Brent Jay Spiner (born February 2, 1949) is an American actor known famously for his role as the pale-skinned android Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
A native Texan, Spiner began his acting career, coincidentally enough, the same way fellow Star Trek alumnus William Shatner did: in the theater. Thanks to his inspirational drama coach, Cecil Pickett (who also launched the careers of Dennis Quaid, Trey Wilson, Robert Wuhl, and Thomas Schlamme), Spiner launched into an early career of professional theater after completing high school and college, performing in on- and off-Broadway plays like A History of the American Film and Leave It to Beaver is Dead. People remember him most for his role of Data, but Spiner has also had an extensive career in other television series, ranging from science fiction to comedy to romance, to animation, even to childrens films.
Prominent roles that Brent Spiner has played:
- Tales from the Darkside episode "A Case of the Stubborns": Reverend Peabody
- Night Court: Bill Wheeler
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (and all movies spun off it): Data/Lore/Dr. Noonien Soong/B-4
- Star Trek: Enterprise: Data/Dr. Arik Soong
- South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: Conan O'Brien
- Independence Day: Dr. Brackish Okun
- Gargoyles: Puck
- Cheers: Bill Grand
- Frasier: Albert
- Generator Rex: Gabriel Rylander
- Young Justice: The Joker
- Fresh Hell: Himself
- Family Guy: Himself (with the rest of the TNG cast, even Denise Crosby)
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!: Purple Man
- Alphas: Dr. Kerns
- The Big Bang Theory: Himself
- 1776: John Adams (1997 Broadway revival).
- Star Wars Rebels: Senator Gall Trayvis
- Phenomenon: Dr. Rob Niedorf
- The Outer Limits (1995) episode "The Deprogrammers": Professor Trent Davis
- The Master of Disguise: Devlin Bowman
- Leverage episode "The Juror #6 Job": William Quint
- Threshold: Dr. Nigel Fenway
- Blunt Talk: Phil
- Outcast: Sidney
Tropes Associated With Brent Spiner:
- Acting for Two: Or three, or four. Data, Lore, Dr. Soong, and B-4 have all been played by Brent, and at least two or three of the aforementioned characters have shared some screen time. And then there was the time when several holodeck characters got turned into replicas of Data.
- Adam Westing: In his webseries Fresh Hell. And his Twitter account. Also, in the Family Guy episode "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven" along with his castmates from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- Casting Gag: In The Simpsons episode "Them, Robot" (the season 23 episode that's best described as "that 'replace human workers with robots' gag from 'Last Exit to Springfield' stretched out to a 22-minute episode), Brent provided the voices for all the robots. He is best known for playing another kind of cybernetic being, namely an entire "family" of androids.
- Death by Cameo: Two of the aforementioned roles, Conan O'Brien and Dr. Brackish Okun, were just bit parts in their respective movies, and they both died horrible, bloody deaths:
- South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: Conan O'Brien commits suicide by jumping out the window of his studio building after realizing what a horrible mistake he made by turning Terrance and Phillip in to MAC.
- Independence Day: Okun, after attempting to perform an autopsy on the alien brought down by Will Smith, is seized by the alien's tentacles, beaten, and tossed around in a bloody and brutal fashion until Okun is lifeless, and then Okun is used by the alien as a mind puppet to send the main characters a message of death. Subverted in that the sequel reveals he survived his ordeal.
- The Southpaw: Spiner is a left-handed penman, as seen in the Star Trek: TNG episode "Fistful of Datas".
- Springtime for Hitler: A real-life example: He only took on the role of Data as he figured remaking a show as iconic as Star Trek would fail and he could take the money from the one season to build a career on. Instead, he ended up with his most famous role that would run for seven years and four movies.