My first introduction to James Spader was as a campy, over-the-top monster villain in ‘Mannequin’, and for the longest time, that role was what described him for me.  So, it was something of a surprise to see him referred to as a respected actor until I was able to see ‘sex, lies and videotape’ in 1989.  Thirty years later, I never stop being a little amused at those earliest roles and how he’s now mostly known for playing eccentric geniuses and crime lords and such, proving that a long career can be its own reward.  Much as realizing that Joss Whedon used to write jokes for ‘Roseanne’, it can be hard to connect the dots from early days to our current reality, leading to today’s chronological query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) will grudgingly admit that Rob Liefeld has made a storied, decades-long career, far outstripping my expectations of his work from early New Mutants, asking: Which actor or creator has had most surprisingly long and varied career, ala James Spader?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. May 14, 2017 at 3:32 pm — Reply

    I’ve never really thought about it, but now when I do: Leonardo DiCaprio. In my head, he was still that kinda annoying pretty boy in stupid romantic movies which who all the girls in school adored. Well, since then, he’s became a real actor with great career and I realized it five minutes ago.

    • May 14, 2017 at 5:11 pm — Reply

      In my head, he’s still the homeless kid they took in on the last season of “Growing Pains”. He’s had some fantastic roles since, but every time I see him that is my first automatic thought. Not meaning to be disrespectful of his career, I just can’t help it.

  2. May 14, 2017 at 5:18 pm — Reply

    Off the top of my head, I’m thinking Ron Howard simply because he’s done almost everything from comedy to drama, in front of and behind the camera. He’s one of those people I don’t set out to follow, but for the bulk of my life he’s been almost impossible to avoid because he’s involved in so many things in one capacity or another (actor, writer, director, producer, guest starring as himself, etc.).

  3. May 14, 2017 at 11:01 pm — Reply

    Kurt Russell

  4. Frank
    May 15, 2017 at 7:33 am — Reply

    Powers Booth. I read his filmography and was surprised at how varied his career was. RIP.

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