role since his 1989 breakthrough, delivering an inspired portrayal of a man whose involvement in a fatal accident revitalizes his sex life. Spader cut a terrific presence with his Elvis-style hair-do in the murder mystery "Keys to Tulsa" (1997), before giving a more conventional performance as an unethical doctor in Sidney Lumet's "Critical Care" (1997).

Following a pair of duds - "Supernova" (2000) and "The Watcher" (2000) - Spader revived his acclaimed status with the erotic art house hit "Secretary" (2002). The Special Jury Prize winner at Sundance explored issues of love, sex and power through the story of an unusual relationship between a lawyer (Spader) and his young secretary (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who was released from a mental institute. Though the lion's share of the awards went to Gyllenhaal, the film raised Spader's profile and helped him land on David E. Kelley's short list when the television producer was looking to revive his ratings-deprived courtroom drama, "The Practice."

Kelley wanted someone provocative, compelling and a tad strange to insert into the mix of decent lawyers and approached Spader, thanks to his success playing devious, offbeat characters. As the charismatic and morally slippery Alan Shore, Spader breathed new life into the show's final season and earned him an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. In 2005, his character was spun off into "Boston Legal," where Spader was able to further explore the questionable morals of his law partner at Crane, Poole and Schmidt, while sharing undeniable sparring chemistry with co-star William Shatner. The show delivered steady ratings for ABC, while Spader's performance earned him Emmys in 2005 and 2007.

After "Boston Legal" went off the air, Spader made his Broadway debut in David Mamet's "Race" (2009), before returning to television with a guest starring role on "The Office" (NBC, 2005-2013) for the season seven finale, playing ultra-manipulative salesman Robert California. In a high-profile announcement, Spader returned to the show as a regular player for season eight after outgoing star Steve Carell moved on. With his "Office" stint clearly reviving his career, he kept up the momentum, appearing in Steven Spielberg's historical drama "Lincoln" (2012).

Spader soon landed his own series, starring as master criminal Red Reddington in "The Blacklist" (NBC, 2013- ). Shortly before the show aired, his next major role was announced-the veteran actor played the supervillain Ultron in the highly anticipated superhero sequel "The Avengers: Age of Ultron," which opened in theaters in May 2015.

Credits

The Office: Superfan Episodes

Actor
Robert California
Show
2020

Today 3rd Hour

Guest
Show
2018

Today's Take

Guest
Show
2016

The Late Show With Stephen ColbertStream

Guest
Talk
2015

Avengers: Age of UltronStream

Voice
Ultron
Movie
2015
76%

Making of ...

