Isiah Whitlock Jr.

American actor

Encyclopedia from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Isiah Whitlock Jr.
Born (1954-09-13) September 13, 1954 (age 68)
EducationSouthwest Minnesota State University (BA)
American Conservatory Theater (MFA)
Years active1981–present

Isiah Whitlock Jr. (born September 13, 1954) is an American actor. He is best known for his role as corrupt state senator Clay Davis on the HBO television series The Wire as well as being a frequent collaborator of Spike Lee.

He has also appeared in films including Goodfellas, Pieces of April, 1408, Enchanted, Cedar Rapids, Pete’s Dragon, Cars 3, The Old Man and the Gun, All Square, I Care a Lot, and Lightyear and television series including The Good Cop, Veep, Chappelle's Show, Your Honor, and several roles across installments of the Law & Order franchise.

Early life

Whitlock was born in South Bend, Indiana. He attended college at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota, where he enrolled through a football scholarship and studied theater. Injuries led him to stop playing football and focus on acting.[1] After graduating in 1976, he moved to San Francisco and joined the American Conservatory Theater.[2]


Whitlock is best known for his role on the HBO television series The Wire as corrupt state senator Clay Davis. He has also appeared in the Spike Lee films She Hate Me, 25th Hour, Red Hook Summer, Chi-Raq, BlacKkKlansman and Da 5 Bloods. In those projects, Whitlock established a catchphrase from his character's distinct pronunciation of the word "shit" ("sheeeeeeeee-it").[3] Whitlock also made appearances on Chappelle's Show and has made several appearances as various characters on Law & Order. He appeared as Eugene, a supporting role, in the 2003 film Pieces of April. He had a bit part in Goodfellas as a doctor who gives Henry Hill Valium while attending to his brother. He also made an appearance in the film 1408, as the engineer of the Dolphin Hotel, as well as appearing in promotional spots for the Wii video game Punch-Out!! portraying the character Doc Louis. In 2007, he played Ethan Banks in Enchanted.

Whitlock played an insurance agent named Ronald Wilkes in the 2011 film Cedar Rapids. Wilkes is a self-described fan of The Wire and does an impersonation of character Omar Little. Whitlock has said that the references to the series were written in before he became involved in Cedar Rapids.[4] Whitlock filmed a separate promotion for the film, where Wilkes is seen in an insurance office reading lines from The Wire.[5] He recurred on the HBO comedy series Veep as General George Maddox. Whitlock has also made appearances on The Good Wife, Louie, Gotham, The Carmichael Show, and Elementary. He recently appeared as the sheriff in the 2016 remake of the 1977 film of Pete's Dragon.

SMSU now offers the Isiah Whitlock Jr. Endowed Scholarship.[1] He was SMSU's commencement speaker in 1999 and guest artist for the school's celebration of Black History Month in 2007.[2]

Capitalizing on his catch phrase "Sheeeeeeeee-it" and his public notoriety, Whitlock launched a successful Kickstarter Talking Bobblehead campaign.[6] The campaign has raised over $100,000 from 1,828 backers.



Year Title Role Notes
1990 Gremlins 2: The New Batch Fireman
1990 Goodfellas Doctor
1996 Eddie Rick
1996 Everyone Says I Love You Cop
1997 The Spanish Prisoner Trooper
1999 A Fish in the Bathtub Rudy
1999 Harlem Aria Manny
2001 Jump Tomorrow George's Uncle
2002 Driving Fish Mason Short
2002 25th Hour Agent Flood
2003 Pieces of April Eugene
2003 Bought & Sold Mr. Stubbs
2004 She Hate Me Agent Amos Flood
2005 Honey Trap The Detective Short
2005 Duane Hopwood William
2005 Stealing Martin Lane Harold "Chopper" Jones
2006 Kettle of Fish Freddie
2006 Beautiful Ohio Mr. Lebreaux
2007 A Nick in Time Old Bob Delagard Short
2007 1408 Hotel Engineer
2007 The Man in My House T.J. Short
2007 Enchanted Ethan Banks
2008 Choke Detective Palmer
2008 Cadillac Records Mississippi DJ
2008 The Thing We Know Keith Short
2009 Brooklyn's Finest Investigator #3
2009 I Hate Valentine's Day Drummer
2009 Under New Management Rev. A.L. Blunton
2009 Speed Grieving Dr. Holder Short
2010 Twelve Detective Dummont
2010 Main Street Mayor
2011 Gun Hill Road Officer Thompson
2011 Cedar Rapids Ronald Wilkes
2011 Detachment Mr. Mathias
2012 Red Hook Summer Detective Flood
2012 Why Stop Now? Black
2012 Thanks for Sharing Charles
2012 Not Fade Away Landers
2013 Newlyweeds Philly
2013 Europa Report Dr. Tarik Pamuk
2013 Home Samuel
2013 Jerome's Bouquet Jack Short
2014 The Angriest Man in Brooklyn Yates
2014 23 Blast Dr. Connelly
2015 Chi-Raq Bacchos
2016 Pete's Dragon Sheriff Gene Dentler
2017 Person to Person Buster
2017 CHiPs Peterson
2017 Cars 3 River Scott Voice role
2017 Sloan Hearts Neckface Lester Short film
2018 BlacKkKlansman Mr. Turrentine
2018 All Square Scotty
2018 The Old Man & the Gun Detective Gene Dentler
2019 Corporate Animals Derek
2019 Lost Holiday Matthews
2019 Lying and Stealing Lyman Wilkers
2019 Run with the Hunted Lester
2019 Seneca Michael
2020 The Lost Husband Russ McAllen
2020 Da 5 Bloods Melvin
2020 I Care a Lot Judge Lomax
2022 Lightyear Commander Burnside Voice role
2023 Cocaine Bear Bob Completed


