James Marsden

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James Marsden
James Marsden by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Marsden at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con promoting Westworld
James Paul Marsden

(1973-09-18) September 18, 1973 (age 46)
OccupationActor, singer, model
Years active1993–present
Lisa Linde
(m. 2000; div. 2011)

James Paul Marsden (born September 18, 1973)[1] is an American actor, singer, and former model. Marsden began his acting career guest-starring in television shows Saved by the Bell: The New Class, Touched by an Angel, and Party of Five. He gained prominence with his portrayal of Scott Summers / Cyclops in the X-Men film series and starred in 2006's Superman Returns. In 2016 and 2018, Marsden starred as gunslinger/sentient android Teddy Flood in the HBO science fiction series Westworld, as part of the main ensemble.

Following his breakthrough in comic book films, Marsden went on to star in various genre films including 2007's Hairspray which was a critical and commercial success and won many awards for its ensemble cast. As Corny Collins, he sang two songs for the film's soundtrack which has been certified Platinum by the RIAA.[2] He has had starring roles in family-friendly films such as Enchanted and Hop and leading man roles in 27 Dresses and The Best of Me.

Marsden later starred in a range of independent films such as Small Apartments, Bachelorette, and Robot & Frank. He also returned to television guest-starring in Modern Family and playing Liz Lemon's love interest, Criss Chros in 30 Rock in a supporting role. Marsden then portrayed President John F. Kennedy in Lee Daniels's The Butler and had a supporting role as an antagonist in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

Early life and His family[edit]

Marsden was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma, the son of Kathleen (née Scholtz) and James Luther Marsden.[3] His father, formerly head of food safety at Chipotle Mexican Grill and formerly a professor of animal sciences and industry at Kansas State University, and now a food safety advisor to LexiGene Industries,[1][4] and his mother, a nutritionist, divorced when he was nine years old.[5]

He has four siblings: two younger sisters, Jennifer and Elizabeth, and two brothers, Jeff and Robert. He attended Hefner Middle School and Putnam City North High School, in Oklahoma City, and later went on to attend Oklahoma State University, where he studied broadcast journalism.[6] He was also a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Marsden left after one and a half years, opting instead to move to Los Angeles in order to pursue his acting career.


Debut and early career (1994–2003)[edit]

Marsden got his first job in a series of episodes of The Nanny as Eddie, Margaret Sheffield's boyfriend. Then he went on to star in the Canadian television series Boogies Diner, which aired for one season. With the end of that series, he guest starred on other television shows such as Saved by the Bell: The New Class and Party of Five. He later starred in the ABC show Second Noah. He lost out to Edward Norton for a role in Primal Fear and turned down the lead role in 54, which later went to Ryan Phillippe. He then went on to star in Disturbing Behavior opposite Katie Holmes and Gossip opposite Kate Hudson. He also appeared in the television series Ally McBeal, as one of the main cast members during the first half of season 5, where he also showcased his singing abilities. He also starred in a 1998 episode of "The Outer Limits".

Marsden was cast as Cyclops in the X-Men films. His character is prominent in the comics; his screen time in the films, however, is increasingly reduced, particularly in the sequels. Notably, Marsden also appeared in Bryan Singer's Superman Returns. Singer dropped out of the third installment to direct Superman and Marsden was cast as Lois Lane's fiancé, Richard White, but due to schedule conflicts, Marsden's screen time in X-Men: The Last Stand was reduced, stirring controversy from fans of the comics.[7] Marsden's portrayal of Cyclops in the films was well received and garnered him a Blockbuster Award for Best Supporting Actor.[8] In 2014 Marsden reprised his role of Cyclops in a brief cameo for X-Men: Days of Future Past, as did a few of the original actors from the first film including Anna Paquin and Famke Janssen.

