Family & Companions
A dark-haired actor and singer from the musical stage, Spiner made headway on television in small roles during the late 1970s. After off-Broadway work ranging from "Leave It to Beaver Is Dead" (1979) to "The Sea Gull" (1980), Spiner made it on Broadway in 1978 in "A History of the American Film" and later played two supporting roles in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's award-winning musical biography of pointillist painter Georges Seurat, "Sunday in the Park with George" (1984). Later that year, he ventured onto Broadway once again in the adventure-turned-musical, "The Three Musketeers," but Spiner only swashed his buckles for two weeks before the show closed. He followed up as The Duke in the award-winning "Big River," Roger Miller's adaptation of Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," in 1985.
Television proved to be Spiner's road to fame when he was cast as Data on the syndicated smash, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987-94). Any negative thoughts of playing a greenish-gold android-a potential knockoff of Leonard Nimoy's logical and unemotional Spock from the original series-soon vanished, as Spiner and the writers began exploring the conflict of being a living machine. Spiner's character became a 23rd Century Pinocchio-an eager, quizzical golem learning to become human. He reprised the role for the series' first feature, "Star Trek: Generations" (1995), and its sequels "Star Trek: First Contact" (1996), "Star Trek: Insurrection" (1998), and "Star Trek: Nemesis" (2002).
In 1995, Spiner played scientists in two high-profile features: in "Independence Day," he was an eccentric aiding in the fight against invading aliens, and in "Phenomenon," he was a low-key traditionalist. The following year, he gave an hilarious turn as a controlling cruise director in the uneven comedy "Out to Sea." In 1999, he played the sensitive manager and lover of Dorothy Dandridge (Halle Berry) in the HBO telepic "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge." Over the next few years Spiner brought his distinctive spark to a succession of supporting roles in television movies and feature films, such as "Gepetto" (2000), "Dude, Where's My Car?" (2000) and "I Am Sam" (2001). His next major role came in 2002 as Dana Carvey's arch-enemy in the silly comedy "Master of Disguise," which he followed by reprising the pivotal role of Data and his android doppelganger B4 in "Star Trek: Nemesis." Spiner also appeared as Robert Gross, president of airplane manufacturer Lockheed, in "The Aviator" (2004), Martin Scorsese's epic biography about eccentric airline tycoon, Howard Hughes.
In a unique twist, Spiner showed up on the fourth Star Trek series, "Enterprise" (UPN, 2001-05), as Dr. Arik Soong, the man who created his original Star Trek character, Data. Then after a cameo appearance in "Jack" (Showtime, 2004), a family drama about a 15-year-old boy (Anton Yelchin) dealing with puberty and his parent's divorce, Spiner starred alongside a recognizable cast in "Threshold" (CBS, 2005-06), Shaun Cassidy's supernatural drama about a small Florida town recovering from a devastating hurricane rumored to have been caused by aliens from outer space. Spiner played a former top NASA biologist who works with other scientists in trying to figure out why a strange alien object that may be altering human DNA entered the Earth's orbit after the storm. Along with generally positive reviews from critics, "Threshold" helped CBS consistently win Friday nights in the never-ending ratings war.
Cast (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Earliest TV work included the role of Tom Fink in the CBS mystery miniseries, "The Dain Curse"
Played one of the leading roles in the off-Broadway musical, "Leave It to Beaver Is Dead", produced by Joseph Papp as part of the New York Shakespeare Festival
Returned to the NY Shakespeare Festival to play Treplev in a revival of Chekhov's "The Sea Gull"
First major film work, playing a leading role in the independently made feature, "Rent Control"
Performed on Broadway as "Franz, a Servant" and "Dennis, a Technician" in the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine hit musical, "Sunday in the Park with George"
Played the recurring guest role of Bob Wheeler on the popular NBC sitcom, "Night Court"
Returned to features to play a role in "Miss Firecracker"
Reprised the role of Data in the feature "Star Trek: Generations"
Cast as scientists in two blockbuster hits, "Independence Day" and "Phenomenon"
Again played Data in "Star Trek: Final Contact"
Played a foppish cruise director foil to Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in the comedy "Out to Sea"
Returned to Broadway to star as John Adams in the musical revival of "1766"
Returned as Data for "Star Trek: Insurrection"
Co-starred as manager Earl Mills in the HBO biopic "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge"
Voiced the animated Conon O'Brien in "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut"
Had an uncredited appearance in "Dude, Where's My Car?"
Offered comic turn as Stromboli in the ABC/Disney TV musical "Geppetto"
Reprised role of Data in "Star Trek: Nemesis"
Played criminal mastermind Devlin Bowman in the Dana Carvey comedy "Master of Disguise"
Appeared in Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator"
Guest-stared on "Enterprise," (UPN) playing the great-great-grandfather of Dr. Noonien Soong (creator of Data)
Cast as Dr. Nigel Fenway in the failed CBS series "Threshold"
Played the CEO of a besieged cosmetics company in the comedy "Material Girls"