James Marsden Biography: In His Own Words – Video Exclusive, News, Photos
James Marsden (September 18, 1973) is an American actor, singer, and former model. He is known for starting his career with guest appearances on shows like Saved by the Bell: The New Class before working his way to more prominent roles like the X-Men film series and Superman Returns. Marsden then moved on to roles in Hairspray, Enchanted, 30 Rock, The Butler, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and The Best of Me.
James Marsden Bio
James Paul Marsden was born on September 18, 1973 in Stillwater, Okla., to James Luther and Kathleen Marsden. His father was a professor of animal sciences while his mother was a nutritionist. The two divorced when James was nine years old. James also has two sisters – Jennifer and Elizabeth – and two brothers – Jeff and Robert.
James Marsden went to Putnam City North High School in Oklahoma City. He attended Oklahoma State University, where he studied broadcast journalism and pledged the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. After a year and a half at Oklahoma State, Marsden decided to leave school to move to Los Angeles to go after his acting career.
James Marsden Career
James Marsden began his acting career in television. He started off in 1993 with guest roles in Saved by the Bell: The New Class and The Nanny. In 1994 he starred in the Canadian sitcom Boogies Diner, which lasted for one season. After some more guest roles on television, Marsden played Doc Barker in the 1996 film Public Enemies. Marsden built up his filmography with various television film roles before landing on ABC’s drama Second Noah. The series lasted for two seasons and Marsden appeared in all 22 episodes of the show’s run.
After starring with Katie Holmes in 1998’s Disturbing Behavior and Kate Hudson in 2000’s Gossip, Marsden landed his first high publicity role by getting the part of Cyclops in the 2000 blockbuster RX-Men. Alongside a star studded cast with Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, and Halle Berry among the actors involved, Marsden shined as one of the X-Men series’ biggest characters. His portrayal helped land him the Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Best Supporting Actor in a science fiction film.
Marsden continued to make guest appearances on television in the early 2000’s, including a recurring role in Fox’s hit comedy-drama Ally McBeal. Marsden played Glenn Foy for 13 episodes of the show’s fifth and final season.
In 2001, Marsden appeared in a pair of films with a starring role in Sugar and Spice and a cameo in Zoolander. In 2003, Marsden returned as Cyclops in the next installment of the X-Men series, X2: X-Men United. He would also have a supporting role alongside Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling in the ever popular romance film The Notebook. He plays Lou Hammond, Jr., one of the men main character Allie Hamilton (McAdams) falls in love with.
Superhero movies were the theme of 2006 for Marsden, as he appeared in two of them. Bryan Singer dropped out of directing the third installment of the X-Men series, X-Men: The Last Stand, to direct Superman Returns. Singer tapped Marsden to play Richard White, the fiance of Lois Lane (played by Kate Bosworth). However, Marsden had also already committed to playing Cyclops in his final X-Men movie, as his character was killed off in the film. As a result to the time constraints between filming two movies, Cyclops did not appear as much as fans had hoped for in X-Men: The Last Stand. As shaky as the end to his X-Men tenure went, however, Marsden appeared in a cameo as Cyclops in 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past and has expressed interest in appearing in any of the series’ future films.
Marsden landed another star studded role in 2007 by landing the part of Corny Collins in the film adaptation of the Broadway play Hairspray. In addition to playing Corny, Marsden sang on two of the soundtrack’s songs– “The Nicest Kids in Town” and “(It’s) Hairspray.” The film, with a cast that boasted John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Queen Latifah, and Zac Efron, was a huge hit with audiences and critics alike. The film won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Acting Ensemble and was also nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a cast. The soundtrack was also a huge success, with the album certified platinum by the RIAA with over 1.2 million copies sold.
Marsden kept his hot 2007 going by playing Prince Edward in Disney’s live action-animated combination film Enchanted. In the film, Prince Edward must leave his world in order to save Giselle, a woman he planned on marrying to become his Queen and allow him to take the throne played by Amy Adams, after she’s sent into our world through a portal that goes into modern day New York City. Just like Hairspray, Enchanted was a huge smash at the box office and among critics and audiences alike. The film netted over $340 million in theaters. Marsden was also nominated for a Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actor in a Comedy for his role as Prince Edward.
