Isiah Whitlock, Jr.

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Isiah Whitlock, Jr.
Born (1954-09-13) September 13, 1954 (age 59)
South Bend, Indiana, United States

Isiah Whitlock, Jr. (born September 13, 1954) is an American actor.

Life and career[edit]

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

Whitlock is most well-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, and Red Hook Summer as Agent Amos Flood. In all three projects, Whitlock established a catchphrase from his characters' distinct pronunciation of the word "shit" ("sheee-it").[3] Whitlock also made appearances on Chappelle's Show and has made several appearances as various characters on Law & Order. He appeared as Eugine, a supporting role, in the 2003 film Pieces of April. He had a bit part in Goodfellas as a doctor who gives Henry Hill a 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]

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]


  1. ^ a b Isiah Whitlock Jr. Endowed Scholarship, 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, Fox Searchlight official channel via, February 7, 2011.

External links[edit]