An unlikely candidate to end up as immortal vampire Spike on Joss Whedon's popular television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (in addition to reprising his role for the spin-off series Angel), former stage actor James Marsters got his start in the spotlight by performing in such Shakespeare classics as The Tempest before donning fangs to portray the conflicted bloodsucker who eventually falls for the one girl sworn to do battle with the undead. Marsters was born in the Northern California logging town of Greenville, later moving with his family and spending much of his childhood in nearby Modesto. From his grade-school stage debut as Eeyore in a production of Winnie the Pooh, the aspiring thespian knew that he had the talent and drive to become an actor. After studying his craft at New York's renowned Juilliard School of the Arts, he set his sites on Chicago, making a name for himself with impressive performances at the Goodman Theater before heading west to Los Angeles. The talented stage actor made a transition to the small screen when he made an appearance on the popular series Northern Exposure in 1992, with a few other minor television roles preceding his rise to fame on the wildly popular Buffy. Though his character, Spike, was originally supposed to be killed off during his first season on the show, he proved so popular that he was kept on and eventually made a regular. In addition to his appearances on Buffy and Angel, Marsters also found time to act in a pair of independent films entitled Winding Roads and Chance. While fans of his character on Buffy may have been saddened when that series wound to a close, they could take some solace in the fact that he would return as the mischievous Spike in the 2003-2004 season of successful spin-off Angel. Marsters' other small-screen roles included appearances in Strange Frequency and Andromeda, as well as voice work on the animated television series Spider-Man in 2003. In addition to his theater roles, Marsters maintained an entirely different stage persona as a member of the rock band Ghost of the Robot.
Biography by Jason Buchanan
- Bitten by the acting bug as a fourth grader when he starred as Eeyore in a staging of Winnie the Pooh.
- Co-created the Genesis Theater Company in Chicago.
- First TV role was a guest spot on Northern Exposure in 1992.
- Received a Saturn Award in 2001 for Best TV Supporting Actor for his role as Spike in the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- In 2004, shaved off his Buffy character's famed bleached hair for charity on TV's On Air With Ryan Seacrest.
- Fronted a band named Ghost of the Robot, then left the group to pursue a solo career. His first solo CD, Civilized Man, was released in 2005 as he embarked on a European tour.
- Voiced time-honored villain Lex Luthor in the 2007 animated film Superman: Doomsday.
- Hobbies include playing the guitar and watching football.