2008 was another great year for Marsden in comedies, as he took on the male lead of Malcolm “Kevin” Doyle in 27 Dresses. Kevin is a wedding announcement writer who falls in love with Jane Nichols (played by Katherine Heigl) when he writes a story about how she’s been a bridesmaid for 27 different weddings. Although the film received mixed reviews, it was a huge hit at the box office, especially with female audiences, as it racked in $160 million against a $30 million budget. Marsden got a second straight Teen Choice Award nomination as Choice Movie Actor in a Comedy for his work. Marsden also appeared in the teen comedy Sex Drive, which earned him positive reviews for his performance.
In 2009, Marsden had the male lead in The Box, which also starred Cameron Diaz. In 2010, he played Oscar in Death at a Funeral, a comedy where he shared the spotlight with Chris Rock, Luke Wilson, and Danny Glover. Marsden also made his mark in family films during this time, lending his voice to 2010’s Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore and his acting to the 2011 Easter film Hop. He returned to the drama genre later in the year by starring opposite Kate Bosworth in the remake of Straw Dogs, though the film failed to live up to its expectations in both reviews and box office numbers. Marsden also made a brief return to television by guest starring in an episode of ABC’s comedy Modern Family in 2011.
While appearing in a few independent films, Marsden came back to television in a recurring role in NBC’s comedy 30 Rock. There he played Criss Chros, the boyfriend and husband of main character Liz Lemon, played by Tina Fey. Marsden appeared in the role for 13 episodes during the show’s sixth and seventh seasons.
2013 was a busy year for James Marsden, as he appeared in three major motion pictures. He co-starred in 2 Guns with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as Harold, which ended up taking a surprise #1 ranking at the box office on its opening weekend. He followed that with a stirring performance as John F. Kennedy in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, an award winning story based on the life of an African-American butler at the White House. The film ended up being nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Marsden went back into a comedic role with the release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. There he played Jack Lime, a rival anchor to Ron Burgundy, who was famously replayed by Will Ferrell for the sequel to the original Anchorman.
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After his cameo in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Marsden took the lead role in the 2014 film adaptation of Nicolas Sparks’ The Best of Me as Dawson Cole. It would be Marsden’s second time playing a role in a film of one of Sparks’ books, but this time it would come about in tragic circumstances, as Marsden was asked to take it after the death of Paul Walker.
Prior to the film’s release, Marsden took some time to talk exclusively with uInterview about the film. One of the topics he dove into was his on-screen chemistry with co-star Michelle Monaghan. “We don’t like to give away our secrets, our chemistry secrets,” he told us. “We had the good fortune of getting a couple of weeks rehearsal time before we started shooting; just to get to know each other and the director and some of the other actors. So that was invaluable, especially on a movie like this, which is all about the dialogue and the connection between the other actors.”
Marsden also told us why he enjoyed working on films based on the works of Sparks. “I guess it’s just his sort of unabashed boldness with treating human emotion and dealing with these sort of classic love stories,” he says of being attracted to his stories. “I find these stories rare nowadays to see in films. To me it was another opportunity to go down that road and have it be about the connection you have with the other actor. There is a sort of great Capra-esque, old fashioned feeling to making a movie like this. I feel this is something not lost on Nicholas and you see that element in most of his movies.”
Sparks returned the favor of praising Marsden in a similar exclusive interview with us. “When we brought him in he was able to use all of that experience to really show an amazing depth of emotion and breadth,” Sparks says about Marsden. “He can really put off a lot of different emotions. It was fun to work with him again. He’s a great guy, he’s always fun to talk to and he worked so hard on the film. It was a thrill.”
In 2015, Marsden has had roles in films with limited releases as well as a small role in Unfinished Business. He will lend his voice for a starring role in the 2016 animated comedy Henchmen.
James Marsden Personal Life
James Marsden married actress Lisa Linde in July 2000. The two of them had two children, Jack and Mary, together as a married couple. The two divorced in September 2011. Marsden also has a son from a previous relationship with Rose Costa named William, who was born in December, 2012.