Breakthrough with comedy films (2004–11)[edit]

In 2004, Marsden co-starred with Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, James Garner, and Gena Rowlands in the romantic drama The Notebook as Lon Hammond, Jr., the second man Allie Hamilton (McAdams) falls in love with. In 2007, Marsden played Corny Collins in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Hairspray, based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same name. In the film, he sang two songs, "The Nicest Kids In Town" and "(It's) Hairspray." Both Hairspray and its soundtrack were critically acclaimed, the latter of which has since sold over 1,200,000 copies to date in the United States and was certified Platinum by the RIAA.[9] His next role was with Amy Adams in the Disney hybrid animated/live action film Enchanted, playing Prince Edward. He sang one song as a duet with Adams at the beginning of the film and a duet with Idina Menzel that was cut from the film. Enchanted was well received critically and proved to be a commercial success, earning more than $340 million worldwide at the box office.[10]

Following his successes in 2007's Hairspray and Enchanted, Marsden played the male lead in the 2008 romantic comedy 27 Dresses opposite star Katherine Heigl, which grossed $160 million worldwide.[11] He also starred in the teen comedy Sex Drive. Though the film was a moderate success, Marsden's performance was heavily praised.[12] Marsden also received a Teen Choice Awards nomination for Choice Movie Actor in a Comedy for his roles in Enchanted and 27 Dresses.[13]

In 2009, Marsden also played the male lead in the film The Box, based on the 1970 short story "Button, Button" by author Richard Matheson, which was earlier made into an episode of The Twilight Zone.[14] He starred opposite Cameron Diaz and reunited with Superman Returns co-star Frank Langella.[15] In 2010, Marsden was cast in the comedy Death at a Funeral, a remake of the 2007 British film of the same name, along with Chris Rock, Luke Wilson, Danny Glover, and Columbus Short.

Marsden made an appearance on Modern Family in January 2011, playing a squatter.[16] In April, Marsden appeared as the male (live-action) lead in Hop, an Easter-themed comedy co-starring Russell Brand as the Easter Bunny. Although the film was considered a commercial success, opening at the top of the weekend box office and grossing over $100 million in the U.S. box office, Hop generally received negative reviews.[17][18] Later in 2011, Marsden played the lead in Straw Dogs, a remake of Sam Peckinpah's 1971 film; Marsden portrayed the character played by Dustin Hoffman in the original. Straw Dogs reunited Marsden with his Superman Returns co-star Kate Bosworth. The film received mixed reviews and ultimately ended up being a box office flop.[19][20]

Transition to independent films and supporting work (2012–present)[edit]

Marsden at the World Premiere of Robot and Frank in January 2012

In 2012 and 2013, Marsden appeared in a recurring role in the sixth and seventh seasons of 30 Rock, playing Criss Chros, the boyfriend (and later husband) of the series' main character Liz Lemon. He also appeared in several independent films, including Robot & Frank, Small Apartments, Bachelorette, and As Cool as I Am. In 2013, he co-starred with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in the action film 2 Guns, which debuted at number one in its weekend release. Soon after, he starred in Lee Daniels' historical drama The Butler as President John F. Kennedy. The film, featuring an ensemble, opened at the top spot and received positive reviews. Marsden played Jack Lime, a rival reporter to Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy, in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. The following year, he reprised his role as Scott Summers for the first time in eight years in X-Men: Days of Future Past in a cameo. He would also star in his second Nicholas Sparks film titled The Best of Me, replacing Paul Walker in the lead role. Marsden has recently played the character of sentient android Teddy Flood in HBO's 2016 series Westworld.

Recently Marsden appeared as Judy Hale’s former boyfriend and lawyer Steve Wood in the Netflix dark comedy series, Dead to Me.[21] He is set star in Paramount's upcoming film Sonic the Hedgehog[22] and joined CBS All Access TV mini series The Stand.[23] Marsden will also be seen in the FX miniseries Mrs.America as Congressman Phil Crane to debut in the spring of 2020.

Personal life[edit]

Marsden married Mary Elizabeth "Lisa" Linde, daughter of Dennis Linde, on July 22, 2000. The couple had two children: a son born in 2001 and daughter born in 2005.[24]Linde filed for divorce on September 23, 2011.[25]

He also has a son, born in 2012, with his former girlfriend Rose Costa.[26] Marsden has been in a relationship with Edei (a.k.a. Emma Deigman), a British singer-songwriter and actress, since 2015.[citation needed]



