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.