Rebecca Tyrrel: 'The life of the un-famous sibling is never easy'

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Who knew that Kevin Spacey has an older brother called Randy Fowler who earns his living as a Rod Stewart impersonator? While Kevin bestrides stage and screen like a colossus, Randy offers his services to the good people of Boise, Idaho, as the proprietor of Rod's Limos, ferrying prom kids in a white stretched limousine while dressed in a zoot suit.

It's not clear whether the brothers are on speaking terms, but Kevin is famously reticent about his personal life. Although he did once open right up, when his phone was stolen in a London park shortly before dawn one night in 2004. The reason he was there in the first place, he said, was to allow his dog to answer a call of nature. Randy, meanwhile, has opened up quite a bit, and once claimed that his father was abusive.

But then the life of the un-famous sibling is never easy and few show the dignity of Sir John Major's late brother Terry Major-Ball, the gnome manufacturer, or the druggy Roger Clinton, brother to Kevin's close friend Bill.

"I've never tried to ride on my brother's coat-tails," explains Randy, who at one time owned the website spaceysbrother.com, and penned the unpublished memoir, Spacey's Brother: Out of the Closet.

If Randy needs to talk about Kevin, the double Oscar winner and champion of the London theatre scene has no desire to talk about Randy. Spacey insists that the less people know of his personal life, the easier it is for them to believe in the characters he plays. He may well have a point.

As he gives us his entirely brilliant Richard III at the Old Vic, for instance, the knowledge that the king shares his gene pool with a man who fills his limo with satin pillows, might confuse audience members.

They might wonder why on earth he was asking repeatedly for a horse, a horse, his kingdom for a horse. Surely all he need do is dial 208-866-6746 and book a lift out of Bosworth Field from a spikey-haired blood relative in a spandex suit asking him in song whether he regards him as sexy?

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