Brent Spiner

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Brent Jay Spiner (born February 2, 1949)[1][2] is an American actor, best known for his portrayal of the android Lieutenant Commander Data in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and four subsequent films. His portrayal of Data in Star Trek: First Contact and of Dr. Brackish Okun in Independence Day, both in 1996, earned him a Saturn Award and Saturn Award nomination respectively. He has also enjoyed a career in the theatre and as a musician.


Early life

Spiner was born in Houston, Texas, the son of Sylvia and Jack Spiner, who owned a furniture store.[3] After Jack's death, he was adopted by Sylvia's second husband, Sol Mintz, whose surname he used between 1955 and 1975.[4] Spiner attended Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas, where he was influenced by 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. Spiner would become active on the Bellaire Speech team, eventually winning the national championship in dramatic interpretation. Spiner attended the University of Houston where he performed in local theatre.[citation needed]


Spiner moved to New York City, 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. At the same time, he also had a nonspeaking background role in the film Stardust Memories as one of the silent Felliniesque "grotesques" on Sandy Bates's train car.

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