Kevin Spacey is a cool cat, folks. If you weren’t already aware of that fact, we have a short list of 10 “you probably didn’t know” facts that should help lead you to the foundation of coolness. Do you know how Kevin got involved in acting? Do you know that Kevin was rubbing shoulders with other A-listers before he even got out of high school? How about some hobbies, and other aspirations? The answers to these questions are here, and they may just unlock the secrets to the universe.

10. Spacey Was Just Cooler

Contrary to rumored, and popular belief, Kevin Spacey did not opt for “Spacey” as a stage name because he was a big fan of Spencer Tracey…Sp-Acey. He opted for Spacey, because that is his middle name–given to him, because it was his mother’s maiden name. Spacey was born Kevin Spacey Fowler, but in all likelihood there was already a Kevin Fowler registered with SAG and AEA (Actors’ Equity Association). When you share the same name as someone else in the union, you gotta make some kind of change. First qualified, first choice. Then again, Spacey is probably a little cooler than Fowler. There aren’t many well known actors with the last name Fowler or Spacey, and it’s hard to argue with Kevin’s success, opting for Spacey. He has served as the epitome of Hollywood cool for nearly 30 years at this point.

9. Working In Working Girl

Working Girl is one of the more underrated comedy films of the 1980s. The flick, starring Melanie Griffith at her best, featured a host of impressive leading men, who had yet to really crack the Hollywood code. Harrison Ford and Alec Baldwin were the two big name draws for the box office, but other (now) household names were, at the time, “character actors.” Or in the case of one fella, an extra at a birthday party. The 1988 film featured Kevin Spacey as a sleazy salesman named Bob. Of course he was Bob. This was years before Spacey hit it big and opened eyes in The Usual Suspects or Se7en, and even before his early work on stage in some impressive performances. Because the trivia is worthwhile, and might win you a few bucks or surprises at some point, it’s worth mentioning: Oliver Platt and David Duchovny (extra) were also in Working Girl.

8. Sherlock Holmes Was The Trigger

Everybody who does anything has a reason why. Well, maybe not everyone, but most people. The vast majority, anyway. Kevin Spacey is no different. His love and pursuit of acting began because of his love and enjoyment of Sherlock Holmes. When you discover that you’re a great story teller in the land of make believe, it takes some serious brass to pursue it as a career option. Rejection becomes a hobby, and starvation a pastime, but for those lucky few. It’s pretty obvious that Kevin Spacey was heavily influenced by the tonality of shows, and stories like Sherlock Holmes. He has an inherent, academic vibe that seems like he is always auditioning to play Sherlock in some incarnation of the iconic detective. Regardless of never having had the opportunity to play Holmes, Kevin has done alright for himself in the roles he’s won and chosen.

7. A Bit of a Dark Side

Kevin Spacey enjoyed several roles before he became a household name and a two-time Oscar winner. However, there were two roles in two very dark films that launched him to super-stardom. Those two films: The Usual Suspects and Se7en. These films both still hold up wonderfully, are contemporary classics, and are creepy as hell. Kevin Spacey is great at playing dark and disturbing, and it seems that he’s able to draw from some real life experience. Though he comes across as the nicest guy in the world during interviews, Kevin Spacey still has that vibe that would make anyone wary of him on a bad day. Digging deeper, Kevin was once sent to military school by his parents after he set his sister’s tree house on fire. Once in military school, he enjoyed a great career in academia, until he was kicked out of the academy for fighting.

6. He’s a Stand Up Guy

Though dark and incredibly mysterious (and not one to offer much to paparazzi or the tabloids), Kevin Spacey is a good guy. He’s such a stand up guy, he once wanted to be a stand up. Believe it or not, coming out of high school, Kevin Spacey wanted to pursue life as a stand up comedian. To this day, he remains a master impersonator, and it’s rare if he makes a talk show appearance, and doesn’t bust out a few impressions. Stated, his stand up comedy career was about as rough as one would imagine. If there’s anything more difficult than pursuing a career in music or acting, it’s pursuing a career in comedy. It’s a brutal profession. Kevin worked all his angles, competed in competitions, and auditioned for various outlets, including The Gong Show. Kevin continued this pursuit during his two years at Julliard in New York City.

