Spiner in May 2012
|Born||Brent Jay Spiner
February 2, 1949
Houston, Texas, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Houston|
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, musician|
Brent Jay Spiner (//, born February 2, 1949) is an American actor, best known for his portrayal of the android Lieutenant Commander Data in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and four subsequent films. His portrayal of Data in Star Trek: First Contact and of Dr. Brackish Okun in Independence Day, both in 1996, earned him a Saturn Award and Saturn Award nomination respectively.
He has also enjoyed a career in the theatre and as a musician.
Brent Jay Spiner was born February 2, 1949 in Houston, Texas to Sylvia and Jack Spiner, who owned a furniture store. After his father's death, Spiner was adopted by Sylvia's second husband, Sol Mintz, whose surname he used between 1955 and 1975. He attended Bellaire High School, Bellaire, Texas. Spiner became active on the Bellaire Speech team, winning the national championship in dramatic interpretation. He attended the University of Houston where he performed in local theatre.
Spiner moved to New York City in the early 70s, where he became a stage actor, performing in several Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, including The Three Musketeers and Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George. He had a brief non-speaking role in the film Stardust Memories, credited as "Fan in Lobby", the one with a Polaroid.
Spiner appeared as a media technician in "The Advocates", a second season episode of the Showtime cable series The Paper Chase. In 1984, he moved to Los Angeles, where he appeared in several pilots and made-for-TV movies. He played a recurring character on Night Court, Bob Wheeler, patriarch of a rural family. In 1986, he played a condemned soul in "Dead Run", an episode of the short-lived revival of Rod Serling's series The Twilight Zone on CBS. He made two appearances in season 3 (1986) of the situation comedy Mama's Family, playing two different characters. Spiner's first and only starring film role was in Rent Control (1984). In the Cheers episode "Never Love a Goalie, Part II", he played acquitted murder suspect Bill Grand. Spiner also had a role in a Tales from the Darkside episode, "A Case of the Stubborns", as a priest who experiences a crisis of faith. He portrayed Jim Stevens in the made-for-TV movie Manhunt for Claude Dallas.
In 1987, Spiner started his 15-year run portraying Lieutenant Commander Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation, which spanned seven seasons and four feature films. As a main character, he appeared in all but one of the series' 178 episodes; he was not in the episode "Family". He reprised his role in the spin-off films Star Trek Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). Although billed as the final Trek movie for the TNG cast, the ambiguous ending of Star Trek: Nemesis suggested a possible avenue for the return of Data. However, Spiner has opined that he is too old to continue playing the part, as Data embodies a "childlike innocence" that Spiner can no longer credibly exhibit, as his appearance had already begun to lose that quality by the time he filmed his last Trek films. In addition to the series and films, he voiced his character in several Star Trek video games, such as Star Trek Generations, Star Trek: The Next Generation - A Final Unity, Star Trek: Hidden Evil and Star Trek: Bridge Commander. After appearing in several episodes as the ancestor of Data's creator, Dr. Soong, Spiner also recorded dialogue as Data that was heard in the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, "These Are the Voyages...", which aired in 2005, bringing the Star Trek TV franchise Spiner had helped establish 18 years earlier to a close.
In 1991, Spiner recorded an album of 1940s pop standards entitled Ol' Yellow Eyes Is Back, the title of which was a play on the yellow contact lenses Spiner wore as Data, and the title of a Frank Sinatra record, Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back. In 1997, he returned to Broadway, playing John Adams in the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of the musical 1776. The production was nominated for a Tony Award. A cast recording was released of the revival production.
After Star Trek
Spiner has appeared in the television series Deadly Games, Dream On, Frasier, Friends, Gargoyles, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Mad About You and The Outer Limits. In the series The Big Bang Theory and Joey, he appeared as himself. He has acted in the movies The Aviator, Dude, Where's My Car?, I Am Sam, Independence Day, The Master of Disguise, Out to Sea, Phenomenon, The Ponder Heart and South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut. His television-movie appearances during this period include the 2000 musical Geppetto and the role of Dorothy Dandridge's manager and confidant, Earl Mills, in the HBO production Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.
In 2004, Spiner returned to Star Trek when he appeared as Dr. Arik Soong, an ancestor of Data's creator Dr. Noonien Soong, whom he also played, in a three-episode story arc of Star Trek: Enterprise: "Borderland", "Cold Station 12" and "The Augments". He also briefly reprised the role of Data for the series, providing a voice-only cameo in the Enterprise finale "These Are the Voyages...". Spiner guest-starred in Friends as a man who interviews Rachel for Gucci, and later cameoed as himself in the Friends spin-off Joey.
In 2005, Spiner appeared in a short-lived science-fiction television series Threshold, which was canceled in November of that year after 13 episodes. In 2006, he appeared in a feature film comedy, Material Girls, with Hilary and Haylie Duff.
