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Brent Spiner

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Brent Spiner
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Brent Spiner as Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation

Brent Jay Spiner is an American actor, best known for his portrayal of the android Lieutenant Commander Data in the television and movie series Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Born to Jack and Sylvia Spiner on February 2, 1949 in Houston, Texas, after the death of his father he was adopted by Sylvia's second husband, Sol Mintz, whose surname he used between 1955 and 1975.

Spiner attended Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas, where he had a very inspirational drama teacher, Cecil Pickett — the same drama teacher who coached such people as Cindy Pickett, Randy Quaid, Dennis Quaid, Trey Wilson, Robert Wuhl and Thomas Schlamme. After attending the University of Houston and performing in local theatre there, Spiner moved to New York City, where he became an established stage actor, performing in several Broadway and off-Broadway plays, most notably with the original cast of the Stephen Sondheim musical Sunday in the Park with George. At the same time, he also had a small part in the film Stardust Memories. In 1984, Spiner moved to Los Angeles, appearing in several pilots and made-for-tv movies, and played a recurring character on Night Court named Bob Wheeler, patriarch of a family of West Virginia hicks.

Since his success in Star Trek, he has also acted in film, including a notable minor role in the movie Independence Day. In 1991, he recorded an album of 1940s pop standards entitled Ol' Yellow Eyes Is Back. He has since had guest appearances on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Friends, Deadly Games, Mad About You, Frasier, as well as movie roles in films such as Phenomenon, Out to Sea, South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut, Geppetto, Master of Disguise and The Aviator.

Spiner currently lives in Los Angeles, California. He maintains a high level of privacy about his personal life. As such, his marital status is not certain; some sources have cited Loree McBride as his wife, while others maintain that the two are not married. He is not as active in the Star Trek convention scene as many of his co-stars, but he is nonetheless close to his Next Generation colleagues and counts Patrick Stewart, Gates McFadden and LeVar Burton amongst his best friends.

In 2004, Spiner returned to the world of Star Trek when he appeared as Dr. Arik Soong, an ancestor of Data's creator Dr. Noonien Soong, whom he'd also played, in a three-episode story arc of Star Trek: Enterprise in "Borderland", "Cold Station 12", and "The Augments". He also briefly reprised the role of Data for the series, providing a tongue-in-cheek voice-only cameo in the Enterprise finale, "These Are the Voyages...".


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