James Paul Marsden (born September 18, 1973) is a Saturn Award-nominated American actor and former Versace model, perhaps best known for his roles in Hairspray, Enchanted, 27 Dresses, and the three X-Men films.
James Paul Marsden was born on September 18, 1973, in Stillwater, Oklahoma. His father, a professor of animal studies and industry at Kansas State University, and his mother, a nutritionist, divorced when he was nine years old. Marsden has four siblings, two younger sisters, Jennifer Marsden, 28 and Elizabeth Marsden, 16 and two brothers, Jeff Marsden and Robert Marsden, 32. He attended Putnam City North High School, in Oklahoma City and later went on to attend Oklahoma State University 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 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 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 (1996) and turned down the lead role in 54 (1998), which later went to Ryan Phillippe. He then went on to star in Disturbing Behavior starring opposite Katie Holmes and Gossip opposite Kate Hudson.