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For the inventor, see James C. Marsters.

James Wesley Marsters (born August 20, 1962) is an American actor and musician. Marsters first came to the attention of the general public playing the popular character Spike, a platinum-blond English vampire in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off series, Angel from 1997 to 2004. Since then, he has gone on to play other science fiction roles, such as the alien supervillain Brainiac on the Superman-inspired series Smallville and the omnisexual time traveller Captain John Hart in British science-fiction show Torchwood. In 2007, Marsters appeared in a supporting role in the mainstream movie P.S. I Love You and as the main antagonist, Piccolo, in the 2009 fantasy adventure film Dragonball Evolution. He currently appears in Syfy's Caprica.

Early life

Marsters was born in Greenville, California, the son of a former minister and social worker.[1] He grew up with his brother, Paul and sister, Susan in Modesto, California. Dreaming about becoming an actor since he played Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh in fourth grade, James joined the theater group at Grace M. Davis High School acting in many plays including musicals. After graduation, Marsters studied at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, 1980–1982, and Juilliard Drama School, 1982–1984.

In an appearance on the Loveline radio show in early 2003 he spoke very negatively about his experience at Juilliard, which he was "basically kicked out of", saying that they were not concerned about being entertaining and that it "wasn't an acting college, it was a speech college".

Career

Acting

Marsters moved to Chicago, where his first professional acting role was Ferdinand in The Tempest at the Goodman Theatre in 1987. In this production, he was rolled onto the stage strapped naked to a wheel. He also appeared with well-known Chicago companies such as the Northlight and the Bailiwick and with his own group, the Genesis Theatre Company. Marsters was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for his performance of the lead role of Robespierre in the six-hour drama Incorruptible: The Life, Death and Dreams of Maximilian de Robespierre in 1989.

In 1990, Marsters moved to Seattle and, with Liane Davidson and Greg Musick, formed the New Mercury Theatre, named after Orson Welles' own theatre group. In this and other companies, Marsters was involved in a wide range of plays, including Teechers (a British play by John Godber), Anouilh's Antigone, an original work based on the Dr. Seuss books, and Shaw's Misalliance.

In 1992, Marsters got his first acting job on TV—on Northern Exposure, in which he appeared for two episodes as a bellboy and a church minister. He has made guest appearances on television series such as Andromeda, as well as the independent films Chance (2002), Winding Roads (1999), and the 2005 USA Network movie Cool Money. In 1999, Marsters had a small role in the remake of House on Haunted Hill as a TV cameraman. During November 2005, Marsters filmed a thriller, Shadow Puppets, with Jolene Blalock.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

It was his appearance as Spike on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (first appearing in Season Two) that attracted the attention of the general public. The immediate fan response prevented his character from being killed off, allowing him a presence throughout the series. Spike became a regular in Season Four, and remained so until the show's finale. After the conclusion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Marsters carried Spike over to the Buffy spin-off show, Angel, also in a regular role (second title billing after David Boreanaz). In April 2004, following the end of Angel, Marsters had Spike's trademark bleached hair shaved off for charity live on television in On Air with Ryan Seacrest.[2]

Marsters' inspiration for Spike's English accent was from his co-star, Anthony Head, who was born in Camden Town. Although Head affected a light, Received Pronunciation accent as Giles, he has a deeper, more notably London accent when not in character. Marsters' accent was so convincing, many crew members were not aware that he was an American.[3]

Aside from playing the character, Marsters also wrote a comic book one-shot for Dark Horse Comics, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike and Dru.

Other work

Marsters has also narrated the audiobooks for The Dresden Files produced by Buzzy Multimedia, a series of detective novels with a supernatural bent. The third audio in the series, Grave Peril,[4] was released in March 2005 and Marsters is contracted to narrate the fourth in the series, Summer Knight, in 2006. He reprised his reading of the series, including "Proven Guilty," "White Night," Small Favor, and "Turn Coat", produced by Penguin Audio. "Death Masks" audio book is due out in late 2009. In late 2005, Marsters appeared on the television series Smallville playing Dr. Milton Fine — the popular Superman villain "Brainiac" — in eight episodes throughout the show's fifth season. He reprised his role as Brainiac in a four-episode arc in the seventh season, and did a cameo voice-over in season eight. He will return for the final season.[5]

On October 29, 2005, Marsters presented two performances of his own abridged adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth with American actress Cheryl Puente as Lady Macbeth, followed by question and answer sessions with the audience and acoustic concerts in London.

