James Wesley Marsters (born August 20, 1962) is an American actor and musician. Marsters first came to the attention of the general public playing the popular character Spike, a platinum-blond English vampire in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off series, Angel from 1997 to 2004. Since then, he has gone on to play other science fiction roles, such as the alien supervillain Brainiac on the Superman-inspired series Smallville, the omnisexual time traveller Captain John Hart in British science-fiction show Torchwood and terrorist Barnabas Greeley in Syfy's Caprica. In 2007, Marsters appeared in a supporting role in the mainstream movie P.S. I Love You and as the main antagonist, Piccolo, in the 2009 fantasy adventure film Dragonball Evolution.
Marsters was born in Greenville, California, the son of a former minister and social worker. He grew up with his brother, Paul, and sister, Susan, in Modesto, California. Dreaming about becoming an actor since he played Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh in fourth grade, Marsters joined the theater group at Grace M. Davis High School acting in many plays including musicals. After graduation, Marsters studied at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, 1980–1982, and Juilliard School, 1982–1984.
Marsters moved to Chicago, where his first professional acting role was Ferdinand in The Tempest at the Goodman Theatre in 1987. In this production, he was rolled onto the stage strapped naked to a wheel. He also appeared with well-known Chicago companies such as the Northlight and the Bailiwick and with his own group, the Genesis Theatre Company. Marsters was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for his performance of the lead role of Robespierre in the six-hour drama Incorruptible: The Life, Death and Dreams of Maximilian de Robespierre in 1989.