James Todd Spader (born February 7, 1960) is a three time Emmy Award-winning and Satellite Award-winning American actor. He is perhaps best known for his eccentric roles in movies such as Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Crash, Stargate and Secretary, as well as his portrayel of the highly unethical attorney Alan Shore on the television series The Practice, and its spin-off Boston Legal.
Spader's first major movie role was in 1981 as Brooke Shields' brother in Endless Love, but he did not rise to stardom until 1987, when he played Molly Ringwald's foil Steff in Pretty in Pink. He starred opposite friend Andrew McCarthy again in Mannequin and the film adaptation of Less Than Zero, where he played a loathsome drug dealer named Rip. Supporting roles in movies like Baby Boom and Wall Street followed until his critical breakthrough in 1989. In sex, lies and videotape, he played a sexual voyeur named Graham who turns the lives of three Baton Rouge residents upside down. For his performance, he received the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival. His roles in the early 1990's included playing a young, affluent widower opposite Susan Sarandon in White Palace, John Cusack's moral best friend in True Colors, and a poker-playing drifter who collides with Mandy Patinkin in The Music of Chance. In 1994, he starred as Egyptologist Daniel Jackson in the blockbuster hit Stargate, but he did not remain in mainstream view for long, playing car fetishist James Ballard in the controversial Canadian film Crash in 1996 and assassin Lee Woods in 2 Days in the Valley. In 1997, Spader guest starred in an episode of Seinfeld as an angry recovering alcoholic who refuses to apologize to George for making fun of him, and he departed from his villain roots to play the drug-addicted detective tracking down killer Keanu Reeves in The Watcher. In 2001, he starred as Maggie Gyllenhaal's sadomasochistic boss in the critically-acclaimed Secretary.
Spader currently stars as the popular lead character Alan Shore in the TV series Boston Legal, where he has reprised his role from the TV series The Practice. Spader won the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Emmy Award for his portrayal of Alan Shore in 2004 on The Practice and won it again in 2005 for Boston Legal. Spader has become one of the few actors to win consecutive Emmy Awards for playing the same character on two different series (another being co-star William Shatner as Denny Crane). Spader won the Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical for Boston Legal in 2006 and took home his third Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2007.
In October 2006, Spader narrated China Revealed, the first episode of Discovery Channel's documentary series Discovery Atlas. He has also done the voice-over in several television commercials for Acura.
Spader is known to his friends as "Jimmy," loves to cook, has very poor eyesight, and likes to point out that even though his characters can be sleazy at times, he is actually a nice, friendly guy in real life.