Following his breakthrough in comic book films, Marsden went on to star in various genre films including 2007's Hairspray which was a critical and commercial success and won many awards for its ensemble cast. As Corny Collins, he sang two songs for the film's soundtrack which has been certified Platinum by the RIAA. He's had starring roles in family-friendly films such as Enchanted and Hop and leading man roles in 27 Dresses and The Best of Me.
Marsden was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma, the son of Kathleen (née Scholtz) and James Luther Marsden. His father, head of food safety at Chipotle Mexican Grill and formerly a professor of animal sciences and industry at Kansas State University, and his mother, a nutritionist, divorced when he was nine years old.
He has four siblings: two younger sisters, Jennifer and Elizabeth, and two brothers, Jeff and Robert. He attended Hefner Middle School and 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. Marsden left after one and a half years, opting instead to move to Los Angeles in order to pursue his acting career.
Marsden got his first job in a series of episodes of The Nanny as Eddie, Margaret Sheffield's boyfriend. Then he 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: The New Class 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 and turned down the lead role in 54, which later went to Ryan Phillippe. He then went on to star in Disturbing Behavior opposite Katie Holmes and Gossip opposite Kate Hudson. He also appeared in the television series Ally McBeal, as one of the main cast members during the first half of season 5, where he also showcased his singing abilities. He also starred in a 1998 episode of "The Outer Limits".
Marsden was cast as Cyclops in the X-Men films. His character is prominent in the comics; his screen time in the films, however, is increasingly reduced, particularly in the sequels. Notably, Marsden also appeared in Bryan Singer's Superman Returns. Singer dropped out of the third installment to direct Superman and Marsden was cast as Lois Lane's fiancé, Richard White, but due to schedule conflicts, Marsden's screen time in X-Men: The Last Stand was reduced, stirring controversy from fans of the comics. Marsden's portrayal of Cyclops in the films was well received and garnered him a Blockbuster Award for Best Supporting Actor.
In 2014 Marsden reprised his role of Cyclops in a brief cameo for X-Men: Days of Future Past, as did a few of the original actors from the first film including Anna Paquin and Famke Janssen.
In 2004, Marsden co-starred with Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, James Garner, and Gena Rowlands in the romantic drama The Notebook based on the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name as Lon Hammond, Jr., the second man Allie Hamilton (McAdams) falls in love with. He was apparently cast for his close resemblance to Garner, who played the older Noah Calhoun, while Gosling portraying the younger Noah Calhoun looked nothing like Garner. In 2007, Marsden played Corny Collins in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Hairspray, based on the 1988 John Waters film of the same name. In which he sang two songs, "The Nicest Kids In Town" and "(It's) Hairspray." Both "Hairspray" and its soundtrack were critically acclaimed, the latter of which has since sold over 1,200,000 copies to date in the United States and was certified Platinum by the RIAA. His next role was with Amy Adams in the Disney hybrid animated/live action film Enchanted, playing Prince Edward. He sang one song as a duet with Adams at the beginning of the film and a duet with Idina Menzel that was cut from the film. Enchanted was well received critically and proved to be a commercial success, earning more than $340 million worldwide at The Box office.
Following his successes in 2007's Hairspray and Enchanted, Marsden played the male lead in the 2008 romantic comedy 27 Dresses opposite star Katherine Heigl, which grossed $160 million worldwide. He also starred in the teen comedy Sex Drive. Though the film was a moderate success, Marsden's performance was heavily praised. Marsden also received a Teen Choice Awards nomination for Choice Movie Actor in a Comedy for his roles in Enchanted and 27 Dresses.
In 2009, Marsden also played the male lead in the film The Box, based on the 1970 short story "Button, Button" by author Richard Matheson, which was earlier made into an episode of The Twilight Zone. He starred opposite Cameron Diaz and reunited with Superman Returns co-star Frank Langella. In 2010, Marsden was cast in the comedy Death at a Funeral along with Chris Rock, Luke Wilson, Danny Glover, and Columbus Short, which was a remake of the 2007 British film of the same name.
Marsden made an appearance on ABC's Modern Family in January 2011, playing a homeless squatter of Cam and Mitchell. In April, Marsden appeared as the male (live-action) lead in Hop, an Easter-themed comedy co-starring Russell Brand as the Easter Bunny. Although the film was considered a commercial success, opening at the top of the weekend box office and grossing over $100 million in the U.S. box office, Hop generally received negative reviews. Later in 2011, Marsden played the lead in the remake of Straw Dogs, reuniting with Superman Returns co-star Kate Bosworth. A marked departure from previous roles, the film received mixed reviews and ultimately ended up being a box office flop.
In 2012 and 2013, Marsden appeared in a recurring role in the sixth and seventh seasons of 30 Rock, playing Criss Chros, the boyfriend (and later husband) of the series' main character, Liz Lemon. Simultaneously, his range of films were independent films which included Robot & Frank, Small Apartments, Bachelorette, and As Cool as I Am. In 2013, he co-starred with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg in the action film 2 Guns, which debuted at number one in its weekend release. Soon after, he starred in Lee Daniels' historical drama The Butler as President John F. Kennedy. The film, featuring an ensemble, opened at the top spot and received positive reviews. Marsden played Jack Lime in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, a rival reporter to Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy. The following year, he reprised his role as Scott Summers for the first time in eight years in X-Men: Days of Future Past in a cameo. He would also star in his second Nicholas Sparks film titled The Best of Me, replacing Paul Walker in the lead role. Marsden has recently played the character of Teddy Flood in HBO's 2016 series Westworld.
Marsden married actress Mary Elizabeth "Lisa" Linde, daughter of country music songwriter Dennis Linde, on July 22, 2000. The couple had two children: son Jack Holden who was born on February 1, 2001, and daughter Mary James who was born on August 10, 2005. Linde filed for divorce on September 23, 2011.
Marsden also has a son, William Luca Costa-Marsden, born on December 14, 2012, with former girlfriend Rose Costa.
Marsden has been on and off dating Edei (aka Emma Deigman), a British singer, since 2016.
Savannah Film Festival
Billboard Year End Charts
American Music Awards
Screen Actors Guild Awards
Marsden performed the song "Glow", written by Kevin Houlihan on the soundtrack of the movie Gossip in 2000.
Notes:Even though Marsden sang on Ally McBeal, he was not featured on any soundtrack released by the TV show.