Year Title Role Notes
1981 A Christmas Carol Second Charitable Gentleman/Party Guest Television movie
1987 Cagney & Lacey Man Getting a Cab Episode: "The City is Burning"
1989 Ocean The Moose Miniseries; 6 episodes
1993 Queen Preacher Miniseries; 1 episode
1995 Law & Order Anthony White Episode: "Guardian"
1996 Law & Order Simon Brooks Episode: "Trophy"
1996 Law & Order Fred Oates Episode: "Slave"
1996 New York Undercover Chief Hardin Episode: "Bad Blood"
1997 Liberty! The American Revolution Luke (Slave) Miniseries; 6 episodes
1999 Third Watch Reggie Simmons Episode: "Impulse"
2000 Law & Order Fred Oakes Episode: "Loco Parentis"
2000 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Robbery Division Captain Episode: "Limitations"
2000 Law & Order Capt. Navarro Episode: "Standoff"
2000 Wonderland Reviewer Episode: "20/20 Hundsight"; uncredited
2000 Madigan Men Airport Guard Episode: "Pilot"
2001 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Detective 2 episodes
2001 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Todd Smythe Episode: "Paranoia"
2001 WW 3 Unknown Television movie
2001 Ed Tim Unger 2 episodes
2002 NYPD Blue Anton Emery Episode: "Death by Cycle"
2002–2008 The Wire State Sen. R. Clayton "Clay" Davis Main; 22 episodes
2003 Chappelle's Show Harold Episode #1.8
2004 Law & Order Gordon Samuels Episode: "Gunplay"
2004 The Jury Abbott Truman Episode: "Memories"
2005 Slavery and the Making of America Minister/Petitioner Episode: "Liberty in the Air"
2005 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit NTCC Representative Episode: "Parts"
2006 Chappelle's Show Store Manager Episode #3.2; uncredited
2008 New Amsterdam Joe Williams Episode: "Reclassified"
2008 Human Giant Casting Director Episode: "She Be a Witch"
2009 The Unusuals Captain Leslie Morgan Episode: "The Tape Delay"
2010 Meet the Browns Sidney Graves Episode: "Meet the Other Man"
2010 Rubicon Mr. Roy Recurring; 6 episodes
2011 Onion SportsDome Wally Wright 2 episodes
2011 Onion SportsDome Isiah Whitlock Jr. Episode #1.10
2011 Chaos Warren Episode: "Defending Sophia"
2011 Law & Order: Criminal Intent CSU Detective Episode: "To the Boy in the Blue Knit Cap"
2011 The Good Wife Ira Protopapas Episode: "Get a Room"
2012 Smash Ronal Strickland 2 episodes
2012–2015 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Captain Reece 3 episodes
2013 Louie Alphonse 2 episodes
2013 Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Trent 2 episodes
2013 Lucky 7 Bob Harris Main cast; 6 episodes
2013–2015 Veep George Maddox Recurring; 7 episodes
2014 Lucas Bros. Moving Co. Mr. Dream (voice) Episode: "Before & After Models"
2014 The Blacklist Danny Moss Episode: "Milton Bobbit (No. 135)"
2014 The Divide Rev. Cheeks Episode: "The Way Men Divide"
2015 Gotham Gerry Lang Episode: "Rogues' Gallery"
2015 The Carmichael Show Reverend Carlson Episode: "Prayer"
2015 Limitless Lawrence Drake Episode: "Headquarters!"
2016 Charity Case Ronald Television movie
2016 Lucifer Carmen Episode: "Wingman"
2016, 2022 Atlanta Raleigh Marks Episodes: "The Big Bang", "Light Skinned-ed"
2016 Jay & Pluto Therapist Unknown episodes
2017 Elementary Jack Brunelle Episode: "Over a Barrel"
2017 Son of Zorn Robert Episode: "The Quest for Craig"
2017 Survivor's Remorse Samuel 4 episodes
2017 The Mist Gus Redman/Gus Bradley Recurring; 8 episodes
2017 Thin Ice Bill Television movie
2017 She's Gotta Have It Dog #10 Episode: "#DaJumpoff (DOCTRINE)"
2017 Kevin Can Wait Jerry Episode: "Kevin Moves Metal"
2018 BoJack Horseman C.E.O. (voice) Episode: "Head in the Clouds"
2018 The Good Cop Burl Loomis 10 episodes
2018 Madam Secretary Hervé Dupont Episode: "The Courage to Continue"
2019 FBI Richard Talmage Episode: "Partners in Crime"
2020 Apple & Onion Mayor Naise (voice) Episode: "Election Day"
2020–present Your Honor Charlie Figaro 11 episodes
2021 History of Swear Words Himself 2 episodes
2022 The Kings of Napa Reginald King Episode: "Pilot"
2022 Woke Mr. Jackson 2 episodes

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2013 Grand Theft Auto V The Local Population


  1. ^ a b Isiah Whitlock Jr. Endowed Scholarship Archived March 20, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Southwest Minnesota State University Foundation, accessed June 14, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Karin Elton, A perfect fit, Marshall Independent, February 11, 2011, accessed June 14, 2012.
  3. ^ Swansburg, John (March 12, 2008). "The Wire Final Season: Week 10: How Sheee-it Started". Retrieved November 2, 2009.
  4. ^ Rich, Katey (February 10, 2011), "Interview: The Wire's Isiah Whitlock Jr. Plays Against Type In Cedar Rapids",, retrieved February 21, 2011
  5. ^ CEDAR RAPIDS: Ronald vs. Omar from the Wire on YouTube, Fox Searchlight official channel via, February 7, 2011.
  6. ^ "Isiah Whitlock, Jr. Talking Bobblehead". Kickstarter. Retrieved December 25, 2017.

External links

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