In September, 2006, Marsters' own interpretation of Godber's Teechers was performed on the Queen Mary with two other actors in Los Angeles. This is a play he had received critical acclaim for as a stage actor prior to his television work. Marsters co-starred in the 2007 cinematic release of P.S. I Love You alongside Kathy Bates, Hilary Swank, and Gerard Butler.[6] Released in September 2007, Marsters starred in the direct-to-DVD animated movie, Superman: Doomsday, providing the voice of iconic villain Lex Luthor. The film received mostly positive reviews, with most of the critics and fans stating that Marsters and co-star Adam Baldwin, (who played Luthor's nemesis Superman) gave excellent performances. 2007 would also see James portray "Detective Mars" on the CBS drama Without a Trace.

In 2008, James Marsters guest starred in Torchwood, a spin-off of the popular British science fiction television series Doctor Who. First appearing in the episode "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang",[7][8] as the nefarious omnisexual time traveller Captain John Hart. He reprises the role in the last two episodes of the second season.

Marsters portrays the character "Piccolo Daimao" in the live-action film adaptation of the popular Dragon Ball manga and anime,[9] directed by James Wong and produced by Stephen Chow, which was released worldwide on April 10, 2009.

On July 20, 2009, the movie, Moonshot, aired on the History Channel in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the 1969 moon landing. In this film, Marsters portrays Buzz Aldrin. On August 19, 2009, it was announced that James signed on for a role in Caprica. Marsters has been cast as the dangerous terrorist leader Barnabus Greeley for at least three episodes, with the potential for more, SyFy confirmed to TVGuide.com.[10]

Also in August 2009, Marsters' science fiction western, High Plains Invaders aired on the Syfy Channel. In this alien invasion flick, Marsters portrays Sam Danville.[11]

It was announced in August 2010 that Marsters would be joining the cast of Syfy Channel series Three Inches as a series regular portraying Troy Hamilton, a former government agent who now leads a team of superheroes.[12]

Musical career

Marsters had played in bands and solo in bars and clubs for many years and enjoyed several successful sell-out solo gigs at Los Angeles clubs before forming a band. For these solo gigs he mainly performed covers of classic folk and rock musicians such as Tom Waits, Neil Young, and Bruce Springsteen. He also sang in "Once More, with Feeling", a musical episode of Buffy: solo parts in "Walk Through the Fire" and "Something To Sing About", and "Rest in Peace" completely on his own.

File:Unionchapel.JPG

As a friend of Buffy colleague Anthony Stewart Head, Marsters appeared in two songs on Head's 2002 album Music for Elevators.

In 2003–2004, Marsters was the lead singer for the rock band Ghost of the Robot. Their debut album Mad Brilliant was released on February 2, 2003. The band played its first gigs in Los Angeles and Paris. They went on to play successful dates in and around Los Angeles and two sold-out tours of Europe in 2003 and 2004. In addition to Mad Brilliant, they released three singles ("Valerie", "David Letterman" and "New Man") and one mid-length EP, It's Nothing. All these releases carried tracks written and co-written by Marsters.

Marsters' solo musical career was launched in October 2004, in London. His solo acoustic tour of the United Kingdom in April 2005 sold out.[13] A new solo album "Civilized Man" produced by Chris Rhyne and Andrew Rosenthal[13] was released on April 15, 2005. It includes several new songs as well as the popular "Katie" and "Smile". He has played songs from the album live in Detroit, Houston, Sacramento. Ten of the eleven songs are written by Marsters.

New solo songs not included on the album but sung at live solo concerts include "Birth of the Blues", "Finer than Gold", "Louise", and "London City". "Finer than Gold", "London City", and "Louise" were composed while on tour in the UK in April 2005. "Birth of the Blues" was composed by Marsters in Amsterdam in 2004 while touring with his now-defunct band.

During his October 2005 mini-tour of the UK, Marsters introduced other new songs to his sets: "Button Down Vandals", "Up On Me", and "All That She Wanted". These songs were available only as part of his recently released Words and Music DVD, which has his abridged version of Macbeth as well as a full-length solo music performance.

During his September 2006 convention, James Marsters & Friends,[13] Marsters debuted several new songs including "The Truth Is Heavy", "Fall of Night", "Jealous Man", and "Not A Millionaire". All these songs reflect his new blues music and folk sound.

He also performed a cover version of Keb Mo's classic "Baby Blue".

In 2007, Marsters performed live several times in the UK and debuted two new songs written in Cardiff. "Layabout" and "Looking At You" reflect a more upbeat light folk move in Marsters' music. These songs as well as some of his previously unrecorded work will be released on Marsters' second solo album, to be formally launched in Los Angeles and Cardiff in October and November 2007 respectively. The new album, Like A Waterfall,[13] will include twelve songs. All written by Marsters, most have been performed and recorded live but not in the studio. An exception is "When I Was A Baby", a song never previously performed in public.

Like A Waterfall is produced by Ryan Shore and features several other musicians including Blair Sinta, who has drummed for Alanis Morissette, and Five for Fighting bass player Curt Schneider. It is unknown whether Marsters will form a new band for live performances.

