James Marsden

For the English thriller writer who used this pen name, see John Creasey.
James Marsden

Marsden at the world premiere of Robot & Frank, 2012
Born James Paul Marsden
(1973-09-18) September 18, 1973
Stillwater, Oklahoma, U.S.
Occupation Actor, singer, model
Years active 1993-present
Spouse(s) Lisa Linde (m. 2000; div. 2011)
Partner(s) Edei (2015–present)
Children 3

James Paul Marsden (born September 18, 1973)[1] is an American actor, singer and former Versace 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. Since 2016, Marsden has starred as gunslinger Teddy Flood, a sentient android, in the HBO science fiction-western thriller 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 would continue his success and star in family friendly films such as Enchanted and Hop, and star in leading man roles in films such as 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' The Butler, and had a supporting role as an antagonist in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

Early life and family

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

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.


Early career

Marsden got his first job on 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".

X-Men films

Main article: X-Men (film series)

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, after his character had died in the The Last Stand, 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. He has expressed interest in returning for future films.

Breakthrough roles

Marsden on the set of Enchanted in 2006

In 2004, Marsden co-starred with Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, James Garner and Gena Rowlands in the romantic drama The Notebook based on the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name as Lon Hammond, Jr., the second man Allie Hamilton (McAdams) falls in love with. He was apparently cast for his close resemblance to Garner, who played the older Noah Calhoun, while Gosling portraying the younger Noah Calhoun looked nothing like Garner. 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 which he sang two songs, "The Nicest Kids In Town" and "(It's) Hairspray." Both "Hairspray" and the 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 re-united with Superman Returns co-star Frank Langella.[15] In 2010, Marsden was cast in the comedy Death at a Funeral along with Chris Rock, Luke Wilson, Danny Glover and Columbus Short, which was a remake of the 2007 British film of the same name.

Recent work

Marsden made an appearance on ABC's Modern Family in January 2011, playing a homeless squatter of Cam and Mitchell.[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 the remake of Straw Dogs, re-uniting with Superman Returns co-star Kate Bosworth. A marked departure from previous roles, the film received mixed reviews and ultimately ended up being a box office flop.[19][20]

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. Simultaneously, his range of films were independent films which included 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 beating out the animated film The Smurfs 2 which came in second. 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 in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, a rival reporter to Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy. 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.

Personal life

Marsden married actress Mary Elizabeth "Lisa" Linde, daughter of country music songwriter Dennis Linde, on July 22, 2000. The couple have two children: son Jack Holden who was born on February 1, 2001 and daughter Mary James who was born on August 10, 2005.[21][22] Linde filed for divorce on September 23, 2011.[22]

Marsden also has a son, William Luca Costa-Marsden, born on December 14, 2012, with former girlfriend Rose Costa.[23]

Marsden has been dating Edei (aka Emma Deigman), a British singer, since 2015.[24]