Year Title Role Notes
1994 No Dessert, Dad, Till You Mow the Lawn Tyler Cochran
1996 Public Enemies Doc Barker Direct-to-video
1997 Campfire Tales Eddie Segment: "The Hook"
1998 Disturbing Behavior Steve Clark
2000 Gossip Derrick Webb
X-Men Scott Summers / Cyclops
2001 Sugar & Spice Jack Bartlett
Zoolander John Wilkes Booth
2002 Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road Neal Oliver
2003 X2 Scott Summers / Cyclops
2004 The 24th Day Dan
The Notebook Lon Hammond
2005 Heights Jonathan Kessler
2006 Lies & Alibis Wendell Hatch Also known as The Alibi
X-Men: The Last Stand Scott Summers / Cyclops
10th & Wolf Tommy Santoro
Superman Returns Richard White
2007 Hairspray Corny Collins
Enchanted Prince Edward
27 Dresses Kevin Doyle
2008 Sex Drive Rex Lafferty
2009 The Box Arthur Lewis
2010 Death at a Funeral Oscar
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Diggs (voice)
2011 Hop Fred O'Hare
Straw Dogs David Sumner
2012 Robot & Frank Hunter Weld
Bachelorette Trevor Graham
Small Apartments Bernard Franklin
2013 As Cool as I Am Chuck Diamond
2 Guns Harold Quince
Lee Daniel's The Butler John F. Kennedy
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Prince Ishitsukuri (voice) English dub
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Jack Lime
2014 Walk of Shame Gordon
X-Men: Days of Future Past Scott Summers / Cyclops Cameo
Welcome to Me Rich Ruskin
The Best of Me Dawson Cole
The Loft Chris Vanowen
2015 The D Train Oliver Lawless Also known as Bad Bromance
Accidental Love Scott
Into the Grizzly Maze Rowan
Unfinished Business Jim Spinch
2017 The Female Brain Adam Simmons
Shock and Awe Warren Strobel
2018 Henchmen Hank (voice)
2019 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Burt Reynolds Extended cut
2020 Sonic the Hedgehog Tom Wachowski Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1993 In the Line of Duty: Ambush in Waco Steven Willis TV Movie
1993 Saved by the Bell: The New Class Chad Westerfield (1 episode) TV Series
1993 The Nanny Eddie (2 episodes) TV Series
1993 Joe's Life Brian (1 episode) TV Series
1994 Boogies Diner Jason (1 episode) TV Series
1994 Heavenly Road Jeremy TV Movie
1994 Search and Rescue TV Movie; as Jimmy Marsden
1995 Blossom Josh (The Date) TV Series; as Jimmy Marsden
1995 Party of Five Griffin Holbrook (The Ides of March) TV Series; as Jimmy Marsden
1995 Touched by an Angel Jake (Angels on the Air) TV Series; as Jimmy Marsden
1996 919 Fifth Avenue Will TV Movie
1996 Gone in a Heartbeat Michael Galler TV Movie
1997 On the Edge of Innocence Jake Walker TV Movie
1997 Second Noah Ricky Beckett (21 episodes) TV Series
1997 Extreme Ghostbusters Ghost Apocalyptic Future TV Series; voice
1997 Bella Mafia Luka TV Movie
2001- 2002 Ally McBeal Glenn Foy TV series
2011 Modern Family Barry (1 episode) TV Series
2012-2013 30 Rock Criss Chros (13 episodes) TV Series
2014-2016 Way Over Yonder Sir Brad Starlight (3 episodes) TV Series
2015 Comedy Bang Bang Himself (1 episode) TV Series
2016-2018 Westworld Teddy Flood (13 episodes) TV Series
2017 Tour De Pharmacy Rex Honeycut TV Movie
2019 Dead to Me Steve Wood (8 episodes) TV Series
2019 Star Talk Himself (1 episode) TV Series
2019 Top Gear Himself (1 episode) TV Series
2020 Mrs. America Phil Crane TV Miniseries status (filming)
2020 The Stand Stu Redman TV Miniseries (in production)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Title Accolade Results
2001 X-Men Blockbuster Entertainment Award, Favorite Supporting Actor - Science Fiction Won
2001 MTV Movie + TV Award, Best On-Screen Team
(shared with Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin)
2007 Hairspray Hollywood Film Festival Award, Ensemble of the Year Won
Superman Returns Saturn Award, Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2008 Hairspray Critics Choice Award, Best Acting Ensemble Won
Gold Derby Award, Best Ensemble Cast Nominated
Palm Springs International Film Festival Award, Best Ensemble Cast Won
Screen Actors Guild Award, Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture Nominated

