Celebrity Parade With Jeanne Wolf

Kevin Spacey isn't exactly a role model in "21." He's a professor leading his students in a scheme to win big at Las Vegas blackjack. Kevin told Parade, "It actually happened, but the card counting system they used wasn't illegal." Kevin loves black jack, but he's never walked away a big winner. He says, "I've had some incredible streaks. But I've also had some depressing losses."

Spacey cheerfully admits that he was faking his expertise at blackjack in the film. "I flunked math in my last semester in high school," he says. "The idea that I can count cards is ludicrous. So if I look convincing, just chalk it up to acting."

In fact, the Academy Award nominated actor is doing more than just acting. He's still hard at work as artistic director of London's Old Vic Theatre Company as well as heading up his own production company Trigger Street Independent. Spacey reveals that in spite of his success he's got his personal life on track which wasn't always the case. "When I was younger, I wasn't always the best friend that you can be," he says. "I went through a period of trying to get noticed in an increasingly competitive world and that becoming your sort of sole focus. And sometimes what can suffer from that is friendships and relationships. And I'm glad that I learned that there was more to life."

"Then I was able to work with someone like Jack Lemmon," he adds, "Whose response to his own fame was of a gentlemanly order that you don't see that often. So I think all of those kinds of influences helped me."

Don't expect Spacey to take shots at young stars like Britney Spears who just can't seem to deal with celebrity. He thinks it's a tough lesson to learn. "They don't have classes in how to understand becoming a well-known person," he says. "You go to class to learn how to do your work as an actor or performer, but nobody is there to try to teach you about what it will suddenly be like to be doing interviews and having people judging your life. And there's a lot of parts of it that are outside of your life entirely, but nonetheless they do leave an impression. And sometimes they're accurate and sometimes they're not. I've been very blessed to be able to do the work that I've been able to do, and for the most part, been treated with tremendous respect."

And when asked if he's ever been star struck, Kevin admits there was a moment. "I once blathered on to Jimmy Stewart when I met him," he remembers. "I must have foamed at the mouth. I was like, 'You're the greatest actor that ever lived in the entire world. I love everything you've ever done. I know you're tired of hearing this and I'm really sorry.' and Mr. Stewart replied, 'No, I'm not tired of hearing that. Say it again.'"

For more on famous faces go to Parade.com.

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