Paul Sparks

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Paul Sparks
Paul W. Sparks

(1971-10-16) October 16, 1971 (age 47)
ResidenceManhattan, New York
Alma materNew York University
Years active1998–present
Spouse(s)Annie Parisse

Paul W. Sparks (born October 16, 1971) is an American actor. He is known for his roles as gangster Mickey Doyle in the HBO period drama series Boardwalk Empire, writer Thomas Yates in the Netflix political drama series House of Cards, and attorney David Tellis in the Starz anthology drama series The Girlfriend Experience. Sparks has also starred in the films Deception (2008), Afterschool (2008), The Missing Person (2008), Mud (2012), Parkland (2013), Stealing Cars (2015), Thoroughbreds (2017), and The Greatest Showman (2017) .

Early life and career[edit]

Sparks was born and raised in Lawton, Oklahoma, to Michael "Mike" Sparks, a high school football coach, and Jane (née Ellis), an elementary school teacher.[1] He attended Marlow High School, where his father coached, graduating in 1990. While attending school in Marlow, Paul was a part of the Marlow Outlaw Speech Team (M.O.S.T.) where he was coached by Paula and Gary McConnell.[2] Sparks earned a scholarship to Oklahoma State University to study chemistry, but later transferred to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.[2][3] He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drama in 1995.[4]

In 2010, Sparks began portraying the regular role of Mickey Doyle on HBO's drama series Boardwalk Empire, which was created by Terence Winter and executive produced by Martin Scorsese and Mark Wahlberg.[5] The series ended in 2014, after completing five seasons.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Sparks is married to actress Annie Parisse, after meeting in 2005.[7] Together they have two children, son Emmett (born 2009),[2] and daughter Lydia (born 2014).[8] Sparks has diabetes mellitus type 1 and works with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.[9] He is good friends with fellow actor Michael Shannon; the two have worked together on a number of projects including The Missing Person, Mud, Boardwalk Empire, and Midnight Special.[10]



Year Title Role Notes
2005 Headspace Jason
2006 The Treatment Andre
2007 Blackbird Baylis
2008 Synecdoche, New York Derek
2008 Rachel Getting Married 12 Step Member
2008 Deception Detective Burke
2008 Afterschool Detective Eclisse
2008 The Missing Person Gus Papitos
2008 The Understudy Bobby
2010 Please Give Blind Date
2010 Edge of Darkness Police Detective
2011 Return Ed
2012 Forgetting the Girl Tanner
2012 Mud Carver
2012 Sparrows Dance Wes
2013 Trust Me Ray
2013 Parkland Harry McCormick
2015 Stealing Cars Conrad Sean Lewis
2016 Midnight Special Agent Miller
2016 All the Birds Have Flown South Stephen
2016 In the Radiant City Michael Yurley
2017 Thoroughbreds Mark
2017 The Greatest Showman James Gordon Bennett Sr.
2019 Ford v. Ferrari Filming
TBA Human Capital Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1998 Trinity Rod Episode: "In a Yellow Wood"
2000 Law & Order Paul Luterik Episode: "Panic"
2001 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Marvin Posey Episode: "Manhunt"
2005 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Keith Durbin Episode: "Shibboleth"
2006 Brotherhood Aaron 3 episodes
2010–2014 Boardwalk Empire Mickey Doyle 36 episodes
2011 Mildred Pierce Ted Hobey Episode: "Part Five"
2012–2013 Underemployed Guy Doyle 3 episodes
2013 M.Y.C. Mickey Mothstein Television short
2013 Person of Interest Wilson Episode: "Relevance"
2014 Believe Karl McKenzie Episode: "Bang and Blame"
2015–2017 House of Cards Thomas Yates 27 episodes
2016 The Girlfriend Experience David Tellis 12 episodes
2016 The Night Of Don Taylor 6 episodes
2017 Get Shorty Owen Episode: "The Pitch"
2017 The Crown Billy Graham Episode: "Vergangenheit"
2018 Waco Steve Schneider 6 episodes
2018–present Sweetbitter Howard Main role


Year Title Role Location/Company
2000 Coyote on a Fence Bobby Reyburn Urban Stages
2003–2004 Take Me Out Jason Chenier Walter Kerr Theatre
Shane Mungitt
Kippy Sunderstrom
2004 Blackbird Baylis Edge Theater Company
2005 Orange Flower Water Brad Youngquist
2006 Landscape of the Body Marvin Holahan Signature Theatre Company
2007 Essential Self-Defense Yul Carroll Edge Theater Company
2009 Hedda Gabler Ejlert Lovborg American Airlines Theatre
2010 Dusk Rings a Bell Ray Atlantic Theater Company
2016 Buried Child Tilden The New Group
2018 Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo Jerry Signature Theatre

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result
2000 Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Actor in a Play Coyote on a Fence Nominated
2004 Blackbird Nominated
2005 Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Orange Flower Water Nominated
2007 Outstanding Actor in a Play Essential Self-Defense Nominated
2010 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Boardwalk Empire Won
2011 Won
Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Actor in a Play Dusk Rings a Bell Nominated
2012 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Boardwalk Empire Nominated
2013 Nominated
Film Independent Spirit Awards Robert Altman Award Mud Won
2014 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Boardwalk Empire Nominated
2016 Lucille Lortel Awards Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Buried Child Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series House of Cards Nominated
2018 Lucille Lortel Awards Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo Nominated
Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Actor in a Play Nominated
Drama League Awards Distinguished Performance Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Nominated


  1. ^ Rooney, David (July 15, 2010). "Embracing a Tragic Masculinity". The New York Times. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Hayer, Melissa. ""Boardwalk to Success": Oklahoma native Paul Sparks turns advice, acting experiences into successful career". The Oklahoman. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  3. ^ "Boardwalk Empire Cast & Crew: Paul Sparks".
  4. ^ Lardaro, Mariangela (January 31, 2011). "Tisch Alumni Rack Up Accolades". New York University. Tisch School of the Arts. Archived from the original on May 2, 2016.
  5. ^ Hetrick, Adam (February 11, 2009). "Hedda Gabler's Sparks Signed for HBO Pilot "Boardwalk Empire"". Playbill. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  6. ^ "Q&A with Paul Sparks". October 25, 2012. Archived from the original on October 27, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  7. ^ Simon, Lizzie (April 2, 2012). "The Theater Of Discomfort". The Wall Street Journal.
  8. ^ Scott, Marcus (March 28, 2016). "American Horror Story Star Transitions to the Stage With the Help of Her Buried Child Cast". Playbill.
  9. ^ "On the Rise: Paul Sparks On His Career, Role In Clark Gregg's 'Trust Me' & More!". Icon vs Icon. August 29, 2014.
  10. ^ "Film: Michael Shannon – Interviewed by Paul Sparks". The Lab Magazine. March 29, 2011.

External links[edit]