James Wesley Marsters
August 20, 1962
Greenville, California, U.S.
|Education||Allan Hancock College|
(m. 1989; div. 1997)
Patricia Jasmin Rahman
(m. 2011; separated 2021)
James Wesley Marsters (born August 20, 1962) is an American actor, musician and comic book writer. He is best known for his role as the British vampire Spike in The WB series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off, Angel. Since then, he has played the alien supervillain Brainiac on the Superman-inspired series Smallville, Captain John Hart on Torchwood and terrorist Barnabas Greeley in Syfy's Caprica. He appeared in a supporting role in the film P.S. I Love You, as Victor Hesse in the 2010 Hawaii Five-0 reboot, and Victor Stein in the Marvel series Runaways. He also portrayed King Piccolo in 20th Century Fox's live action anime adaptation Dragonball Evolution.
Marsters was born in Greenville, California, the son of a United Methodist minister and social worker. 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, Marsters joined the theater group at Grace M. Davis High School and acted in many plays, including musicals. After graduation in 1980, Marsters studied at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California. In 1982, he moved to New York City to attend the Juilliard School, but was kicked out of the program after 2 years.
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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 talks about this experience and his other theatrical roles at length in a 2020 interview with Michael Rosenbaum on the podcast 'Inside of You'. 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. 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 TV acting job 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 USA Network movie Cool Money (2005). In 1999, he had a small role in the remake of House on Haunted Hill as a TV cameraman.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel
He attracted the attention of the general public for his appearance as villain (and later anti-hero) Spike on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (first appearing in season 2). For the role, he put on a London accent and he received informal coaching from English co-star Anthony Head.
Spike had been intended as a short role by creator Joss Whedon, who initially resisted Spike's popularity. "He made it very clear he did not want the show to be taken over by another romantic vampire," Marsters told 411Mania, adding "to Joss, vampires were supposed to be ugly, evil, and quick to be killed... when I was cast Joss did not imagine me to be popular; Spike was supposed to be dirty and evil, punk rock, and then dead." The massive fan response prevented his character from being killed off, allowing him a presence throughout the second season. There were no plans to bring him back as a regular until the character Cordelia Chase was moved to the spin-off show, Angel, and, as Marsters told 411Mania, "they needed someone to tell Buffy she was stupid and about to die, and they decided to bring me back". He thought he would not last as, being a vampire, he was restricted to night-time scenes and could not feasibly interact with the characters as often as Cordelia. Instead, Spike would last until the very end of the show and become a romantic partner for Buffy.
After the conclusion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Marsters carried Spike over to its spinoff, Angel, as a series regular in the fifth and final season of the show. Marsters was asked to keep quiet about this, as his return was intended to be a surprise, but the network promoted Spike's return as soon as it could in order to attract advertising. In April 2004, following the end of Angel, Marsters had Spike's trademark bleached hair shaved off for charity live on television during an episode of On Air with Ryan Seacrest.
When the show was cancelled, there were plans for several TV movies. Talk of a Spike movie began in 2004 and Whedon still had plans into 2006, before it was formally abandoned. Marsters had said he would only return to play Spike if the project took place within five years, feeling he would become too old to play the character (an immortal) after that:
As long as I could do it within, say, the next four or five years; past that, I'm too old. Spike's a vampire, man, and I've got high standards.— James Marsters, TV Guide Interview, March 3, 2005
Aside from playing the character, Marsters co-wrote a comic book one-shot for Dark Horse Comics, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike and Dru. After both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel ended, Marsters became active with the canonical comic book series of both shows on stories centering around his character. A canonical graphic novel set during the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike: Into the Light, written by Marsters himself, was released by Dark Horse Comics on July 16, 2014.
Marsters has narrated the audiobooks for The Dresden Files, a series of detective novels with a supernatural bent and the side short story collection in the same universe, Side Jobs, were also recorded by Marsters. He did not originally record the Dresden book Ghost Story due to a scheduling conflict, leaving fellow Smallville alumnus John Glover to record it; this caused a fairly noteworthy public outcry by audiobook listeners. He returned for the following book Cold Days. On March 24, 2015, Jim Butcher announced that a new version of the Ghost Story audiobook was to be released on April 21, 2015 with Marsters returning as narrator in response to fan demands.
In 2005, Marsters filmed a thriller, Shadow Puppets, with Jolene Blalock. Late that year, 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 returned for one episode in the show's final season. 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' 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. 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.
