Brent Spiner

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Brent Spiner
Brent Spiner San Diego Comic Con 2019.jpg
Spiner at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con
Brent Jay Spiner

(1949-02-02) February 2, 1949 (age 74)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Other namesBrent Jay Mintz (1955–1975)
Alma mater University of Houston
Years active1968–present
Notable credit(s)Lt. Cdr. Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation , four subsequent films, and Star Trek: Picard
SpouseLoree McBride

Brent Jay Spiner ( /ˈspnər/ ; born February 2, 1949) is an American actor. He is best known for his role as the android Data on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and four subsequent films. In 2019, he reprised the role for Star Trek: Picard . In 1997, he won the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Data in Star Trek: First Contact , and was nominated in the same category for portraying Dr. Brackish Okun in Independence Day , a role he reprised in Independence Day: Resurgence . Spiner has also enjoyed a career in the theater and as a musician.


Early life

Brent Jay Spiner was born on February 2, 1949, in Houston, to Sylvia (née Schwartz) and Jack Spiner, who owned a furniture store. [1] [2] [3] [4] At age 29, Jack Spiner died of kidney failure when his son was ten months old. After his father's death, Spiner was adopted by his mother's second husband, Sol Mintz, whose surname he used between 1955 and 1975. [5] [6]

Spiner attended Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas. [7] He became active on the Bellaire speech team, winning the national championship in dramatic interpretation. [8] He attended the University of Houston, where he performed in local theater. [8] In 1968, Spiner worked as a performer at Six Flags Astroworld, [9] first as a gunfighter and later in Dr. Featherflowers Medicine Show with his friend Trey Wilson. Both performers alternated as Dr. Featherflowers. Spiner also performed the role in the 1968 TV special The Pied Piper of Astroworld. [10]


Spiner in 2005 BrentSpinerAugust2005.jpg
Spiner in 2005

Early work

Spiner moved to New York City in the early 1970s, [11] where he became a stage actor, performing in several Broadway and off-Broadway plays, including The Three Musketeers and Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George . Spiner (as Brent Mintz) appeared as an imposter on a 1972 episode of To Tell the Truth . He had a brief non-speaking role in the film Stardust Memories , credited as "Fan in Lobby", the one with a Polaroid. He can also be seen as a passenger on the train full of misfits that the Allen character is trapped on in one of the films-within-the-film.

Spiner appeared as a media technician in "The Advocates", a second-season episode of the Showtime cable series The Paper Chase . [12] 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 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.

Spiner guest-starred in Friends as James Campbell, a man who interviews Rachel for Gucci. [13]

Star Trek

In 1987, Spiner started portraying the android Starfleet officer Lieutenant Commander Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation , which spanned seven seasons and four feature films. As a main character, he appeared in all but one of the series' 178 episodes. He reprised his role in the spin-off films Star Trek Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). [14] Although billed as the final Trek movie for the TNG cast, the ambiguous ending of Star Trek: Nemesis suggested a possible avenue for the return of Data. However, Spiner opined that he was too old to continue playing the part, as Data does not age. [15] [16] He played Lore, the android brother of Data, in several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and another brother of his, B-4, in Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).

In 2004, Spiner returned to Star Trek when he appeared as Dr. Arik Soong, an ancestor of Data's creator Dr. Noonien Soong, whom he also played in a three-episode story arc of Star Trek: Enterprise : "Borderland", "Cold Station 12", and "The Augments".

Spiner also recorded dialogue as Data that was heard in the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise , "These Are the Voyages...", which aired in 2005. [17]

Eighteen years after last appearing as Data, he reprised the role in the 2020 Star Trek series Star Trek: Picard [18] as well as Dr Altan Inigo Soong, the son of Data's creator Dr Noonien Soong. Spiner has stated that he does not intend to play that role again, though he might be open to playing the role of Altan Soong. [19] [20] In Season 2 he plays another ancestor of Dr Noonien Soong, Dr Adam Soong.

