Kevin Spacey was born Kevin Spacey Fowler on July 26, 1959 in South Orange, New Jersey. His father was a technical writer and his mother was a secretary. Kevin had two siblings and the family moved across the United States frequently due to his father's unsteady employment.
In 1963, the family settled in South California and Kevin was sent to study at the Northridge Military Academy. However, his behavior caused him to be expelled and he finished his schooling at the Chatsworth High School. There, he starred in the school's production of "The Sound of Music".
In 1979, he moved to New York City, where he studied drama at the Julliard School of Acting. In 1981, he finished classes and received his first major acting role in a production of "Henry VI, part 1" at the New York Shakespeare Festival. In 1982, he was given a role in the Broadway play, "Ghosts".
In 1992, he received his first major feature film role in the epic "Glengarry Glen Ross". Based on the play by David Mamet, he played the role of John Williamson, the manager of a real estate firm. His acting in the film was superb and made him an A-list star overnight.
His next major film role was in the 1995 film "The Usual Suspects", a suspenseful crime drama. In the film, he played the role of Roger "Verbal" Kint, a con man who becomes the subject of a police investigation about a massacre. He was nominated for that year's Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and won.
That same year, he starred in the film "Se7en", alongside Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. The film centers on a series of gruesome murders made to mimic the seven deadly sins, with Spacey playing the role of the actual murderer. His name was removed from the billing to help create surprise when he is unmasked as the killer.
In 1997, he was given the starring role in the film "L.A. Confidential". The film is a fictional story about police corruption during the 1950s and Kevin played the role of a detective. The film was a great success and was nominated for numerous Academy Awards.
In 1998, he starred in the film "The Negotiator" alongside Samuel L. Jackson. In the film, Kevin plays the role of a hostage negotiator, who finds himself negotiating with a fellow policeman accused of a crime. The film was a financial success, but failed to impress some critics.
In 1999, he was given perhaps his most important role ever in the film "American Beauty". In the film, he portrays the father of a dysfunctional family who falls in love with his daughter's best friend. Throughout the film, we see Spacey's character undergo an inspiring transformation from deadbeat businessman to a liberated man who does what he wants to do. The film was nominated for numerous Academy Awards, with Spacey winning Best Actor.
In 2001, he starred in "K-PAX" as a man named "prot" who mysteriously appears in New York. After claiming that he is from another planet, he is sent to a mental hospital, where he becomes a patient of a psychiatrist played by Jeff Bridges. The film was a big success and raises some interesting questions about the claims of the supposedly insane.
In 2003, he starred in "The Life of David Gale" as the title character. In the film, he plays a philosophy professor obsessed with abolishing the death penalty. The movie was a box office and critical success, although very controversial due to its dealing with the death penalty.
In 2004, he starred in and directed the film "Beyond the Sea". Kevin Spacey had long been a major fan of Bobby Darin and portrayed him to the best of his abilities in the biopic. Although the film was not a big box office hit, it succeeded in his goal of introducing Darin's music to the new generations.