James Marsden

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James Marsden
James Marsden by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Marsden at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
James Paul Marsden

(1973-09-18) September 18, 1973 (age 48)
  • Actor
  • singer
  • former model
Years active1993–present
Lisa Linde
(m. 2000; div. 2011)

James Paul Marsden (born September 18, 1973)[1] is an American actor, singer, and former model. Marsden began his acting career guest starring in the television shows Saved by the Bell: The New Class (1993), Touched by an Angel (1995), and Party of Five (1995). He gained prominence in the early 2000s with his portrayal of Scott Summers / Cyclops in the X-Men film series (2000–2014), and starred in Superman Returns (2006). Other works during this period include The Notebook (2004), 10th & Wolf (2006), and The Alibi (2006).

Following his breakthrough in comic book films, Marsden went on to star in various genre films, including Hairspray (2007), which was a critical and commercial success and won many awards for its ensemble cast. As Corny Collins, he sang two songs for the film's soundtrack which has been certified Platinum by the RIAA.[2] He subsequently appeared in the films Sex Drive (2008), The Box (2009), and Straw Dogs (2011). Marsden has also had starring roles in family-friendly films such as Enchanted (2007) and Hop (2011), and leading roles in 27 Dresses (2007), The Best of Me (2014), and Sonic the Hedgehog (2020).

In 2012, Marsden starred in a range of independent films such as Small Apartments, Bachelorette, and Robot & Frank. He later returned to television guest-starring in Modern Family (2011), and playing Liz Lemon's love interest, Criss Chros in 30 Rock (2012–2013) in a supporting role. In 2013, Marsden portrayed President John F. Kennedy in Lee Daniels's The Butler, and had a supporting role in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. He starred as gunslinging sentient android Teddy Flood in the HBO science fiction series Westworld (2016–2018), as part of the main ensemble. Since 2019, Marsden has starred as Steve and Ben Wood in the Netflix black comedy series Dead to Me. In 2020, Marsden played Stu Redman in the Paramount+ miniseries The Stand.

Early life and family[edit]

Marsden was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma, the son of Kathleen (née Scholtz) and James Luther Marsden.[3] His father, a food safety advisor to LexiGene Industries,[1][4] and his mother, a nutritionist, divorced when he was nine years old.[5]

He has four siblings: two younger sisters and two brothers. He attended Hefner Middle School and Putnam City North High School, in Oklahoma City, and later went on to attend Oklahoma State University, where he studied broadcast journalism.[6] He was also a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Marsden left after one and a half years, opting instead to move to Los Angeles in order to pursue his acting career.


Debut and early career (1994–2003)[edit]

Marsden got his first job in a series of episodes of The Nanny as Eddie, Margaret Sheffield's boyfriend. He then starred in the Canadian television series Boogies Diner, which aired for one season. Following the end of that series, he guest starred on television shows such as Saved by the Bell: The New Class and Party of Five. He later starred in the ABC show Second Noah. He lost out to Edward Norton for a role in Primal Fear and turned down the lead role in 54, which then went to Ryan Phillippe. He starred in the films Disturbing Behavior opposite Katie Holmes and Gossip opposite Kate Hudson. He also appeared in the television series Ally McBeal as one of the main cast members during the first half of season 5, where he also sang. He also starred in a 1998 episode of "The Outer Limits".

Marsden was cast as Cyclops in the X-Men films. His character is prominent in the comics; his screen time in the films, however, is reduced in the sequels. Marsden also appeared in Bryan Singer's Superman Returns. Singer had dropped out of the third X-Men film to direct Superman and Marsden was cast as Lois Lane's fiancé, Richard White. Due to schedule conflicts, Marsden's screen time in X-Men: The Last Stand was reduced, stirring controversy from fans of the comics.[7] Marsden's portrayal of Cyclops in the films was well received and garnered him a Blockbuster Award for Best Supporting Actor.[8] In 2014 Marsden reprised his role of Cyclops in a brief cameo for X-Men: Days of Future Past, as did other actors from the first film including Anna Paquin and Famke Janssen.

Breakthrough with comedy films (2004–11)[edit]

In 2004, Marsden co-starred with Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, James Garner, and Gena Rowlands in the romantic drama The Notebook as Lon Hammond, Jr., the second man Allie Hamilton (McAdams) falls in love with. In 2007, Marsden played Corny Collins in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Hairspray, based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same name. In the film, he sang two songs, "The Nicest Kids In Town" and "(It's) Hairspray." Both Hairspray and its soundtrack were critically acclaimed, the latter of which has since sold over 1,200,000 copies to date in the United States and was certified Platinum by the RIAA.[9] His next role was with Amy Adams in the Disney hybrid animated/live action film Enchanted, playing Prince Edward. He sang one song as a duet with Adams at the beginning of the film and a duet with Idina Menzel that was cut from the film. Enchanted was well received critically and proved to be a commercial success, earning more than $340 million worldwide at the box office.[10]

Following his successes in 2007's Hairspray and Enchanted, Marsden played the male lead in the 2008 romantic comedy 27 Dresses opposite star Katherine Heigl, which grossed $160 million worldwide.[11] He also starred in the teen comedy Sex Drive. Though the film was a moderate success, Marsden's performance was heavily praised.[12] Marsden also received a Teen Choice Awards nomination for Choice Movie Actor in a Comedy for his roles in Enchanted and 27 Dresses.[13]

In 2009, Marsden also played the male lead in the film The Box, based on the 1970 short story "Button, Button" by author Richard Matheson, which was earlier made into an episode of The Twilight Zone.[14] He starred opposite Cameron Diaz and reunited with Superman Returns co-star Frank Langella.[15] In 2010, Marsden was cast in the comedy Death at a Funeral, a remake of the 2007 British film of the same name, along with Chris Rock, Luke Wilson, Danny Glover, and Columbus Short.

Marsden made an appearance on Modern Family in January 2011, playing a squatter.[16] In April, Marsden appeared as the male (live-action) lead in Hop, an Easter-themed comedy co-starring Russell Brand as the Easter Bunny. Although the film was considered a commercial success, opening at the top of the weekend box office and grossing over $100 million in the U.S. box office, Hop generally received negative reviews.[17][18] Later in 2011, Marsden played the lead in Straw Dogs, a remake of Sam Peckinpah's 1971 film; Marsden portrayed the character played by Dustin Hoffman in the original. Straw Dogs reunited Marsden with his Superman Returns co-star Kate Bosworth. The film received mixed reviews and ultimately ended up being a box office flop.[19][20]

Transition to independent films and supporting work (2012–present)[edit]

Marsden at the world premiere of Robot & Frank in January 2012

In 2012 and 2013, Marsden appeared in a recurring role in the sixth and seventh seasons of 30 Rock, playing Criss Chros, the boyfriend (and later husband) of the series' main character Liz Lemon. He also appeared in several independent films, including Robot & Frank, Small Apartments, Bachelorette, and As Cool as I Am. In 2013, he co-starred with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in the action film 2 Guns, which debuted at number one in its weekend release. Soon after, he starred in Lee Daniels' historical drama The Butler as President John F. Kennedy. The film, featuring an ensemble, opened at the top spot and received positive reviews. Marsden played Jack Lime, a rival reporter to Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy, in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. The following year, he reprised his role as Scott Summers for the first time in eight years in X-Men: Days of Future Past in a cameo. He would also star in his second Nicholas Sparks film titled The Best of Me, replacing Paul Walker in the lead role. Marsden has recently played the character of sentient android Teddy Flood in HBO's 2016 series Westworld.

Marsden appeared as Judy Hale's former boyfriend and lawyer Steve Wood in the Netflix dark comedy series Dead to Me.[21] He later starred in a separate role in the same series as Ben Wood from the second season onward.[22] In 2020, he starred in Paramount's Sonic the Hedgehog film[23] and the CBS All Access television miniseries The Stand.[24] Marsden also starred in the FX miniseries Mrs. America as Phil Crane. In 2021, Marsden provided the voice of Hitch Trailblazer in the Netflix animated film My Little Pony: A New Generation.[25] In March 2021, it was announced that he would be reprising the role of Edward in the upcoming sequel to Enchanted, tentatively titled Disenchanted, which will be released on Disney+.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Marsden married Mary Elizabeth "Lisa" Linde, daughter of Dennis Linde, on July 22, 2000. The couple has two children: a son born in 2001 and a daughter born in 2005.[27][28] They divorced in 2011, with Linde citing irreconcilable differences.[29][30]

He also has a son, born in 2012, with his former girlfriend Rose Costa.[31]



