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Despite his impressive theatrical resume, James Marsters is known primarily for his role as the snarky brit-punk vampire Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However, Marsters was born in the U.S.A. - Greenville, CA, in fact - as James Wesley Marsters on August 20th, 19somethingorother. Seems the man is more sensitive about his age than his undead alter-ego. He grew up in Modesto, CA, the son of a one-time minister, and an almost-a-nun social worker.

Word in various interviews is that James decided to become an actor after a smashing, albeit critically ignored stint as Eeyore in a fourth grade play. After graduating from Davis High School, he attended Juilliard , during which time he lived in Queens and received the trademark scar which trifurcates his left eyebrow, the gift of a would-be-mugger. He also starred in Twelfth Night and Troilus and Cressida before getting kicked out after two years. James finished up his education at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts and Chicago's American Conservatory Theater, where he performed in Handing Down the Names and Voices in the Dark, as well as working at the Goodman Theater for productions of Red Noses and The Tempest. Following that, he co-founded New Mercury Theater Company, and relocated the whole outfit to Seattle in 1990. While the company languished in the basements of churches at first, it later moved to a permanent space on Pioneer Square. In the meantime, James directed a number of New Mercury plays and also starred in A Doll's House for the Theater on the Square, and in his favorite play, Macbeth, for Ethnic Cultural Theater.

James left for Hollywood shortly thereafter, on the advice of a long-time mentor, who told him he should try and make money in L.A. while he could, since it sucked to be old and poor after a lifetime of working in professional theater. He appeared on Northern Exposure and Millennium before landing his role on Buffy in the show's second season. Originally, he was only to appear in three to five episodes - James has been quoted as saying "In the beginning, all I wanted was a good body count and a good death." - But Joss Whedon took a liking to the character, and after being absent for most of season three, while filming Winding Roads, James is now a series regular, and one of the most popular characters on the show. At the time of this writing, he was also filming Chance, a film directed by Amber Benson (who plays Tara on BtVS), in which he plays Simon.

For those who are confused, his hair is naturally light brown ( he suggests adding a few packets of Sweet 'n Low to take the sting out of the bleaching solution, should you decide you want to be like Spike.) In addition, his eyes are actually blue, although they often don't look that way on the show. Oh yeah, and he never wears underwear.

When not working, James writes, paints, works on his car, and periodically plays at the nightclub 14 Below.



Sources: James Marsters Offical Website, www.jamesmarsters.com, and various articles in TV guide, ET, etc.

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