Actor Stephen Spinella grew up in sunny Glendale, AZ, and fell in love with theater by witnessing a performance in a high school play. In an effort to realize his life's calling, the blossoming thespian moved to Manhattan in 1979 and sustained himself for years with a lengthy series of odd jobs while tackling theatrical roles in off-Broadway and regional productions. Spinella finally broke through to widespread acclaim in the early '90s, via a shattering performance as the AIDS-stricken Prior Walter in a two-play series by Tony Kushner: Angels in America Part I: The Milennium Approaches, and Angels in America Part II: Perestroika. For the dazzling evocation, Spinella won two consecutive Tony Awards for Best Actor: one in 1993 and another in 1994. That, in turn, opened the floodgates to a lengthy series of film roles, with the openly homosexual Spinella frequently gravitating (though not always) to gay-themed material onscreen. Contributions in this arena included a substantial role in HBO's groundbreaking miniseries And the Band Played On (1993); the seriocomedy Love! Valour! Compassion! (1997), adapted for the big screen from Terrence McNally's popular play; and Gus Van Sant's Harvey Milk biopic Milk (2008) as attorney Rick Stokes. Additional features to showcase Spinella's talents include Virtuosity (1995), Great Expectations (1998), and House of D; he is best known to many, however, as Miles on the fifth season of the small-screen thriller 24.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Met playwright Tony Kushner in the graduate theater program at NYU; Kushner invited him to be in his play The Age of Assassins and began writing roles specifically for him, including the character of Prior Walter in Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Angels in America: Perestroika.
- His portrayal of Walter in the Angels in America plays earned him two Tony Awards, two Drama Desk Awards and a Theatre World Award.
- TV credits include The Education of Max Bickford, Alias, 24 and Desperate Housewives.