In 2008, he 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", as the nefarious omnisexual time traveller Captain John Hart. He reprised the role in the last two episodes of the second season.
He portrayed "Piccolo Daimao" in the live-action film adaptation of the popular Dragon Ball manga and anime, directed by James Wong and produced by Stephen Chow, which was released worldwide on April 10, 2009.
On July 20, 2009, the film 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 he signed on for a role in Caprica as the terrorist leader Barnabas Greeley.
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. 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.
He has appeared on Supernatural in the episode "Shut Up, Dr. Phil", which aired October 21, 2011, alongside fellow Buffyverse co-star Charisma Carpenter. He also appeared in Warehouse 13 as Bennett Sutton, which aired in 2013.
In 2018, some sources speculated that Marsters is the voice actor of Dragon Ball Super character Zamasu. Marsters have yet to provide confirmation as to whether he is involved with Dragon Ball Super as the English voice actor for Zamasu.
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, James Taylor, and Bruce Springsteen. He 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.
In 2003–04, 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. Several of Ghost of the Robot's earlier songs were loosely based on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters Buffy, Dawn, and Faith.
Marsters' solo musical career was launched in October 2004, in London. His solo acoustic tour of the United Kingdom in April 2005 sold out. A new solo album "Civilized Man" produced by Chris Rhyne and Andrew Rosenthal 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, and 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, he 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, he 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 were released on Marsters' second solo album, formally launched in Los Angeles and Cardiff in October and November 2007 respectively. This album, Like A Waterfall, includes twelve songs, all written by Marsters. Most had 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 was 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. In 2008, 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.
On May 1, 2009 he returned to the Union Chapel, followed by a "Marstersclass" event at The Drill Hall, in London on May 2. The sell-out event included a concert, Q&A session plus opportunities to get autographs and photos. On May 3, 2009, he performed at London's 100 Club.
In 2010 James' music career continued when the band Ghost of the Robot reformed: they have since released the album B-Sider which is available on iTunes. Afterwards, in 2011, the album Murphy's Law was released which is also available for download in iTunes. There are also multiple other EPs available on the iTunes Store.
Marsters is divorced from Liane Davidson, with whom he has one son, born May 1996. Since 2002, Marsters agreed to raise his niece and regards her as his daughter. In an interview in 2020, Marsters said that his daughter declines to be mentioned in his interviews, and that she has no interest in acting or show business. He stated that she is undertaking a PhD in Mathematics and that he is very proud of her. It was announced on May 21, 2010 that Marsters had proposed to girlfriend Patricia Rahman in Trier, Germany. On January 14, 2011, they married in a private civil ceremony in Los Angeles. In February 2021, the couple filed for divorce after 10 years of marriage.
As a solo artist:
- Civilized Man (2005)
- Like a Waterfall (2007)
With Ghost of the Robot:
- Mad Brilliant (2003)
- B-Sider (2011)
- Murphy's Law (2011)
- Bourgeois Faux Pas (2015)
|1999||Winding Roads||Billy Johnson|
|1999||House on Haunted Hill||Channel 3 Cameraman|
|2007||Superman: Doomsday||Lex Luthor (voice)||Direct-to-video|
|2007||P.S. I Love You||John McCarthy|
|2009||Dragonball Evolution||Lord Piccolo|
|2015||Billie Bob Joe||James Marsters||Cameo|
|2015||Dudes & Dragons||Lord Tensley||Dragon Warriors (working title)|
|2016||New Life||William Morton|
|2018||A Bread Factory (Part 1)||Jason|
|2018||A Bread Factory (Part 2)||Jason|
|1992–1993||Northern Exposure||Bellhop, Reverend Harding||2 episodes|
|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|
Recurring role (seasons 2–3)
Main role (seasons 4–7)
Guest role (seasons 1–2)
Main role (season 5)
|1999||Millennium||Eric Swan||Episode: "Collateral Damage"|
|2001||The Enforcers||Charles Haysbert||Miniseries|
|2001||Strange Frequency||Mitch Brand||Segment: "Soul Man"|
|2001||Andromeda||Charlemagne Bolivar||Episode: "Into the Labyrinth"|
|2003||Spider-Man: The New Animated Series||Sergei (voice)||2 episodes|
|2004||The Mountain||Ted Tunney||Episode: "A Piece of the Rock"|
|2005||Cool Money||Bobby Comfort||Television film|