5. He Really Does Pay It Forward

Kevin starred alongside Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment in the 2000 drama Pay It Forward. The phrase was somewhat well-known before the film, but after the film was released–to moderate box office success–the phrase “pay it forward” became a thing. When it comes to Kevin Spacey, and his mysterious private life, there is one thing he’s allowed the public to know about him. He’s all about offering opportunity, and fostering the development of young actors and filmmakers. In the early 21st Century, Kevin championed competitions for budding filmmakers through his production company, TriggerStreet Productions, and he offers a variety of opportunities through the Kevin Spacey Foundation. Yep, seriously, Kevin Spacey has a .org. The foundation offers grants and scholarships to promising young students, and ultimately, Kevin is very hands-on with the foundation, and bringing its mission to fruition: “Send the elevator back down.”

4. Tight With Iceman

Kevin Spacey has been very open about his ties to certain individuals in the industry who helped him get a leg up, or helped him get a foot in the door. One of those individuals, Jack Lemmon, was a big help to Kevin early in his career. So much so, that Kevin dedicated his Oscar to Jack, after winning for Best Actor in 1999-2000 for American Beauty. Before Kevin came to know stage and screen legends, he was also encouraged by a fellow Chatsworth High School alumni to pursue a life in acting and entertainment. That classmate? None other than the Val Kilmer. Consequently, Kevin and Val were also classmates with Mare Winningham. Kevin did take Val’s advice, auditioned for, and was accepted to the prestigious Julliard School in New York City, planning to pursue a four year degree in acting. He left after two years to cut his own path.

3. Fitness Is Important

Let’s rewind to 1999 when a little art film entitled American Beauty took the world by storm, shocked viewers, reminded everyone how talented Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening are, launched the film directorial career of Sam Mendes, scored appropriate amounts of work for Chris Cooper and Allison Janney, and reminded us all that Oscar loves beautiful weird s**t from time-to-time. So, you remember that one, right? How Kevin Spacey’s character, Lester Burnham, is revolutionizing the way he lives, and adds a pretty fierce fitness regimen to his daily? In addition to smoking fatties? This wasn’t a stretch for Kevin Spacey. He loves to do Yoga, and he’s an avid runner. We’re guessing he did a lot of running while he was going to military school, but remains an athletic vice of choice. He’ll never compete for roles with The Rock, but Kevin ain’t no couch potato.

2. Inspired By Al Bundy (Maybe)

As mentioned, Kevin Spacey left Julliard after two years of his degree pursuit. A lot of this had to do with the fact that Julliard costs about as much as buying a really nice new car annually, and Kevin was having to work his way through school. When he bolted from the school to pursue stand up comedy, and acting roles on his own, he took a job in New York City selling shoes to help make ends meet. Every time you hear about an actor taking a job outside of waiting tables to fund their audition habit, it’s impressive. Kevin continued to pay his dues, audition for plays, films and other artistic endeavors, and by the mid-1980s, he had enjoyed some serious progress in his pursuit. By the late 1980s/early 1990s, Kevin was enjoying the spoils of an acting career. Not bad for a shoe salesman.

1. WWE? Yes, Please!

Like so many of his celebrity peers, Kevin Spacey is a big fan of professional wrestling. How much he watches on the regular, we can’t say. We certainly don’t wish to be prejudicial, but we’d imagine Kevin has plenty of time to watch a lot of WWE action, being a single fella with no children. Considering Kevin’s age, and activity level, he was probably a fan of WWE back when it was WWF, and the Federation was making its rise to become a ratings giant in the early and mid-1980s. Using the old imagination, who do we think would be Kevin’s favorite wrestler…? Such a loaded question. You have to lean toward a villainous personality, and someone who has achieved the title of living legend. A few options: the late Roddy Piper? How about Jake “The Snake” Roberts? Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase?