In the '80s, Spader made his name playing a string of memorable big-screen baddies, from scummy rich kids (Pretty in Pink) to scheming yuppies (Wall Street). But sex, lies and videotape, which capitalized on his pretty-boy looks and offbeat sexuality, turned him into a leading man. Although he never lacked for work, his career never quite took off, and Spader languished in substandard fare throughout most of the '90s. But his kinky turn as an S&M obsessed lawyer in 2002's Secretary reminded Hollywood what he was capable of and the next year he found his greatest success to date as an ethically challenged lawyer on the final season of The Practice and its 2004 spin-off Boston Legal. Off screen, Spader has very poor eyesight and cannot tolerate contact lenses, so many of his characters wear glasses.
- Jobs before becoming a successful actor included yoga instructor, busboy, truck driver, stable boy and railroad-car loader.
- Studied acting at the Michael Chekhov School in New York.
- Has extremely poor eyesight and cannot wear contacts. Has said that when his characters do not wear glasses he can barely make out the faces of the other actors in the scene.