27 Dresses

Teen Choice Award, Choice Movie Actor - Comedy Nominated
2010 Death at a Funeral Teen Choice Award, Choice Movie - Male Scene Stealer Nominated
2011 Modern Family Online Film & Television Association Award, Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Won
Savannah Film Festival Award, Spotlight award Won
2012 30 Rock Gold Derby Award, Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
2014 Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues MTV Movie + TV Award, Best Fight

(shared with Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Steve Carrell)

30 Rock Screen Actors Guild Award, Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
The Butler Screen Actors Guild Award, Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture Nominated
2015 Kaguyahime no mongatari Behind the Voice Actors Award, Best Vocal Ensemble in an Anime Feature Film/Special Nominated
2017 Westworld Screen Actors Guild Award, Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated



Year Song Album
2000 "Glow" Gossip
2007 "True Love's Kiss" (with Amy Adams) Enchanted
"That's Amore"
"The Nicest Kids in Town" Hairspray
"(It's) Hairspray"


  • Even though Marsden sang on Ally McBeal, he was not featured on any soundtrack released by the TV show.


  1. ^ a b "James Marsden Biography (1973-)". FilmReference.com. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
  2. ^ Gold & Platinum - Hairspray Soundtrack RIAA. October 12, 2007
  3. ^ "James Paul Marsden". ancestry.com. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  4. ^ Strom, Stephanie (September 22, 2016). "Every Day's a Safety Drill as Chipotle Woos Customers Back". The New York Times. pp. B2. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  5. ^ "James Marsden Biography". Retrieved August 12, 2008.
  6. ^ "James Marsden- Biography: About James Marsden". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  7. ^ "Superman Returns (2006): Reviews". Metacritic. June 28, 2006. Retrieved November 14, 2008.
  8. ^ "Actor Cast As Scott Summers In Wolverine!?". X-Men Films.net. May 6, 2008. Archived from the original on May 10, 2008. Retrieved May 7, 2008.
  9. ^ Hernandez, Ernio (September 12, 2007). "'Hairspray' Movie Soundtrack Goes Gold". Playbill. New York City: Playbill, Inc. Archived from the original on December 27, 2008.
  10. ^ "Enchanted". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 20, 2008.
  11. ^ Pandya, Gitesh. "Weekend Box Office (January 18 - 21, 2008)". boxofficeguru.com. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  12. ^ "Sex Drive Reviews, Ratings, Credits". Metacritic. October 17, 2008. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  13. ^ "Miley Cyrus Hangs Ten as Host of 'Teen Choice 2008'" (PDF) (Press release). Fox Broadcasting Company. June 17, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 5, 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
  14. ^ Goldstein, Gregg (November 2, 2007). "Marsden wrapped up in 'Box' role". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Associated Press. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  15. ^ Kit, Borys; Goldstein, Greg (June 29, 2006). "Box' is a dark place for Diaz". The Hollywood Reporter.
  16. ^ "Keck's Exclusives: X-Men's James Marsden To Go Shirtless on Modern Family". TV Guide. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
  17. ^ Young, John (April 3, 2011). "Box office report: 'Hop' springs into first place with $38.1 million". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  18. ^ "Hop – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  19. ^ "Straw Dogs". Rotten Tomatoes. Los Angeles, California: Fandango Media. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  20. ^ "Alexander Skarsgard's Straw Dogs Flops at the Box Office". Wetpaint. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  21. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (September 12, 2018). "'Dead To Me': James Marsden & Ed Asner To Co-Star In Netflix Dark Comedy Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  22. ^ James Marsden to Star in ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Movie (EXCLUSIVE) Variety, May 30, 2018
  23. ^ https://deadline.com/2019/08/the-stand-james-marsden-amber-heard-odessa-young-henry-zaga-stephen-king-cbs-all-access-series-1202659059/
  24. ^ "'X-Men' Star James Marsden's Wife Files for Divorce" (PDF). TMZ. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  25. ^ "James Marsden's Wife Files for Divorce". People. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  26. ^ "James Marsden Welcomes Son William Luca". People. Retrieved November 4, 2019.

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