During the tenth season of the situation comedy Frasier, in the episode "Lilith Needs a Favor", Spiner made two brief cameos as a fellow airline passenger with Frasier Crane's ex-wife, Lilith Sternin.
In 2008, Spiner played Dr. Strom in the feature film parody Superhero Movie. In February 2009, he played William Quint in "The Juror #6 Job", an episode of the drama series Leverage directed by his Next Generation co-star Jonathan Frakes. That same year, he voiced himself in the Family Guy episode "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven".
In April 2011, Spiner began starring in Fresh Hell, a comic webseries in which he plays a version of himself, attempting to put his career back together after falling out of the limelight.
He appeared as Dr. Kern in the September 12, 2011 episode of the Syfy channel program Alphas entitled "Blind Spot". In October 2011, he appeared as himself in the episode "The Russian Rocket Reaction" (October 13, 2011) of The Big Bang Theory. The day after his guest appearance on The Big Bang Theory, it was announced that Spiner would guest-star in the Young Justice episode "Revelation", providing the voice of the Joker. Spiner has also guest starred on the Syfy channel program Warehouse 13 as Brother Adrian in the third and fourth seasons. In episode 7 of season 4, the character Pete Lattimer jokingly describes another obsessively tidy, character in this episode as "Commander Data".
Spiner's web site is at therealbrentspiner.com. He selected that domain name because someone else bought the domain name brentspiner.com before he could do so, and he was not amenable to paying the price the owners demanded for it, which Spiner called "inflated".
|1970||My Sweet Charlie||Local||Uncredited|
|1980||Stardust Memories||Fan in lobby|
|1982||Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains||Corinne Burns's Boss||Uncredited|
|1984||Rent Control||Leonard Junger|
|1985||Crime of Innocence||Hinnerman|
|1986||Sunday in the Park with George||Franz/Dennis|
|1986||Sylvan in Paradise||Clinton C. Waddle|
|1986||Manhunt for Claude Dall||Jim Stevens|
|1987||Family Sins||Ken McMahon|
|1989||Miss Firecracker||Preacher Mann|
|1991||Crazy from the Heart||N/A||Television movie; uncredited|
|1994||Corrina, Corrina||Brent Witherspoon|
|1994||Star Trek Generations||Lt. Commander Data|
|1995||Kingfish: A Story of Huey Long||N/A||Uncredited|
|1996||Pie in the Sky||Upscale Guy|
|1996||Independence Day||Dr. Brackish Okun||Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1996||Phenomenon||Dr. Rob Niedorf|
|1996||Star Trek: First Contact||Lt. Commander Data||Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1997||Out to Sea||Gil Godwyn|
|1998||Star Trek: Insurrection||Lt. Commander Data|
|1999||South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut||Conan O'Brien||Voice|
|1999||Introducing Dorothy Dandridge||Earl Parks||Television movie
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
|2000||Dude, Where's My Car?||Pierre||Uncredited|
|2001||A Girl Thing||Bob||Television movie|
|2001||The Ponder Heart||Dorris Grabney||Television movie|
|2001||I Am Sam||Shoe Salesman|
|2002||The Master of Disguise||Devlin Bowman|
|2002||Star Trek Nemesis||Lt. Commander Data/B-4|
|2003||An Unexpected Love||Brad||Television movie|
|2004||The Aviator||Robert Gross|
|2006||Material Girls||Tommy Katzenbach|
|2008||Superhero Movie||Dr. Strom|
|2010||Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey||Coach Mackey||Voice|
|2015||The Midnight Man||Ezekiel||Post-production|
|2016||Independence Day 2||Filming|
|1978||The Dain Curse||Tom Fink||Unknown episodes|
|1981||Ryan's Hope||The Doctor Examining Kim||Episode: "#1.1442"|
|1984||The Paper Chase||Student in Reeve's Class||Episode: "The Advocates"|
|1984||Tales from the Darkside||Reverend Peabody||Episode: "A Case of the Stubborns"|
|1984||One Life to Live||Ralph Harley||Episode: "17 December 1984"|
|1985||Robert Kennedy & His Times||Allard Lowenstein||Unknown episodes|
|1985||Hill Street Blues||Larry Stein||Episode: "The Life and Time of Domonic Florio Jr"|
|1985–1987||Night Court||Bob Wheeler||6 episodes|
|1986||The New Twilight Zone||The Draft Dodger||Episode: "The Leprechaun-Artist/Dead Run"|
|1986||American Playhouse||Dennis/Franz||Episode: "Sunday in the Park with George"|
|1986||Hunter||Willie Vaughn||Episode: "The Contract"|
|1986–1987||Mama's Family||Billy Bob Conroy||2 episodes|
|1987||Cheers||Bill Grand||Episode: "Never Love a Goalie (Part 2)"|