Year Title Role Notes
1994 No Dessert, Dad, Till You Mow the Lawn Tyler Cochran
1996 Public Enemies Doc Barker Direct-to-video
1997 Campfire Tales Eddie Segment: "The Hook"
1998 Disturbing Behavior Steve Clark
2000 Gossip Derrick Webb
2000 X-Men Scott Summers / Cyclops
2001 Sugar & Spice Jack Bartlett
2001 Zoolander John Wilkes Booth
2002 Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road Neal Oliver
2003 X2 Scott Summers / Cyclops
2004 The Notebook Lon Hammond
2004 The 24th Day Dan
2005 Heights Jonathan Kessler
2006 The Alibi Wendell Hatch
2006 Superman Returns Richard White
2006 10th & Wolf Tommy Santoro
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Scott Summers / Cyclops
2007 Enchanted Prince Edward
2007 Hairspray Corny Collins
2007 27 Dresses Kevin Doyle
2008 Sex Drive Rex Lafferty
2009 The Box Arthur Lewis
2010 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Diggs (voice)
2010 Death at a Funeral Oscar
2011 Hop Fred O'Hare
2011 Straw Dogs David Sumner
2012 Bachelorette Trevor Graham
2012 Robot & Frank Hunter Weld
2012 Small Apartments Bernard Franklin
2013 Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Jack Lime
2013 As Cool as I Am Chuck Diamond
2013 The Butler John F. Kennedy
2013 2 Guns Harold Quince
2013 The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Prince Ishitsukuri (voice) English dub
2014 The Best of Me Dawson Cole
2014 The Loft Chris Vanowen
2014 Walk of Shame Gordon
2014 Welcome to Me Rich Ruskin
2014 X-Men: Days of Future Past Scott Summers / Cyclops Cameo
2015 Accidental Love Scott
2015 The D Train Oliver Lawless
2015 Into the Grizzly Maze Rowan
2015 Unfinished Business Jim Spinch
2017 The Female Brain Adam Simmons
2017 Shock and Awe Warren Strobel
2018 Henchmen Hank (voice)
2019 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Burt Reynolds Extended cut
2020 Sonic the Hedgehog Tom Wachowski
2021 The Boss Baby: Family Business Tim Templeton (voice)
2021 My Little Pony: A New Generation Hitch Trailblazer (voice)
2022 Disenchanted Prince Edward Post-production
2022 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Tom Wachowski Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1993 In the Line of Duty: Ambush in Waco Steven Willis Television film
1993 Joe's Life Brian Episode: "Parental Guidance Not Suggested?"
1993 The Nanny Eddie 2 episodes
1993 Saved by the Bell: The New Class Chad Westerfield Episode: "Homecoming King"
1994 Boogies Diner Jason Episode #2.28
1994 Heavenly Road Jeremy Television film
1994 Search and Rescue Television film
1995 Blossom Josh Episode: "The Date"
1995 Party of Five Griffin Holbrook Episode: "The Ides of March"
1995 Touched by an Angel Jake Episode: "Angels on the Air"
1996 Gone in a Heartbeat Michael Galler Television film
1996 919 Fifth Avenue Will Television film
1996–1997 Second Noah Ricky Beckett Main cast
1997 Bella Mafia Luka Television film
1997 On the Edge of Innocence Jake Walker Television film
2001–2002 Ally McBeal Glenn Foy Main cast (season 5)
2009 Robot Chicken Jason Chambers / Lion (voices) Episode: "Especially the Animal Keith Crofford"
2011 Modern Family Barry Episode: "Slow Down Your Neighbors"
2012–2013 30 Rock Criss Chros Recurring role
2014–2016 Wander Over Yonder Sir Brad Starlight (voice) 3 episodes
2016–2018 Westworld Teddy Flood Main cast (seasons 1–2)
2017 Tour de Pharmacy Rex Honeycut Television film
2019–present Dead to Me Steve Wood / Ben Wood Main cast
2020 Mrs. America Phil Crane 3 episodes
2020–2021 The Stand Stu Redman Main cast

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist(s) Role
1998 "Got You (Where I Want You)" The Flys Himself
2020 "Imagine (Quarantine Edition)"[32] Artists for We Are One Himself


Year Song Album
2000 "Glow" Gossip
2007 "True Love's Kiss" (with Amy Adams) Enchanted
"That's Amore"
"The Nicest Kids in Town" Hairspray
"(It's) Hairspray"
2021 "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out" The Boss Baby: Family Business
  • Even though Marsden sang on Ally McBeal, he was not featured on any soundtrack released by the TV show.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Year Category Work Result Ref(s)
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards 2001 Favorite Supporting Actor – Sci-Fi X-Men Won [33]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards 2008 Best Acting Ensemble Hairspray Won [34]
Hollywood Film Awards 2007 Ensemble of the Year Hairspray Won [35]
MTV Movie & TV Awards 2001 Best On-Screen Team[a] X-Men Nominated [36]
2014 Best Fight[b] Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Nominated [37]
Saturn Awards 2007 Best Supporting Actor Superman Returns Nominated [38]
Screen Actors Guild Awards 2008 Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Hairspray Nominated [39]
2014 Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture The Butler Nominated [40]
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series 30 Rock Nominated
2017 Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Westworld Nominated [41]
2021 Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Dead to Me Nominated [42]


  1. ^ Shared with Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, and Anna Paquin
  2. ^ Shared cast award