Actor
Show
2014

Late Night With Seth MeyersStream

Guest
Talk
2014

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Guest
Show
2014

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonStream

Guest
Talk
2014

The HomesmanStream

Actor
Aloysius Duffy
Movie
2014
81%

The BlacklistStream

Actor
Raymond "Red" Reddington
Series
2013
91%

The BlacklistStream

Executive Producer
Series
2013
91%

The Blacklist: Extras

Actor
Show
2013

Anderson Live

Guest
Show
2012

Live! With Kelly and Michael

Guest
Talk
2012

LincolnStream

Actor
W.N. Bilbo
Movie
2012
90%

The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien

Guest
Talk
2009

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

Guest
Talk
2009

Shorts

Actor
Mr. Black
Movie
2009

The 60th Primetime Emmy Awards

Guest
Show
2008

Discovery Atlas

Narrator
Show
2006

Atlas

Narrator
Show
2006

Made in Hollywood

Guest
Series
2005

Entertainment Tonight Canada

Guest
Show
2005

The OfficeStream

Actor
Robert California
Series
2005
81%

The OfficeStream

Guest Star
Robert California
Series
2005
81%

The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

Guest
Talk
2005

Boston LegalStream

Actor
Alan Shore
Series
2004
86%

Shadow of Fear

Actor
William Ashbury
Movie
2004

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Guest
Talk
2003

The Pentagon Papers

Actor
Daniel Ellsberg
Movie
2003

Alien Hunter

Actor
Julian Rome
Movie
2003

I Witness

Actor
Douglas Draper
Movie
2003

SecretaryStream

Actor
E. Edward Grey
Movie
2002
78%

Live With Regis and Kelly

Guest
Show
2001

Speaking of Sex

Actor
Dr. Roger Klink
Movie
2001

The Stickup

Actor
John Parker
Movie
2001

SupernovaStream

Actor
Nick Vanzant
Movie
2000
11%

The Watcher

Actor
Campbell
Movie
2000

Slow Burn

Actor
Marcus
Movie
2000

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

Guest
Talk
1999

Curtain Call

Actor
Stevenson Lowe
Movie
1998

The ViewStream

Guest
Talk
1997

The PracticeStream

Actor
Alan Shore
Series
1997

Keys to Tulsa

Actor
Ronnie Stover
Movie
1997

Critical Care

Actor
Dr. Werner Ernst
Movie
1997

Crash

Actor
James Ballard
Movie
1996
63%

2 Days in the ValleyStream

Actor
Lee Woods
Movie
1996
62%

Driftwood

Actor
The Man
Movie
1995

Dream Lover

Actor
Ray Reardon
Movie
1994

WolfStream

Actor
Stewart Swinton
Movie
1994
63%

StargateStream

Actor
Dr. Daniel Jackson
Movie
1994
53%

FrasierStream

Guest Star
Steven
Series
1993
95%

FrasierStream

Guest Voice
Steven
Series
1993
95%

The Music of Chance

Actor
Jack Pozzi
Movie
1993

The Tonight Show With Jay Leno

Guest
Talk
1992

Storyville

Actor
Cray Fowler
Movie
1992

Charlie RoseStream

Guest
Talk
1991

True Colors

Actor
Tim Gerrity
Movie
1991

Bad InfluenceStream

Actor
Michael Boll
Movie
1990
65%

White Palace

Actor
Max Baron
Movie
1990
50%

SeinfeldStream

Guest Star
Jason 'Stanky' Hanky
Series
1989
89%

Sex, Lies, and VideotapeStream

Actor
Graham
Movie
1989
96%

The Rachel Papers

Actor
Deforest
Movie
1989

Sex fiction

Actor
Movie
1989

Jack's BackStream

Actor
John/Rick Westford
Movie
1988
71%

Baby BoomStream

Actor
Ken Arrenberg
Movie
1987
67%

Less Than ZeroStream

Actor
Rip
Movie
1987
50%

Wall StreetStream

Actor
Roger Barnes
Movie
1987
79%

Le retour de Jack l'éventreur

Actor
Movie
1987

MannequinStream

Actor
Richards
Movie
1987
20%

Pretty In PinkStream

Actor
Steff
Movie
1986
73%

Tuff Turf

Actor
Morgan Hiller
Movie
1985

Starcrossed

Actor
Joey Callaghan
Movie
1985

The New Kids

Actor
Eddie Dutra
Movie
1985

Family Secrets

Actor
Lowell Everall
Movie
1984

Quartier chaud

Actor
Movie
1984

The Family Tree

Actor
Jake Nichols
Show
1983

Cocaine: One Man's Seduction

Actor
Buddy Gant
Movie
1983

A Killer in the Family

Actor
Donny Tison
Movie
1983

Le Crime dans le sang

Actor
Movie
1983

Endless Love

Actor
Keith Butterfield
Movie
1981

Good Morning America

Guest
News
1975

Today

Guest
News
1952

News aboutJames Spader

James Spader in 'The Blacklist'

‘The Blacklist’ Ending With Season 10 — Watch Trailer (VIDEO)

The Blacklist - Season 9
Finale

‘The Blacklist’ Season 9 Finale Is ‘the Final Chapter of the Liz Keen Story’

Joely Richardson as Cassandra Bianchi in The Blacklist
Exclusive

‘The Blacklist’: First Look at Joely Richardson’s Return as Cassandra Bianchi (PHOTOS)

James Spader on The Blacklist

‘The Blacklist’: James Spader Confirms Season 10 Renewal (VIDEO)

'The Blacklist,' James Spader as Raymond

‘The Blacklist’ Returns: Should This Be the Final Season? (POLL)

The Blacklist Season 9 James Spader
Exclusive

‘The Blacklist’ Season 9 First Look: ‘Someone’s Going to Pay’ (PHOTOS)

The Blacklist Season 8 Finale Red Liz
Spoiler Alert

Did ‘The Blacklist’ Actually Reveal Red’s Identity in the Finale?

The Blacklist Finale Season 8 Megan Boone
Spoiler Alert

‘The Blacklist’ Finale: What Did You Think of Liz’s Ending? (POLL)

The Blacklist - Megan Boone holding a gun in Season 8
Finale

Liz ‘Comes to Terms With Her Moral Compass’ in ‘Blacklist’ Finale, Says Megan Boone

The Blacklist - Season 8 - James Spader
Spoiler Alert

Did ‘The Blacklist’ Finally Reveal Red’s True Identity?

The Blacklist - Season 8 - Megan Boone as Liz Keen
Preview

‘The Blacklist’ Penultimate Episode Answers ‘8 Years Worth of Questions’

The Blacklist - Clark Middleton
Exclusive

‘Blacklist’ Sneak Peek Is a Beautiful Goodby to Tracker Glenn Carter, aka the Late Clark Middleton

The Blacklist
Exclusive

‘The Blacklist’ Preview: The Freelancer, Red’s First Blacklister, Is Back (PHOTOS)

Megan Boone as Elizabeth Keen - The Blacklist - Season 8 Episode 2
Preview

‘The Blacklist’: For Red & Liz, ‘It’s Tiger Vs. Tiger’ in 2021 Return

The Blacklist Season 8
Spoiler Alert

‘The Blacklist’ Asks What Side Liz Is Really On in Season 8 Premiere (RECAP)

The Blacklist
Exclusive

Red & Liz Are Back in ‘The Blacklist’ Season 8 Premiere First Look (PHOTOS)

The Blacklist Season 8 James Spader

‘The Blacklist’ Trailer: Red & Liz Gear Up for a Season 8 Showdown (VIDEO)