|1987||Sledge Hammer!||Soldier||Episode: "The Spa Who Loved Me"|
|1987–1994||Star Trek: The Next Generation||Lt. Commander Data||175 episodes
Nominated—Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Drama Series
|1988||Reading Rainbow||Himself||Episode: "The Bionic Bunny Show"|
|1995||Mad About You||Bob, The Dog Agent||Episode: "Just My Dog"|
|1995||Deadly Games||Danny Schlecht||Episode: "The Practical Joker"|
|1996||Dream On||Dr. Strongwater||Episode: "The Spirit of 76th & Park"|
|1996||The Outer Limits||Professor Trent Davis||Episode: "The Deprogrammers"|
|2003||Frasier||Albert||Episode: "Lilith Needs a Favor"|
|2004||Friends||James Campbell||Episode: "The One with Princess Consuela"|
|2004||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Graham Barnes||Episode: "Shrink-Wrapped"|
|2004–2005||Star Trek: Enterprise||Dr. Arik Soong/Lt. Commander Data||4 episodes|
|2005||Joey||Himself||Episode: "Joey and the Premier"|
|2005–2006||Threshold||Dr. Nigel Fenway||13 episodes|
|2009||Leverage||William Quint||Episode: "The Juror #6 Job"|
|2009||Family Guy||Himself||Episode: "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven"|
|2010–2013||Generator Rex||Dr. Gabriel Rylander||4 episodes|
|2011||The Guild||Himself||Episode: "Ends and Begins"|
|2011||Alphas||Dr. Kern||Episode: "Blind Spot"|
|2011||The Big Bang Theory||Himself||Episode: "The Russian Rocket Reaction"|
|2011||Young Justice||The Joker||Episode: "Revelation"|
|2011||Fresh Hell||Brent Spiner||15 episodes|
|2012||The Simpsons||Robots||Episode: "Them, Robot"|
|2012||The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes||Purple Man||Episode: "Emperor Stark"|
|2012||Warehouse 13||Brother Adrian||6 episodes|
|2013||Wendell & Vinnie||Himself||Episode: "Swindle & Vinnie"|
|2014||Ray Donovan||Therapist||3 episodes|
|2014||Star Wars Rebels||Gall Trayvis||2 episodes|
|2014||Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.||Silver Surfer||Episode: "Fear Itself"|
|2015||Comedy Bang Bang||The Sandman||Episode: "Zach Galifianakis Wears Grey Corduroys and Brown Leather Shoes"|
|1978||A History of the American Film||Hank|
|1984–1985||Sunday in the Park with George||Franz/Denis|
|1984||The Three Musketeers||Aramis|
|1985–1987||Big River||The Duke|
|1997–1998||1776||John Adams||Nominated—Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical|
|2003||Life (x) 3||Hubert|
- "Brent Spiner Biography (1949–)". Film Reference. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
- "Brent Spiner". Yahoo! TV. February 2, 1949. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
- Lipton, Michael A. "Can Data Find a Mate-A?" People magazine; vol. 37, No. 22; June 8, 1992Spelling, Ian (July 23, 2012). "Brent Spiner set to return to Warehouse 13". readingeagle.com
- "Before Brent Spiner was Famous". National Forensic League. Retrieved June 17, 2011
- "The Advocates". The Paper Chase. Season 2. Episode 17. August 7, 1984.
- Thompson, Simon. "Brent Spiner Rules Out Star Trek XI", ComingSoon.net. Retrieved November 16, 2010
- "Brent Spiner on BBC Breakfast" on YouTube, BBC Breakfast, September 23, 2006. Retrieved November 16, 2010
- Lee, Luaine (January 9, 2003). "A Data with Star Trek again". 9 January 2003 (The New Zealand Herald). Retrieved December 9, 2010.
- 1776: The New Broadway Cast Recording (1997). Amazon.com. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
- Tenuto, John (April 27, 2008). "Review: Brent Spiner’s Dreamland + Interview + Signed CD Giveaway". TrekMovie.com
- Running time: 12:53. "The TWiT Netcast Network with Leo Laporte". Twit.tv. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
- Brent Spiner's channel on YouTube
- "Young Justice Recruits Brent Spiner and Alyssa Milano for the Injustice League – Today's News: Our Take". TV Guide. October 14, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-10.
- "Brent Spiner Interview". Cinemassacre. May 6, 2012.
- Soper, Taylor (May 30, 2013). "Q&A: Star Trek's 'Data' on autism, space travel, and the link between humanity and technology". Geek Wire.
- "Famous Left Handed people". famouslefties.com. February 2, 2014.
- "Spiner And McFadden Interview About New Collaboration". startrek.com. September 18, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Brent Spiner.|
- Official website
- Fresh Hell, web site of Spiner's 2012 internet project
- Brent Spiner at the Internet Movie Database
- Brent Spiner at the Internet Broadway Database
- Brent Spiner at the TCM Movie Database
- Brent Spiner at AllMovie