The Must List

James Spader

Actor who saved the flagging ''Practice'' -- James Spader -- The Must List 2004

AGE 44
MUSTWORTHINESS ''The Practice'' would have received the death sentence if it weren't for a last-minute stay of execution by Spader, whose portrayal of smug attorney Alan Shore allowed the eight-year-old drama to retire gracefully.
ON HIS MORALLY AMBIGUOUS ALTER EGO ''Anything you can qualify as Alan's best trait would be his worst under different circumstances. Something that might be amusing is at the same moment completely inappropriate or appalling.''
CAREER HIGH ''I was leaving the dentist and my father called and left a message. He was listening to some country & western station and heard that a film I was in ['sex, lies, and videotape'] won an award at Cannes. It was fun hearing that news from him.''
WORST JOB ''Working in a small record shop in New York. I thought I could get a small discount. Turns out the owner and his wife had rather virulent cocaine habits, so all the profits went to that. And they didn't have any records I wanted to buy.''
IF HE WEREN'T ACTING... ''Well, I hope I wouldn't be working at that record shop.''
ON HIS MUST LIST Bob Dylan and French Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai.
AND ALSO ''Liquids, food, and sex.''
NEXT A ''Practice'' spin-off, ''Fleet Street,'' costarring William Shatner.

Originally posted Jun 25, 2004 Published in issue #771-772 Jun 25, 2004 Order article reprints