Often noted for his comment that he enjoys working in all of his films -- as long as he doesn't have to see any of them -- actor James Spader may have missed out on seeing a few good performances in some pretty memorable films.
Though descended from a long line of scholars and professors, Spader, in ironic contrast to his theatrical image as the definitive terminal yuppie, dropped out of Phillips Andover prep school to pursue a career as an actor. Forsaking his formal education, Spader instead decided to focus his attention on acting by studying at the Michael Chekhov school in New York, while also working a variety of odd jobs to support himself until he found success as a thespian. Making his debut in the 1978 comedy Team Mates, Spader began the slow process of gaining more frequent work with roles of increasing substance. Spader's first role came in Franco Zeffirelli's soft-core teen melodrama Endless Love (1981) (also notable as the debut of another young unknown actor named Tom Cruise. After a brief, mid-'80s stint in teen exploitation including Tuff Turf and The New Kids (both 1985), Spader gained mainstream recognition with his first fore in yuppiedom as Molly Ringwald's insincere suitor in Pretty in Pink (1986). Over the course of the next few years, Spader would refine his slimy persona to perfection in Wall Street (1987) and Less Than Zero (1987), and take an interesting turn as a possible serial killer in the Jack the Ripper thriller Jack's Back (1988), but it was the end of the decade that brought the defining role in Spader's career.