With two Oscars, a Golden Globe and a Tony, Kevin Spacey has become one of Hollywood’s most-respected actors. He’s also one of its most famously secretive. But we’ve still managed to uncover 20 things that you may not know about the talented star.
20. He’s a stand-up kinda guy
Spacey has only occasionally flirted with comedy on the big screen. However, the star actually began his glittering career chasing laughs. While studying at the Juilliard School he tried to make it on the New York stand-up circuit, even performing at talent nights in bowling alleys!
19. He did a duet with a Rat Pack legend
Spacey first showcased his dulcet tones when he played Bobby Darin in his 2004 passion project, Beyond the Sea. Three years later he actually got to perform alongside another star from Hollywood’s Golden Age, albeit posthumously. Indeed, Spacey recorded two tracks with Dean Martin on the duets collection, Forever Cool.
18. He’s also political off screen
Spacey’s political endeavors extend far beyond playing ruthless Democrat Frank Underwood in House of Cards. In 2011 he took to the streets to protest against the president of Belarusa, Alexander Lukashenko. Alongside the likes of Jude Law, Spacey was challenging the crackdown on the Eastern European nation’s democracy movement.
17. He sparked a diplomatic incident
Several years later, Spacey got himself caught up in a political scandal after posting a selfie with the Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto. The actor was allegedly given $8 million to attend the conference where it was taken. It just so happened that this enormous sum was allegedly paid for with Mexican taxpayers’ money.
16. He made Hollywood history
Dayyan Eng’s dark comedy Inseparable might not rank as one of Kevin Spacey’s finest or most memorable movies. However, it is one of his most notable. That’s because the 2010 release was the first completely Chinese-funded picture to boast a Hollywood star as its lead.
15. And he did the same at the Emmys
Spacey also achieved a major first three years later thanks to his role as Frank Underwood in the Netflix drama House of Cards. Indeed, in 2013 the star became the first ever main actor from a web series to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy. Unfortunately for him, he lost out to Jeff Daniels.
14. He once pretended to be Johnny Carson’s son
Spacey is renowned for his impressive impersonations of various Hollywood legends. And he used these skills to his advantage during his early years as an actor in New York. Indeed, he once mimicked Johnny Carson’s son in order to gain entry to the infamous Studio 54 club.
13. He got expelled from school
Aggression isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Kevin Spacey. Yet the star wasn’t averse to throwing his weight around as a child. In fact, he was once expelled from military school as a youngster after chucking a tire at a fellow student.
12. He was mentored by a Hollywood icon
Kevin Spacey appeared alongside Jack Lemmon in 1992’s Glengarry Glen Ross, but that wasn’t the first time the two stars’ paths had crossed. The latter became something of a mentor to a 13-year-old Spacey after meeting at a workshop. Furthermore, the pair stayed good friends until Lemmon died in 2001.
11. He was classmates with a future Batman
Spacey starred as Lex Luthor in Superman Returns, but was encouraged to take up an acting career by a future Batman. Indeed, Val Kilmer, a fellow pupil at Chatsworth High School, was responsible for guiding a young Spacey onto the Hollywood path.
10. He’s an animal conservationist
Bizarrely, Spacey played a man trapped inside a cat’s body in Nine Lives. But his work with our feline friends doesn’t end there. In 2016 he appeared in a WWF video promoting its campaign to double the amount of endangered wild tigers.
9. He was nominated for a Grammy
Spacey added Grammy nominee to his achievements when Behind the Sea was recognized at the 2006 ceremony. His pet project was given a nod in the Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media category. However, he lost out to the team behind Ray Charles biopic, Ray.
8. He starred in a video game…
Of course, Oscar-winning films, Golden Globe-winning TV shows and Tony Award-winning plays aren’t the only things on Spacey’s resume. In 2014 the star made the unlikely move into video games when he voiced Jonathan Irons in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
7. … and he has a patent
Spacey’s not just a hugely talented thespian, either. In 2013 he and film producer Dana Brunetti filed for a patent which was eventually awarded to them three years later. And their invention? A system dealing with non-authorized emails which Brunetti describes as a “digital doorman with a velvet rope.”
6. He was instrumental in the making of Captain Phillips
Back in their regular day jobs, Spacey and Brunetti also helped convince a real-life hero to agree to a Hollywood adaptation. The pair once visited Vermont to persuade Captain Richard Phillips that they could do his story justice. Captain Philips’ six Oscar nominations suggests they stayed true to their word.
5. He was stoned in American Beauty
American Beauty director Sam Mendes adopted an unusual method to help Spacey nail one particular scene. Apparently, he got the star high. Mendes later suggested that the pot that Lester Burnham smokes in front of a real estate convention was, in fact, the real thing.
4. Spacey is actually his middle name
The star was actually born Kevin Spacey Fowler but dropped his surname when he began pursuing his acting career. Spacey is, in fact, the maiden name of his paternal grandmother, and not, as rumored, a tribute to fellow actor Spencer Tracy.
3. He knows his shoes
Like every other budding actor, Spacey took an unglamorous job to make ends meet while chasing his dreams. However, the star still seems proud of his time working as a shoe salesman in San Fernando Valley’s Northridge Mall. So much so that he included the fact in his Twitter bio.
2. He dropped out of acting school
It’s the world’s most prestigious acting school. But that wasn’t enough to keep Spacey there for more than two years. Indeed, the star dropped out of his four-year degree at New York’s Juilliard School to carve his own path. But it’s safe to say it didn’t do him any harm.
1. His father was his fiercest critic
Parents can be your number one fan and your harshest critic, as Spacey found out while pursuing his Hollywood ambitions. Indeed, the star’s father, Thomas Fowler, didn’t believe that his son would make it in the business until he became a household name.