|2005–2010||Smallville||Professor Milton Fine / Brainiac||Recurring role|
|2007–2008||Without a Trace||Det. Grant Mars||4 episodes|
|2007||Saving Grace||Dudley Payne||Episode: "Bring It On, Earl"|
|2008||Torchwood||Captain John Hart||3 episodes|
|2008||The Capture of the Green River Killer||Ted Bundy||Miniseries|
|2008||Star Wars: The Clone Wars||Captain Faro Argyus (voice)||Episode: "Cloak of Darkness"|
|2009||Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11||Buzz Aldrin||Television film|
|2009||High Plains Invaders||Sam Denville||Television film|
|2009||Numb3rs||Damien Lake||Episode: "Guilt Trip"|
|2009||The Super Hero Squad Show||Mister Fantastic (voice)||5 episodes|
|2009||Lie to Me||Pollack||Episode: "Truth or Consequences"|
|2010||Caprica||Barnabas Greeley||4 episodes|
|2010–2020||Hawaii Five–0||Victor Hesse||5 episodes|
|2011||Supernatural||Don Stark||Episode: "Shut Up, Dr. Phil"|
|2011||Three Inches||Troy Hamilton||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2012||Metal Hurlant Chronicles||Brad Davis||Episode: "Shelter Me"|
|2013||Wedding Band||Declan Horn||Episode: "Personal Universe"|
|2013||Warehouse 13||Professor Bennett Sutton||3 episodes|
|2013||Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated||Dandy Highwayman / Librarian, Man (voices)||Episode: "Stand and Deliver"|
|2013||Ultimate Spider-Man||Korvac, Chitauri #3 (voices)||Episode: "Guardians of the Galaxy"|
|2014||Metal Hurlant Chronicles||Doc Rowan||Episode: "Whiskey in the Jar"|
|2014||Witches of East End||Tarkoff||7 episodes|
|2015||The Devil You Know||Reverend George Burroughs||Pilot|
|2017–2019||Runaways||Victor Stein / Jonah / Magistrate||Series regular|
|2020||The Order||Xavier||Episodes "The Common" Part 1 & 2|
|2020||DuckTales||Nosferatu (voice; miscredited as "Dracula")||Episode: "The Trickening!"|
|2020||Casa Grande||Announced; Filming|
|2002||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Spike|
|2003||Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds||Spike|
|2009||Real Heroes: Firefighter||Louis "Match" Morris|
|2010||DC Universe Online||Lex Luthor|
|2015||15.5||Working for Bigfoot|
|2017||2||Lord of Shadows|
|2018||3||Queen of Air and Darkness|
|2013||2||The Rift Walker|
|2012||1||Carnival of Secrets|
Awards and nominations
|2000||Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV: Sidekick||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Nominated|
|2000||Saturn Awards||Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Series||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Nominated|
|2001||Saturn Awards||Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Series||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Won|
|2002||Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV: Actor||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Nominated|
|2002||Saturn Awards||Cinescape Genre Face of the Future Award||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Won|
|2002||Saturn Awards||Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Series||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Nominated|
|2002||SFX Awards||Best Comedy Performance||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Won|
|2002||SFX Awards||Best TV Actor||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Won|
|2003||Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV: Actor||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Nominated|
|2003||Saturn Awards||Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Series||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Won|
|2003||Golden Satellite Awards||Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Series||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Nominated|
|2004||Saturn Awards||Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Series||Angel / Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Nominated|
||Favourite TV Character—Male||Spike in Angel||Won|
|2005||Saturn Awards||Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Series||Angel||Nominated|
|2011||S.E.T. Awards||The Documentary S.E.T. Award.||Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11||Won|
- "James Marsters Biography (1962–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
- Millman, Joyce (January 12, 2003). "A Vampire With Soul, and Cheekbones". The New York Times.
- Rosenbaum, Michael (August 6, 2020). Inside of You Podcast (video) – via YouTube.
- 411mania Interviews: James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel) Archived November 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, March 10, 2012
- "On Air with Ryan Seacrest (TV series)". On Air with Ryan Seacrest (TV series). April 27, 2004. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Spike TV movie on the cards?". Whedonesque.com. May 9, 2004. Archived from the original on June 24, 2016. Retrieved May 26, 2008. Marsters is indirectly quoted about the possibility of a Spike movie.
