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6 Things You Should Know About Brent Spiner

First of all, it's his birthday!

Brent Spiner

It's Brent Spiner's birthday today, and to celebrate is pleased to present 6 Things You Should Know About Brent Spiner.

Spiner kicked off his career by acting on stage. In New York City, he appeared in such plays and musicals as A History of the American Film (1978), Sunday in the Park with George (1984-1985), The Three Musketeers (1984) and Big River (1985-1987).

The actor's run as Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation spanned 15 years, from "Encounter at Farpoint" to Star Trek Nemesis. Unlike many of his co-stars, Spiner never directed an episode, but he did help develop the story for Nemesis and received a "story by" co-credit.

Spiner had a career year in 1996. He not only starred in the hugely successful Star Trek: First Contact, but he also memorably appeared as Dr. Okun in Independence Day and played a psychologist in the surprise hit, Phenomenon, with John Travolta.

Spiner, in 1991, released an album titled Ol' Yellow Eyes Is Back. Joining him on the collection of 1930s and 1940s standards were his TNG co-stars Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton and Michael Dorn, who were jointly referred to as "The Sunspots."

The actor has played himself several times over the years, including in his Web series Fresh Hell and also on an episode of The Big Bang Theory. In a 2011 interview with, he discussed the challenges of playing Brent Spiner. "I’ve never been very good at playing myself. I’d done it before. I did it on Joey a few years ago. It’s one of the most difficult characters to play. It’s certainly easier in Fresh Hell because we’ve established all of the parameters of where I am in my life at that point. None of that is important at all when I appear as myself anywhere else. It’s just a person who happens to be named Brent Spiner, who was on Star Trek."

The actor's most recent projects include Independence Day: Resurgence, in which he reprised the role of Dr. Okun; the horror series Outcast; and the Patrick Stewart comedy Blunt Talk.  He, of course, reunites with Stewart in season one of Star Trek: Picard. Please join us in wishing Spiner a happy birthday!