About James Todd Spader
Actor James Spader was known for playing 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).
He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of teachers Jean (née Fraser) and Stoddard Greenwood "Todd" Spader. During his early education, he attended The Pike School (where his mother taught art) and enrolled in the Brooks School (where his father taught) for one year in North Andover, Massachusetts. Spader later transferred to Phillips Academy, but dropped out of school in the eleventh grade to pursue acting at the Michael Chekhov School in New York City. Before becoming a full-time actor, Spader held a variety of jobs including being a yoga instructor, busboy, truck driver, stable boy, and railroad-car loader.
Spader's first major film role was in 1981 as Brooke Shields' brother in Endless Love, and his first starring role was in Tuff Turf alongside good friend Robert Downey, Jr. But he did not rise to stardom until 1986, when he played Molly Ringwald's foil Steff in Pretty in Pink. He starred opposite Andrew McCarthy, another friend, in Mannequin, and in the film adaptation of Less Than Zero, where he played a drug dealer named Rip.
Supporting roles in movies such as Baby Boom and Wall Street followed until his critical breakthrough in 1989. In Sex, Lies, and Videotape, he played a sexual voyeur named Graham Dalton who complicates the lives of three Baton Rouge residents. For this performance, he received the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival.
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 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.
In March 2011, Spader was named to star in By Virtue Fall, a film written and to be directed by Sheldon Turner. Also set to star in the film are Eric Bana, Carla Gugino, Ryan Phillippe, Treat Williams and Kim Coates. As of June 2011, the movie is in pre-production, and set to be released 2013.
Spader met his first wife, Victoria Kheel, a decorator, while working in a yoga studio, after he moved to New York in the 1980s. They married in 1987 and have two sons, Elijah and Sebastian. Spader filed for divorce from Kheel in 2004 and, as of June 2011, has plans to marry his girlfriend (and former Alien Hunter co-star), Leslie Stefanson, with whom he had a child in August 2008.