James Todd Spader was born on February 7, 1960 in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of teachers Todd and Jean Spader. He attended Phillips Academy in Andover with director Peter Sellars; he dropped out in eleventh grade. He bused tables, shoveled manure, and taught yoga before landing his first roles. Spader's first major film role was as Brooke Shields' brother in the romance drama Endless Love (1981). Spader graduated from television movies to Brat Pack films, playing the scoundrel. In Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), he played a sexual voyeur who complicates the lives of three Baton Rouge residents. This performance earned him the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival and led to bigger and more varied roles. His best known role is the colorful attorney Alan Shore on the David E. Kelley television series "The Practice" (1997) and its spin-off "Boston Legal" (2004).