In addition to the series and films, he voiced his character in several Star Trek video games, such as Star Trek: Generations , Star Trek: The Next Generation – A Final Unity , Star Trek: Hidden Evil , and Star Trek: Bridge Commander . [21]

Music and stage

In 1991, Spiner recorded an album of 1940s pop standards, 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 . [22] In 1997, he returned to Broadway, playing John Adams in the Roundabout Theater Company revival of the musical 1776 . The production was nominated for a Tony Award. A cast recording was released of the revival production. [23]

After Star Trek

Spiner has appeared in many television series, including Deadly Games , The Blacklist , Dream On , 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 ; [24] Out to Sea ; Phenomenon ; The Ponder Heart; and South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut . [25] 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 .[ citation needed ]

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 , with Hilary and Haylie Duff. [13]

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.[ citation needed ]

In March 2008, Spiner performed alongside Maude Maggart in a radio show/musical, Dreamland, which was released as a CD album. [26]

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".[ citation needed ]

Spiner (age 61) with William Shatner (age 79) and LeVar Burton (age 53) at Comic-Con in San Diego (July 2010). BrentSpinerWilliamShatnerLevarBurtonJuly2010.jpg
Spiner (age 61) with William Shatner (age 79) and LeVar Burton (age 53) at Comic-Con in San Diego (July 2010).

On January 13, 2010(13 years ago), Spiner and fellow Star Trek: The Next Generation actor LeVar Burton appeared on's coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show. [27]

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. [28] [29]

Spiner 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" of The Big Bang Theory . The day after his guest appearance, it was announced that Spiner would guest-star in the Young Justice episode "Revelation", providing the voice of the Joker. [30] Spiner has also guest-starred on the Syfy program Warehouse 13 as Brother Adrian in the third and fourth seasons.[ citation needed ]


In October 2021, Spiner released Fan Fiction: A Mem-Noir: Inspired by True Events, a mixture of memoir (taking place during the filming of the fourth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation) and a fictitious noir detective story about Spiner dealing with a crazed, murderous fan who claims to be the fictitious Lal, the android daughter of Data in the third-season TNG episode "The Offspring". The audiobook version, primarily narrated by Spiner, featured vocal cameos from Spiner's TNG co-stars, Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis, and Gates McFadden.



1970 My Sweet Charlie LocalUncredited
1980 Stardust Memories Fan in lobby
1981 Rent Control Leonard Junger
1982 Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains Corinne Burns's BossUncredited
1985Crime of InnocenceHinnerman
1986 Sunday in the Park with George Franz/Dennis
1986Sylvan in ParadiseClinton C. Waddle
1986Manhunt for Claude DallasJim Stevens
1987Family SinsKen McMahon
1989 Miss Firecracker Preacher Mann
1994 Corrina, Corrina Brent Witherspoon
1994 Star Trek Generations Lt. Commander Data
1995 Kingfish: A Story of Huey Long Uncredited
1995 Pie in the Sky Upscale Guy
1996 Phenomenon Dr. Bob Niedorf
1996 Independence Day Dr. Brackish OkunNominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
1996 Star Trek: First Contact Lt. Commander Data Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
1997 Out to Sea Gil Godwyn
1998 Star Trek Insurrection Lt. Commander Data
1999 South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut Conan O'Brien Voice
2000 Dude, Where's My Car? PierreUncredited
2001 I Am Sam Shoe Salesman
2002 The Master of Disguise Devlin Bowman
2002 Star Trek: Nemesis Lt. Commander Data/B-4
2004 The Aviator Robert Gross
2006 Material Girls Tommy Katzenbach
2008 Superhero Movie Dr. Strom
2010 Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey Coach MackeyVoice
2016 The Midnight Man Ezekiel
2016 Independence Day: Resurgence Dr. Brackish Okun


