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James Paul Marsden (born September 18, 1973) is an Americanmarker actor, singer and former Versace model. He is best known for playing the superhero Cyclops in the three X-Men films, and for his roles in other commercially successful films such as Superman Returns, Hairspray, Enchanted, and 27 Dresses.

Early life and family

Marsden was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma. His father, a professor of animal studies and industry at Kansas State Universitymarker, and his mother, a nutritionist, divorced when he was nine years old. Marsden has four siblings: two younger sisters, Jennifer and Elizabeth, and two brothers, Jeff and Robert. He attended Putnam City North High Schoolmarker, in Oklahoma Citymarker and later went on to attend Oklahoma State Universitymarker where he studied broadcast journalism. He was also a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. However, Marsden left after one and a half years, opting instead to move out to Los Angeles in order to pursue his acting career.


Marsden got his first job on a series of episodes of The Nanny as Eddie, Margaret Sheffield's boyfriend. He then went on to star in the Canadianmarker 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 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.

Marsden was then cast as Cyclops in the X-Men films, along side Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, and Halle Berry. His character is a prominent figure in the comics; his screen time in the films, however, is increasingly reduced, particularly in the sequels. While this upset many fans of the comics, James Marsden's performance in the films was well received, and garnered him a Blockbuster Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.Marsden also appeared in Bryan Singer's Superman Returns, where he played Lois Lane's fiancé, Richard White. The film was a box-office success and received mostly positive reviews. Marsden later played Lon Hammond Jr. in the romantic movie The Notebook, which was based on a Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name. The Alibi was released in 2006, but only in Europe as of late. An American release date is still to be determined.

In 2007, Marsden played Corny Collins in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical based on the 1988 John Waters movie Hairspray alongside Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Nikki Blonsky, Amanda Bynes, Queen Latifah and John Travolta. There he also made his musical debut by singing two of the film's songs The Nicest Kids In Town and (It's) Hairspray. Both Hairspray and the film's soundtrack were critically-acclaimed. The soundtrack has sold 1,291,075+ copies to date in the United Statesmarker, and has been certified Platinum by the RIAA. His next role was in the Disney hybrid animated/live action film Enchanted, playing Prince Edward with co-stars Amy Adams, Susan Sarandon, Idina Menzel and Patrick Dempsey. He sang one song as a duet with Amy 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. Marsden was also received a nomination for the Teen Choice Awards for Choice Movie Actor in a Comedy but lost to Ashton Kutcher.

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. He also starred in the teen comedy, Sex Drive along side Josh Zuckerman. In 2009, Marsden also played the male lead in the horror 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. He starred opposite Cameron Diaz and re-united with Superman Returns co-star Frank Langella.

Personal life

Marsden has been married to Lisa Linde (Days of our Lives) since July 22, 2000. They have a son, Jack Holden (born February 1, 2001) and a daughter, Mary James (born August 10, 2005). Lisa is the daughter of the legendary country music songwriter Dennis Linde. The family recently relocated to Nashvillemarker.


Year Film Role Notes
1993 Ambush in Waco: In the Line of Duty Steven Willis TV film
1994 No Dessert, Dad, till You Mow the Lawn Tyler Cochran
1996 Public Enemies Doc Barker
Gone in a Hearbeat Michael Galler TV film
1997 On the Edge of Innocence Jake Walker TV film
Campfire Tales Eddie "The Hook"
Bella Mafia Luka TV film
1998 Disturbing Behavior Steve Clark
2000 Gossip Derrick Webb
X-Men Scott Summers / Cyclops Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor - Science Fiction

Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Team (shared with Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin)
2001 Sugar & Spice Jack Bartlett
Zoolander John Wilkes Booth
2002 Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road Neal Oliver
2003 X2 Scott Summers / Cyclops
2004 The 24th Day Dan
The Notebook Lon Hammond Jr.
Heights Jonathan Kestler
2006 The Alibi Wendell Hatch
10th & Wolf Tommy
X-Men: The Last Stand Scott Summers / Cyclops
Superman Returns Richard White Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
2007 Hairspray Corny Collins Hollywood Film Festival & Hollywood Award for Hollywood Ensemble Acting of the Year Award - Musical/Comedy (shared with the Hairspray cast)

13th Critics' Choice Award for Best Acting Ensemble (shared with the Hairspray cast)

Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (shared with the Hairspray cast)

Nominated — Palm Spring International Film Festival Ensemble Permance Award(shared with the Hairspray cast)
Enchanted Prince Edward Nominated — Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actor - Comedy
2008 27 Dresses Kevin Doyle Nominated — Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actor - Comedy
Sex Drive Rex
2009 The Box Arthur Lewis
Nailed Scott post-production
Conan: Red Nails Techtol Voice role, in production
2010 Death at a Funeral post-production
Straw Dogs David Sumner filming
Year Title Role Notes
1993 Saved by the Bell: The New Class Chad Westerfield "Homecoming King"
The Nanny Eddie Two episodes
1994 Boogies Diner Jason Main character
1995 Blossom Josh "The Date"
Party of Five Griffin Holbrook "Ides of March"
Touched by an Angel Jake "Angels on the Air"
1996-1997 Second Noah Ricky Beckett Twenty-two episodes, main character
1997 Extreme Ghostbusters Garret Miller Main character
1998 The Outer Limits Brav "Rite of Passage"
2002 Bram & Alice Arnold Cooper "Scribbling Rivalry"
2001-2002 Ally McBeal Glenn Foy Thirteen episodes, recurring characters


Year Title Album Notes
2007 "True Love's Kiss" Enchanted
"That's Amore"
"The Nicest Kids in Town" Hairspray Nominated — American Music Award for Favorite Soundtrack of 2007 (shared with the Hairspray cast)
"(It's) Hairspray"

Although James Marsden sang on Ally McBeal, he was not featured on any soundtrack released by the show.


  1. Ernio Hernandez, "'Hairspray' Movie Soundtrack Goes Gold", September 12, 2007.
  2. Weekend Box Office

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