Real name: Kevin Spacey Fowler
Birthdate: July 26, 1959
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Spacey was born Kevin Spacey Fowler in South Orange, New Jersey to Thomas Geoffrey Fowler, a technical writer, and Kathleen (née Spacey), a secretary; he has two older siblings: a sister and a brother, Randy. His father, who has been alleged by Fox News to have been a member of the American Nazi Party, was often unemployed, causing the family to move frequently, eventually settling in Southern California in 1963. Spacey attended Northridge Military Academy after he set his sister's treehouse on fire, but was asked to leave after throwing a tire at another student at the academy, and subsequently attended Chatsworth High School in Chatsworth, California. In the twelfth grade, he starred in the school's senior production of The Sound of Music, playing the part of Captain Georg von Trapp, opposite Maria (played by Mare Winningham). While in high school, he took his mother's maiden name, "Spacey" (originally a Welsh name, belonging to his great-great-grandfather, spelled "Spacy"), as his acting surname. Several reports have incorrectly suggested that he took the name in tribute to actor Spencer Tracy, combining Tracy's first and last names.
Spacey had tried to succeed as a stand-up comedian for several years, before attending the Juilliard School in New York City, where he studied drama, between 1979 and 1981. During this time period, Spacey performed stand-up comedy in bowling alley talent contests.
In 1995, Spacey played in Se7en a serial killer who murders people he thinks guilty of the seven deadly sins, and the enigmatic criminal Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects. His role in The Usual Suspects launched him to A-list status and won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 1996, he played an egomaniacal district attorney in A Time to Kill, and founded Trigger Street Productions in 1997 with the purpose of producing and developing entertainment across various media. In 1996 he made his directorial debut with the film Albino Alligator. The film was a failure at the box office but Spacey's direction was praised.Kevin Spacey in his Oscar winning role as Lester Burnham in American Beauty.
The 2006 season was a year of highs and lows for Spacey. He performed to good notices in the title role of Richard II (directed by Trevor Nunn), but suffered a humiliating failure with a production of "Resurrection Blues", a little-known Arthur Miller play, directed by film director Robert Altman. Despite an all-star Hollywood cast (including Neve Campbell and Matthew Modine) and the pedigree of Miller's script, Spacey's decision to lure Altman to the stage proved disastrous: after a fraught rehearsal period, the play opened to a critical panning, and closed only a few weeks into its run. Spacey resurrected his game later in the year, starring in Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten along with Colm Meaney and Eve Best. The play received excellent reviews for Spacey and Best, and was transferred to Broadway in 2007.