In 2008 James Marsters Waterfall Tour came to the UK. He played three dates across London and performed for three consecutive days in Milton Keynes. The concert at the packed Union Chapel in Islington was an acoustic set featuring material from his album - Like A Waterfall.[14]

2009 sees James return to the Union Chapel on May 1,[15] followed by a 'Marstersclass' event at The Drill Hall, in London on May 2.[16] The sell-out event includes a concert, Q&A session plus opportunities to get autographs and photos. May 3 sees James perform at the Legendary 100 Club in London.[17] Prior to the UK dates, James' busy performing schedule sees him heading to Orlando and The Netherlands. Following his UK stint, James heads to New York in June.[18]

Personal life

Marsters is divorced from Liane Davidson, with whom he has one son named Sullivan (born 1996). His reps announced on May 21, 2010 that James recently proposed to longtime girlfriend Patricia Rahman, 24, a student of fashion design, in Trier, Germany.[19] Marsters and Rahman met at a concert in Amsterdam.[20]

Filmography

Film
Year Film Role Notes
1999 House on Haunted Hill Channel 3 Cameraman
2002 Chance Simon
2007 Shadow Puppets jack
Superman: Doomsday Lex Luthor voice/Direct-to-Video Release
P.S. I Love You John McCarthy
2009 Dragonball Evolution Lord Piccolo
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1992, 1993 Northern Exposure Bellhop
Reverend Harding
Episode: It Happened in Juneau
Episode: Grosse Pointe 48230
1995 Medicine Ball Mickey Collins Episode: Heart and Sole
1997 Moloney Billy O'Hara Episode: Herniated Nick
1997–2003 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Spike 96 episodes
1999, 2003–2004 Angel Spike 24 episodes
1999 Millennium Eric Swan Episode: Collateral Damage
Winding Roads Billy Johnson TV-Movie
2001 The Enforcers Charles Haysbert Miniseries
Strange Frequency Mitch Brand Segment: Soul Man
Andromeda Charlemagne Bolivar Episode: Into the Labyrinth
2004 The Mountain Ted Tunney
2005 Cool Money Bobby Comfort USA Network TV-Movie
2005–2006, 2008 Spider-Man 1 1/2 Prof. Dmitri Smerdyakov/Chameleon Season 5, 7, + 8
2005, 2006,2008–2010 Smallville Professor Milton Fine/Brainiac/Brainiac 5 Season 5, 7, 10 (14 episodes)
2007–2008 Without a Trace Det. Grant Mars Episode: Lost Boy
Episode: Clean Up
Episode: One Wrong Move
Episode: Article 32
2007 Saving Grace Dudley Payne Episode: Bring It On, Earl
2008 Torchwood Captain John Hart Episode: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Episode: Fragments
Episode: Exit Wounds
The Capture of the Green River Killer Ted Bundy Miniseries
2008 Star Wars: The Clone Wars Captain Argyus Episode: Cloak of Darkness
2009 Moon Shot Buzz Aldrin ITV TV-Movie[21]
High Plains Invaders Sam Denville TV-Movie
Numb3rs Damien Lake Episode: Guilt Trip
The Super Hero Squad Show Mister Fantastic
Lie to Me Pollack Episode: Truth or Consequences
2010 Caprica Barnabus Greeley Episode: Rebirth
Hawaii Five-0 Victor Hesse Episode: Pilot
Video Games
Year Title Role Notes
2002 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Spike voice role
2003 Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds Spike voice role
2009 Real Heroes: Firefighters Jimmy "Match" Morris voice role
2010 DC Universe Online Lex Luthor and Brainiac voice role

Awards and nominations

Teen Choice Awards

  • 2000: Nominated, "TV - Choice Sidekick" — Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • 2002: Nominated, "TV - Choice Actor" — Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • 2003: Nominated, "TV - Choice Actor" — Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Saturn Awards

  • 2000: Nominated, "Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Series - Drama" — Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • 2001: Won, "Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Series - Drama" — Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • 2002: Won, "Cinescape Genre Face of the Future Award" — Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • 2002: Nominated, "Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Series - Drama" — Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • 2003: Nominated, "Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Series - Drama" — Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • 2004: Won, "Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Series - Drama" — Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel
  • 2005: Nominated, "Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Series - Drama" — Angel

Golden Satellite Awards

  • 2003: Nominated, "Best Performance by an Supporting Actor in a Series - Drama" — Buffy the Vampire Slayer

SFX Awards, UK

  • 2002: Won, "Best Comedy Performance" — Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • 2002: Won, "Best TV Actor" — Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Spacey Awards, Canada

  • 2004: Won, "Viewers Choice Award - Favourite TV Character - Male" - "Spike from Angel"

References

External links

Template:Buffy and Angel cast


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