Year Film Role Notes
1994 No Dessert, Dad, till You Mow the Lawn Tyler Cochran
1996 Public Enemies Doc Barker
1997 Campfire Tales Eddie Segment: "The Hook"
1998 Disturbing Behavior Steve Clark
2000 Gossip Derrick Webb
2000 X-Men Scott Summers/Cyclops Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor - Science Fiction
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Team
2001 Sugar & Spice Jack Bartlett
2001 Zoolander John Wilkes Booth
2002 Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road Neal Oliver
2003 X2: X-Men United Scott Summers/Cyclops
2004 The 24th Day Dan
2004 The Notebook Lon Hammond, Jr.
2004 Heights Jonathan Kestler
2006 The Alibi Wendell Hatch
2006 10th & Wolf Tommy
2006 X-Men: The Last Stand Scott Summers/Cyclops
2006 Superman Returns Richard White Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
2007 Hairspray Corny Collins Critics' Choice Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Hollywood Film Festival Award for Ensemble of the Year
Palm Spring International Film Festival Award for Ensemble Performance
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2007 Enchanted Prince Edward Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actor - Comedy
2008 27 Dresses Malcolm Kevin Doyle Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actor - Comedy
2008 Sex Drive Rex Lafferty
2009 The Box Arthur Lewis
2010 Death at a Funeral Oscar Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Scene Stealer - Male
2010 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Diggs (voice)
2011 Hop Fred O'Hare
2011 Straw Dogs David Sumner
2012 Robot & Frank Hunter Weld
2012 Small Apartments Bernard Franklin
2012 Bachelorette Trevor Graham
2013 As Cool as I Am Chuck Diamond
2013 2 Guns Harold Quince
2013 The Butler John F. Kennedy Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2013 Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Jack Lime
2014 Walk of Shame Gordon
2014 X-Men: Days of Future Past Scott Summers/Cyclops Cameo
2014 The Best of Me Dawson Cole
2014 Welcome to Me Rich
2014 The Loft Chris Vanowen
2014 The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Prince Ishitsukuri (voice) English dub
2015 The D Train Oliver Lawless
2015 Accidental Love Scott
2015 Into the Grizzly Maze Rowan
2015 Unfinished Business Jim Spinch
2017 Henchmen Hank (voice) Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1993 Ambush in Waco: In the Line of Duty Steven Willis Television film
1993 Saved by the Bell: The New Class Chad Westerfield Episode: "Homecoming King"; as Jimmy Marsden
1993 The Nanny Eddie 2 episodes; as Jimmy Marsden
1994–1995 Boogies Diner Jason Main role
1995 Blossom Josh Episode: "The Date"
1995 Party of Five Griffin Holbrook Episode: "Ides of March"
1995 Touched by an Angel Jake Episode: "Angels on the Air"
1996–1997 Second Noah Ricky Beckett 22 episodes
1996 Gone in a Heartbeat Michael Galler Television film
1997 On the Edge of Innocence Jake Walker Television film
1997 Bella Mafia Luka Television film
1998 The Outer Limits Brav Episode: "Rite of Passage"
2001–2002 Ally McBeal Glenn Foy 13 episodes
2002 Bram & Alice Arnold Cooper Episode: "Scribbling Rivalry"
2009 Robot Chicken Jason Chambers / Lion (voices) Episode: "Especially the Animal Keith Crofford"
2011 Modern Family Barry Episode: "Slow Down Your Neighbors"
2012–2013 30 Rock Criss Chros 13 episodes
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
2014–2016 Wander Over Yonder Sir Brad Starlight (voice) 3 episodes
2015 Comedy Bang! Bang! Himself Episode: "James Marsden Wears Gray Pants and Black High-Top Sneakers"
2016–present Westworld Teddy Flood


Savannah Film Festival[25]

Year Award/Category Nominated Work Result
2011 "Spotlight Award" Honorary Award Won

Grammy Awards[26]

Year Award/Category Nominated Work Result
2008 Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media Hairspray Nominated

Billboard Year End Charts

Year Award/Category Nominated Work Result
2007 Top Independent Album of the Year Hairspray Won

American Music Awards

Year Award/Category Nominated Work Result
2007 Favorite Soundtrack Hairspray Nominated

Screen Actors Guild Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
2007 Hairspray SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
2013 The Butler SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
2013 30 Rock SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated



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

Marsden performed the song "Glow", written by Kevin Houlihan on the soundtrack of the movie Gossip in 2000.



  1. 1 2 "James Marsden Biography (1973-)". FilmReference.com. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
  2. Gold & Platinum - Hairspray Soundtrack RIAA. October 12, 2007
  3. 1 2 "James Paul Marsden". ancestry.com. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  4. Strom, Stephanie (2016-09-22). "Every Day's a Safety Drill as Chipotle Woos Customers Back". The New York Times. pp. B2. Retrieved 21 September 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. Ernio Hernandez, "'Hairspray' Movie Soundtrack Goes Gold", September 12, 2007.
  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. Retrieved January 30, 2009.
  14. Goldstein, Gregg (November 2, 2007). "Marsden wrapped up in 'Box' role". The Hollywood Reporter. 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.
  18. "Hop – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  19. "Straw Dogs– Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  20. "Alexander Skarsgard's Straw Dogs Flops at the Box Office". Wetpaint. Retrieved November 7, 2013.
  21. "'X-Men' Star James Marsden's Wife Files for Divorce" (PDF). TMZ. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  22. 1 2 "James Marsden's Wife Files for Divorce". People. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  23. "James Marsden Welcomes Son William Luca". People. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  24. https://www.instagram.com/p/BNNd57vgJkK/
  25. Savannah Festival
  26. "New Line Records Scores High on Billboard" (Press release). New Line Cinema. January 8, 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2008.
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