Happy birthday Brent Spiner, born February 2, 1949.
Brent Jay Spiner is an actor best known for playing the android Starfleet officer, Lieutenant Commander Data, on Star Trek: The Next Generation, in four Star Trek films, and off-screen in “These Are the Voyages…”, the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. He also played Data’s “brother”, Lore, and “father”, Doctor Noonian Soong, in various episodes of Next Generation. In 2002, he played B-4 in Star Trek Nemesis. He appeared as Arik Soong in a three-episode arc on Enterprise. He also co-wrote the story for Star Trek Nemesis with Rick Berman and John Logan.
His portrayal of Data, the android in search of Humanity, made him an invaluable member of the TNG cast. These skills were highlighted in the episode “Brothers”, where Spiner played all three main characters of the story, effectively turning the episode into a “one-man show”.
Spiner appeared as a media technician in “The Advocates”, a second-season episode of the Showtime cable series The Paper Chase. In 1984, he moved to Los Angeles, where he appeared in several pilots and made-for-TV movies. He played a recurring character on Night Court, Bob Wheeler, patriarch of a rural family. In 1986, he played a condemned soul in “Dead Run”, an episode of the short-lived revival of Rod Serling’s series The Twilight Zone on CBS. He made two appearances in season three (1986) of the situation comedy Mama’s Family, playing two different characters.
Spiner’s first and only starring film role was in Rent Control (1984). In the Cheers episode “Never Love a Goalie, Part II”, he played acquitted murder suspect Bill Grand. Spiner also appeared in the Tales from the Darkside episode, “A Case of the Stubborns”, as a preacher. He portrayed Jim Stevens in the made-for-TV movie Manhunt for Claude Dallas.
In 1991, Spiner recorded an album of 1940s pop standards entitled Ol’ Yellow Eyes Is Back, the title of which was a play on the yellow contact lenses Spiner wore as Data, and the title of a Frank Sinatra record, Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back.
Spiner has appeared in the television series Deadly Games, Dream On, Frasier, Friends, Gargoyles, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Mad About You and The Outer Limits. In the series The Big Bang Theory and Joey, he appeared as himself.
He has acted in the movies The Aviator, Dude, Where’s My Car?, I Am Sam, Independence Day, Independence Day: Resurgence, The Master of Disguise, Out to Sea, Phenomenon, The Ponder Heart and South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.
His television-movie appearances during this period include the 2000 musical Geppetto and the role of Dorothy Dandridge’s manager and confidant, Earl Mills, in the HBO production Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.
In 2005, Spiner appeared in a short-lived science-fiction television series Threshold, which was canceled in November of that year after 13 episodes.
In 2006, he appeared in a feature film comedy, Material Girls.
During the 10th season of the situation comedy Frasier, in the episode “Lilith Needs a Favor”, Spiner made two brief cameos as a fellow airline passenger with Frasier Crane’s ex-wife, Lilith Sternin.
In 2008, Spiner played Dr. Strom in the feature film parody Superhero Movie.
In February 2009, he played William Quint in “The Juror #6 Job”, an episode of the drama series Leverage directed by his Next Generation co-star Jonathan Frakes. That same year, he voiced himself in the Family Guy episode “Not All Dogs Go to Heaven”.
In April 2011, Spiner began starring in Fresh Hell, a comic webseries in which he plays a version of himself, attempting to put his career back together after falling out of the limelight.
He appeared as Dr. Kern in the September 12, 2011, episode of the Syfy channel program Alphas entitled “Blind Spot”.
In October 2011, he appeared as himself in the episode “The Russian Rocket Reaction” (October 13, 2011) of The Big Bang Theory. The day after his guest appearance on The Big Bang Theory, it was announced that Spiner would guest-star in the Young Justice episode “Revelation”, providing the voice of the Joker.
Spiner has also guest-starred on the Syfy program Warehouse 13 as Brother Adrian in the third and fourth seasons.
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