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The Office executive producer Ricky Gervais confirmed Wednesday that James Spader’s Robert California will officially join the NBC sitcom as CEO of Dunder Mifflin parent company Sabre, replacing Kathy Bates, who stars in her own series on the network, Harry’s Law. Here are a few things to know about Spader, who will make his debut as series regular when the show returns for Season 8 on Sept. 22.
1. Spader won three Emmys as cutthroat lawyer Alan Shore on ABC’s The Practice and spinoff Boston Legal, opposite William Shatner, making him the first person to win Emmys for playing the same character on different series.
2. He has more than 50 TV and film credits, including roles in Mannequin, Pretty in Pink, sex, lies and videotape; Crash; and Secretary.
3. He’s also appeared on Broadway, starring in David Mamet’s Race alongside David Alan Grier and Kerry Washington. It opened on Dec. 6, 2009 and closed on August 21, 2010 after 297 performances.
4. On The Office, Spader’s character will have rapidly moved through the ranks – and will even technically replace Michael Scott (Steve Carell) for one day. “James will reprise his role as Robert California, this uber-salesman that has a power to convince and manipulate, like a high-class weirdo Jedi warrior,” says Paul Lieberstein, an executive producer and series regular. “He’ll have been hired over the summer as the new manager, but within hours, got himself promoted. Within days, he took over the company. James has an energy that is completely his own, and ‘The Office’ has no tools for dealing with this guy. We’re thrilled he’s joining our cast.”
5. He was born in Boston to parents who were both teachers. He dropped out of school in the eleventh grade to move to New York City to pursue acting and attend the Michael Chekov school. To support himself, he held a variety of odd jobs, including instructing yoga, truck driver, stable boy, railroad-car loader and busboy.
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