1968The Pied Piper of AstroworldDr. Osgood T. FeatherflowersTV special
1972 To Tell the Truth Himself/Imposter1 episode
1978 The Dain Curse Tom FinkUnknown episodes
1979 Family FredEpisode: "Prelude"
1981 Ryan's Hope Kim's DoctorEpisode: "#1.1442"
1984 The Paper Chase Student in Reeve's ClassEpisode: "The Advocates"
1984 Tales from the Darkside Reverend PeabodyEpisode: "A Case of the Stubborns"
1984 One Life to Live Ralph HarleyEpisode: "17 December 1984"
1985 Robert Kennedy and His Times Allard LowensteinUnknown episodes
1985 Hill Street Blues Larry SteinEpisode: "The Life and Time of Domonic Florio Jr"
1985–1987 Night Court Bob Wheeler6 episodes
1986 The New Twilight Zone The Draft DodgerEpisode: "The Leprechaun-Artist/Dead Run"
1986American PlayhouseDennis / FranzEpisode: "Sunday in the Park with George"
1986 Hunter Willie VaughnEpisode: "The Contract"
1986–1987 Mama's Family Billy Bob Conroy2 episodes
1987 Cheers Bill GrandEpisode: "Never Love a Goalie (Part 2)"
1987 Sledge Hammer! SoldierEpisode: "The Spa Who Loved Me"
1987–1994 Star Trek: The Next Generation Lt. Commander Data / Lore / Dr. Noonien Soong177 episodes
Nominated—Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Drama Series
1988 Reading Rainbow HimselfEpisode: "The Bionic Bunny Show"
1991Crazy from the HeartTelevision movie; uncredited
1995 Mad About You Bob, The Dog AgentEpisode: "Just My Dog"
1995 Deadly Games Danny SchlechtEpisode: "The Practical Joker"
1995–1996 Gargoyles Puck (voice)4 episodes
1996 Dream On Dr. StrongwaterEpisode: "The Spirit of 76th & Park"
1996 The Outer Limits Professor Trent DavisEpisode: "The Deprogrammers"
1999 Introducing Dorothy Dandridge Earl MillsTelevision movie
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
2000 Geppetto Stromboli Television movie
2001A Girl ThingBobTelevision movie
2001The Ponder HeartDorris GrabneyTelevision movie
2003 Frasier AlbertEpisode: "Lilith Needs a Favor"
2003 An Unexpected Love BradTelevision movie
2004 Jack VernonTelevision movie
2004 Friends James CampbellEpisode: "The One with Princess Consuela"
2004 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Graham BarnesEpisode: "Shrink-Wrapped"
2004–2005 Star Trek: Enterprise Dr. Arik Soong / Lt. Commander Data4 episodes
2005 Joey HimselfEpisode: "Joey and the Premier"
2005–2006 Threshold Dr. Nigel Fenway13 episodes
2009 Leverage William QuintEpisode: "The Juror #6 Job"
2009 Family Guy Himself (voice)Episode: "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven"
2010–2013 Generator Rex Dr. Gabriel Rylander (voice)4 episodes
2011 The Guild HimselfEpisode: "Ends and Begins"
2011 Alphas Dr. KernEpisode: "Blind Spot"
2011 The Big Bang Theory HimselfEpisode: "The Russian Rocket Reaction"
2011, 2021 Young Justice The Joker (voice)Episodes: "Revelation", "The Lady, or the Tigress?"
2011Fresh Hell [31] Brent Spiner15 episodes
2012 The Simpsons Robots (voice)Episode: "Them, Robot"
2012 The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes Purple Man (voice)Episode: "Emperor Stark"
2012 Warehouse 13 Brother Adrian6 episodes
2013 Robot Chicken Dr. Noonien Soong, Gondola Jack, Medic (voice)Episode: "Caffeine-Induced Aneurysm"
2013 Wendell & Vinnie HimselfEpisode: "Swindle & Vinnie"
2014 Ray Donovan Therapist3 episodes
2014 Star Wars Rebels Gall Trayvis (voice)2 episodes
2014 Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Silver Surfer (voice)Episode: "Fear Itself"
2015 Comedy Bang! Bang! The Sandman Episode: "Zach Galifianakis Wears Grey Corduroys and Brown Leather Shoes"
2015–2016 Blunt Talk Phil4 episodes
2016–2018 Outcast Sidney17 episodes
2016 The Blacklist The ArchitectEpisode: "The Architect"
2017 Justice League Action Edward Nygma / The Riddler (voice)Episode: "E. Nigma, Consulting Detective"
2019 The Goldbergs Dr. EmryEpisode: "This is This is Spinal Tap"
2020–2023 Star Trek: Picard Data2 episodes
Dr. Altan Inigo Soong2 episodes
Adam Soong6 episodes
2020 The Ready Room HimselfEpisode: "Episode 20"
2020 Penny Dreadful: City of Angels Ned Vanderhoff6 episodes
2021 Young Justice: Phantoms The Joker (voice)6 episodes


1978A History of the American FilmHank
1984–1985 Sunday in the Park with George Franz/Dennis
1984 The Three Musketeers Aramis
1985–1987 Big River The Duke
1997–1998 1776 John Adams Nominated—Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical
2003Life × 3Hubert
2009 Man of La Mancha Cervantes [32]


2015 Rain of the Ghosts Setebos, Ducky Simpson
2021Fan Fiction: A Mem-Noir: Inspired by True EventsBrent Spiner, Various


1991 Ol' Yellow Eyes Is Back Himself
2010 Dreamland Brent Spiner and Maude Maggart

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