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  2. ^ Gold & Platinum – Hairspray Soundtrack RIAA. October 12, 2007
  3. ^ "James Paul Marsden". ancestry.com. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  4. ^ Strom, Stephanie (September 22, 2016). "Every Day's a Safety Drill as Chipotle Woos Customers Back". The New York Times. pp. B2. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  5. ^ "James Marsden Biography". Retrieved August 12, 2008.
  6. ^ "James Marsden- Biography: About James Marsden". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  7. ^ "Superman Returns (2006): Reviews". Metacritic. June 28, 2006. Retrieved November 14, 2008.
  8. ^ "Actor Cast As Scott Summers In Wolverine!?". X-Men Films.net. May 6, 2008. Archived from the original on May 10, 2008. Retrieved May 7, 2008.
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  10. ^ "Enchanted". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 20, 2008.
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  12. ^ "Sex Drive Reviews, Ratings, Credits". Metacritic. October 17, 2008. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  13. ^ "Miley Cyrus Hangs Ten as Host of 'Teen Choice 2008'" (PDF) (Press release). Fox Broadcasting Company. June 17, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 5, 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
  14. ^ Goldstein, Gregg (November 2, 2007). "Marsden wrapped up in 'Box' role". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Associated Press. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  15. ^ Kit, Borys; Goldstein, Greg (June 29, 2006). "Box' is a dark place for Diaz". The Hollywood Reporter.
  16. ^ "Keck's Exclusives: X-Men's James Marsden To Go Shirtless on Modern Family". TV Guide. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
  17. ^ Young, John (April 3, 2011). "Box office report: 'Hop' springs into first place with $38.1 million". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  18. ^ "Hop – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  19. ^ "Straw Dogs". Rotten Tomatoes. Los Angeles, California: Fandango Media. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  20. ^ "Alexander Skarsgard's Straw Dogs Flops at the Box Office". Wetpaint. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  21. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (September 12, 2018). "'Dead To Me': James Marsden & Ed Asner To Co-Star In Netflix Dark Comedy Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  22. ^ Chaney, Jen (July 8, 2010). "How James Marsden Became Dead to Me's 'Semi-Identical' Twins". Vulture. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  23. ^ James Marsden to Star in 'Sonic the Hedgehog' Movie (EXCLUSIVE) Variety, May 30, 2018
  24. ^ Petski, Denise (August 1, 2019). "The Stand: James Marsden, Amber Heard, Odessa Young & Henry Zaga Set For Stephen King's CBS All Access Series".
  25. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (June 30, 2021). "Netflix's Animated 'My Little Pony' Movie Gets A Title And A Release Date; Voice Cast Revealed – Update". Deadline. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  26. ^ Dela Paz, Maggie (March 26, 2021). "Disenchanted: James Marsden & Idina Menzel Return For Disney+ Sequel". Comingsoon.net.
  27. ^ "'X-Men' Star James Marsden's Wife Files for Divorce" (PDF). TMZ. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  28. ^ "James Marsden's teenage son, Jack, makes his Fashion Week debut". AOL.com. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  29. ^ "James Marsden's Wife Files for Divorce". People. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  30. ^ Russian, Ale (May 17, 2018). "James Marsden Says His 'Scary and Sad' Divorce Made Him 'Pull Everything Into Focus'". People. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  31. ^ "James Marsden Welcomes Son William Luca". People. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  32. ^ Laura Smith-Spark (March 19, 2020). "Gal Gadot enlists celebrity help for coronavirus 'Imagine' video". CNN. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  33. ^ Fiasco, Lance (April 12, 2001). "'NSync Takes Home Three Blockbuster Entertainment Awards". idobi Radio. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  34. ^ "'No Country for Old Men,' 'Hairspray,' 'Juno,' 'There Will Be Blood' Big Critics' Choice Winners". Fox News. January 8, 2008. Archived from the original on April 27, 2008. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  35. ^ Kay, Jeremy (August 7, 2007). "Hairspray honoured with ensemble acting nod from Hollywood Awards". Screen Daily. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  36. ^ Johnson, Melissa Ewey (2009). Halle Berry: A Biography: A Biography. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 115. ISBN 9780313358340.
  37. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (March 6, 2014). "MTV announces 2014 Movie Award nominees". USA Today. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  38. ^ "Saturns fly high with 'Superman'". Variety. February 21, 2007. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  39. ^ "The 14th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". sagawards.org. Screen Actors Guild. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  40. ^ "The 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". sagawards.org. Screen Actors Guild. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  41. ^ "The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". sagawards.org. Screen Actors Guild. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  42. ^ "The 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". sagawards.org. Screen Actors Guild. Retrieved March 31, 2021.

External links[edit]