The Blacklist - Megan Boone holding a gun in Season 7
Fall Preview

‘The Blacklist’ EPs Tease Season 8’s ‘Big Swings, Big Betrayals, Big Reveals’

TV Cast Replacements

10 Times TV Shows Tried to Replace Their Lead Stars

The Blacklist Season 7 Finale
Spoiler Alert

‘The Blacklist’ Boss on Liz Choosing Her Devious Mom Over Reddington

James Spader and Gordon Kemp in The Blacklist - Season 7 Episode 15
Exclusive

Can Red Calm Down Ilya Koslov on ‘The Blacklist’? (PHOTOS)

The Blacklist Joely Richardson Guest Star 2020 Return
Q&A

Joely Richardson’s ‘Blacklist’ Episode Is Agatha Christie Meets Indiana Jones

The Blacklist - Season 7 Episode 12 - Joely Richardson

Joely Richardson Guest Stars When ‘The Blacklist’ Returns (PHOTOS)

The Blacklist - Season 7
Exclusive

‘The Blacklist’ Sneak Peek: Why Is Red Worried About a Missing Friend? (VIDEO)

Blacklist 702 clip
Exclusive

‘The Blacklist’ Sneak Peek: Katarina Tries to Bleed Red for Information (VIDEO)

The Blacklist - Season 7
Spoiler Alert

What Happened to Red on ‘The Blacklist’? (RECAP)

The Blacklist - Season 7
Fall Preview

‘The Blacklist’s EP Teases Katarina’s Impact Over Elizabeth & Red in Season 7

The Blacklist deleted scene
Exclusive

‘The Blacklist’ Season 6 Deleted Scene: Red’s Thoughts on Prison Healthcare (VIDEO)

The Blacklist - Season 6
Exclusive

‘The Blacklist’s EPs Tease Surprise Answers & Shocking New Questions in the Finale (VIDEO)

The Blacklist - Season 6

‘The Blacklist’ Finale Sneak Peek: Is There No More Cheating Death for Red? (PHOTOS)

Amir Arison as Aram Mojtabai in The Blacklist
Exclusive

‘The Blacklist’ Sneak Peek: Grieving Aram Blackmails Red to Win a Favor (VIDEO)

The Blacklist - Season 6
Preview

‘The Blacklist’ EP Teases Guest Star Stacy Keach & James Spader ‘Are a Delight’ Together

The Blacklist - Season 6
Spoiler Alert

Can Red Reddington Escape Execution? ‘Blacklist’ EP Jon Bokenkamp Weighs In

The Blacklist - Season 6
Q&A

‘The Blacklist’ EP Jon Bokenkamp on What’s Ahead for Fake Reddington After Liz’s Betrayal

The Blacklist - Season 6 - James Spader as Red Reddington and Megan Boone as Elizabeth Keen sit on a park bench
Preview

‘The Blacklist’ Star Megan Boone on the ‘Blurred’ Line Between Right & Wrong in Season 6

The Blacklist - Season 6 - James Spader

Watch the First 5 Minutes of ‘The Blacklist’ Season 6 Premiere Now (VIDEO)

Screen Shot 2018-12-07 at 11.08.55 AM

‘The Blacklist’ Season 6 Trailer: Red’s in Prison and Facing Execution?! (VIDEO)

The Blacklist - Season 5

‘The Blacklist’ Returns! NBC Announces Two-Night Season 6 Premiere

The Blacklist- Ryan Eggold

‘The Blacklist’ First Look: Tom Keen Prepares for Battle

the blacklist, season 5, returning favorites

Red’s Broke! How ‘The Blacklist’ Will Get James Spader’s Mastermind Back on Track

The Blacklist - James Spader
Preview

‘The Blacklist’: Red Goes to Extreme Lengths to Save His Life and His Empire (VIDEO)

Susan Blommaert as Mr. Kaplan on The Blacklist
Finale

‘There Are Lots of Twists and Turns’: Susan Blommaert Previews the Season Ender of ‘The Blacklist’

The Blacklist - Enrique Murciano, Diego Klattenhoff
Exclusive

Enrique Murciano Joins ‘The Blacklist’ as an FBI Agent out to Take Down Red (VIDEO)

Hisham Tawfiq as Dembe Zuma in The Blacklist
Preview

Did Dembe Poison Red? What’s Coming up for ‘The Blacklist’?

THE BLACKLIST - James Spader
Preview

Does Red Die in ‘The Blacklist’ Winter Finale?

Ryan Eggold as Tom Keen in The Blacklist, Season 1

‘Blacklist: Redemption’ Will Be ‘Very Different’ From ‘The Blacklist’

The Blacklist - Season 1 - Megan Boone

‘The Blacklist’: Megan Boone Talks About Liz’s Tangled Web in Season 4

The Blacklist - James Spader holding a shotgun

Liz and Red Are Still on the Run—and Being Hunted—on ‘The Blacklist’

The Blacklist - James Spader

The Blacklist Season 1: James Spader’s Addictive New Hit

The Blacklist - James Spader

James Spader Previews The Blacklist’s Intense Season 2