- "Video interview with Joss from the Saturn Awards". Whedonesque.com. May 10, 2006. Archived from the original on June 24, 2016. Retrieved May 26, 2008. Whedon announced he pitched the Spike movie, February 15, 2006,
- "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike and Dru TPB". Dark Horse Comics.
- "Dresden Files Update". Word Press. Archived from the original on August 10, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- Posted by priscellie on 2015/03/24 at 9:00 am (March 24, 2015). "Marsters' Ghost Story coming at last!". Jim Butcher. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
- Abrams, Natalie (July 23, 2010). "James Marsters Returning to Smallville". TVGuide.com.
- P.S. I Love You at IMDb
- "Daffodils, Dragons and Demons". James Marsters Live. Retrieved June 19, 2007.
- "James Marsters in Torchwood". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on June 3, 2007. Retrieved June 19, 2007.
- Siegel, Tatiana (November 13, 2007). "'Dragonball' comes to bigscreen". Variety. Retrieved November 13, 2007.
- DiNunno, Gina (August 19, 2009). "James Marsters Joins Caprica". TVGuide.com. Retrieved August 19, 2009.
- "The Old West Gets Scary: High Plains Invaders". DreadCentral.
- "Syfy Pilot 'Three Inches Casts James Marsters, Andrea Martin, Stephanie Jacobsen & More – Ratings". TVbytheNumbers. August 26, 2010. Retrieved December 27, 2013.[permanent dead link]
- Megan Philips. "Fans Are Convinced A 'Dragonball Evolution' Star Has Joined 'Dragon Ball Super'". Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- Sean Aitchisomnar (March 27, 2018). "Is A Former Buffy Star Secretly in Dragon Ball Super? We Investigate". CBR. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- Jordan Commandeur (May 1, 2018). "James Marsters Talks Runaways and Where Dragonball Evolution Went Wrong". CBR. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- Clément Cusseau (May 22, 2020). "Dragon Ball Super : un acteur de Dragonball Evolution a-t-il secrètement doublé le méchant de la série ?" (in French). Allciné. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
- "James Marsters Live". James Marsters Live. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
- Waterfall Tour comes to UK Archived January 23, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- "Events · Union Chapel". Unionchapel.org.uk. Archived from the original on May 8, 2009. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
- "James Marsters". James Marsters. Archived from the original on September 8, 2008. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
- 100 Club
- Karl Baumgartner (January 29, 2011). James Marsters On Boinking Buffy and Beating Up Edward Cullen (video). Retrieved March 13, 2016 – via YouTube.
- Rosenbaum, Michael (March 2020). Inside of You (video). Retrieved August 5, 2020 – via YouTube.
- "Former Buffy Star James Marsters Is Engaged!". UsMagazine.com. May 21, 2010.
- Wihlborg, Ulrica (February 3, 2011). "Buffy's James Marsters Weds Longtime Girlfriend". People. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
- Hirsch, Chelsea (February 3, 2021). "'Buffy' alum James Marsters divorcing Patricia Rahman". Page Six. Retrieved February 10, 2021.
- Wang, Patrick (October 26, 2018), A Bread Factory, Part One (Comedy, Drama), Tyne Daly, Elisabeth Henry, James Marsters, Shershah Mizan, In the Family, Vanishing Angle, retrieved November 8, 2020
- Wang, Patrick (October 26, 2018), A Bread Factory, Part Two (Comedy, Drama), Tyne Daly, Wayne Fugate, Isabela Quines, Phil Helm, In the Family, Vanishing Angle, retrieved November 8, 2020
- "James Marsters Filming New Television Show 'Casa Grande' - YouTube". youtube.com. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
- Cassandra Clare. "Lord of Shadows Audiobook". Audible.com. Retrieved May 23, 2017.
- Cassandra Clare. "Queen of Air and Darkness Audiobook". Margaret K. McElderry Books. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
- Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith. The Greyfriar. Buzzy Multimedia on Brilliance Audio. ISBN 1480581348.
- Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith. The Rift Walker. Buzzy Multimedia on Brilliance Audio. ISBN 1491510013.
- Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith. The Kingmakers. Buzzy Multimedia on Brilliance Audio. ISBN 1491510048.
- 8 hrs and 4 mins. "Untamed City: Carnival of Secrets Audiobook | Melissa Marr". Audible.com. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
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