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FLASH FRIDAY: A Kevin Spacey Cornucopia - Stage, Big Screen, Small Screen & NOW

Shining a spotlight on one of the greatest actors alive, today we celebrate the stunning stage and screen career of actor, director and patron of the arts Kevin Spacey.


One of the most versatile and compelling actors of his generation, two-time Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey is a true anomaly in the entertainment realm. Making an early name for himself on Broadway in a string of successful roles originally began with oh-so humble beginnings as a spear carrier in HENRY VI, PART 1 in 1981 at the New York Shakespeare Festival, through to appearing as Oswald in Henrik Ibsen's GHOSTS, Philinthe in Moliere's THE MISANTHROPE, among others. In 1984 he pulled off the coup of appearing in each of the four main roles in David Rabe's HURLYBURLY, as well as taking on a number of prominent roles in regional theater, such as Chekhov's THE SEAGULL and Anthony Shaffer's SLEUTH. Then, in 1986, Spacey's ascent to the topmost heights of stardom and acclaim began, with his celebrated performance in Eugene O'Neill's LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT opposite eventual mentor Jack Lemmon. He went on to win a 1991 Tony Award for his turn in Neil Simon's LOST IN YONKERS, as well.

Then, Hollywood came calling. Although he established himself as an incredibly magnetic screen presence in a memorable stint on TV's L.A. LAW, it would be with his unforgettable work in the big screen adaptation of David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS that he would make his first major foray into being a formidable presence in a major studio movie, following bit parts in HEARTBURN, WORKING GIRL and others. After that, Spacey continued to deliver sensational starring turns as a leading man in THE REF and SWIMMING WITH SHARKS throughout the 1990s before nabbing an iconic and still-talked-about character part in Bryan Singer's THE USUAL SUSPECTS, for which he received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

Since then, Spacey has reigned as one of the most charismatic and accomplished leading men in modern entertainment, earning yet another Academy Award for his work with director Sam Mendes in the multi-award-winning Best Picture AMERICAN BEAUTY as well as valuably contributing to hits like SEVEN, OUTBREAK and A TIME TO KILL. Additionally, Spacey is also known to younger generations around the world as a direct result of his charming voice work in A BUG'S LIFE. More mainstream movies continued to showcase Spacey's endless abilities after the millennium, too, with recognizable turns in PAY IT FORWARD, K-PAX, SUPERMAN RETURNS, 21 and his self-directed musical biopic BEYOND THE SEA, based on the life of Bobby Darin.

While film has brought Spacey's inimitable presence to a worldwide audience, it is his fierce and loyal commitment to the theatre that makes him a patron of the arts with few equals. Besides setting the boards alight with live performances in revivals of classic plays like THE ICEMAN COMETH and A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN, as well as appearances in SPEED-THE-PLOW and INHERIT THE WIND, later this month Spacey returns to the stage of his beloved Old Vic, where he is artistic director and has been for over a decade, taking on the title role in the new historical drama CLARENCE DARROW.

Above all else, though, the recent one-two punch of starring in a worldwide tour of William Shakespeare's RICHARD III directed by Sam Mendes along with his Shakespearean-informed leading role on Netflix mega-hit HOUSE OF CARDS has brought Spacey an even more assured place in the pantheon of acting greats. For a closer look into Spacey's fearless and undying commitment to character and the theatre at large, look no further than the new documentary NOW, which offers a behind the scenes glimpse at the actor in action, both onstage and off, in one of his finest roles to date - which, as this career celebration clearly evidences, is really saying something significant.

His face may be seen on screens around the world, both large and small, but Kevin Spacey's heart will always reside in the theatre - the Old Vic to Broadway, Epidaurus and far beyond.

More information on Kevin Spacey as Richard III in the new documentary NOW is available at the official site here. Also, don't miss my extensive InDepth InterView with Kevin Spacey all about RICHARD III, NOW and much more, available here.

The Iceman Cometh

So, now, let's take a look at some of the coolest and most classic moments from Kevin Spacey's astounding career, with an emphasis on his theatre work, especially RICHARD III and the NOW doc.

First up, check out the trailer for the new documentary centered on the international tour of Kevin Spacey in RICHARD III, titled NOW.

Also, Kevin Spacey eloquently discusses the importance of RICHARD III in this clip.

Next, see Spacey and company on the ancient stage of Epidaurus performing RICHARD III.

Go on the opening night red carpet of RICHARD III at the Old Vic with the cast and attending stars.

Now, sample the commercial for the international tour of RICHARD III as seen in its stop in Singapore.

After that, take a look at Spacey's Broadway turn in O'Neill's THE ICEMAN COMETH.

Get a look at the man behind the actor with this stage door footage from A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN.

Kevin Spacey analyzes his portrayal of Richard III in this extensive discussion.

Spacey soars in David Mamet's GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS.

Plus, Spacey shines in the film version of David Rabe's HURLYBURLY.

And, he can sing, too! Here's Spacey as Darin with the classic "Mack The Knife".

Spacey sings again, alongside Sting and James Taylor, at a recent rainforest charity benefit.

Before CLARENCE DARROW hits the stage, preview Spacey's take on the character in the 1991 TV film THE MURDER OF MARY PHAGAN.

As a special bonus, Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood from HOUSE OF CARDS salutes the attendees of the White House Correspondents Dinner, including the POTUS himself.

So, what is your personal favorite Kevin Spacey performance to date, whether onstage or onscreen? Furthermore, what precisely is it about his gargantuan talent and how he expresses it that makes him such an appreciable presence in whatever he chooses to do? Most of all, what role would you like to see him take on next? With HOUSE OF CARDS Season Three filming this year as well as an upcoming Old Vic limited run in CLARENCE DARROW - not to mention HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 - there is much to anticipate in Spacey's bright future - onstage, and on screens large and small.

If it was the self-professed "Winter of discontent" for Richard at the start of RICHARD III, it is undoubtedly the Spring of content for Kevin Spacey, here today... now.

Next on Stage

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From This Author Pat Cerasaro

Pat Cerasaro contributes exclusive scholarly columns including InDepth InterViews, Sound Off, Theatrical Throwback Thursdays, Flash Friday and Flash Special as well as additional special features, (read more...)