Frank Whaley

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Frank Whaley
Frank Joseph Whaley

(1963-07-20) July 20, 1963 (age 60)
EducationAnthony A. Henninger High School
Alma materUniversity at Albany, SUNY
Occupation(s)Actor, film director, screenwriter, comedian
Years active1987–present
Heather Bucha
(m. 2001)

Frank Joseph Whaley (born July 20, 1963) is an American actor, film director, screenwriter, and comedian. His roles include Brett in Pulp Fiction, Robby Krieger in The Doors, young Archie "Moonlight" Graham in Field of Dreams, and Guy in Swimming with Sharks. He has also appeared in films and TV series such as Born on the Fourth of July, The Freshman, A Midnight Clear, Swing Kids, Broken Arrow, Luke Cage, Career Opportunities, Red Dragon and World Trade Center.

Early life[edit]

Whaley was born and raised in Syracuse, New York,[1] the son of Robert W. Whaley Sr. and Josephine (née Timilione).[2][3] Whaley graduated from Anthony A. Henninger High School in 1981 and left home at 18. He graduated from the University at Albany.[4]


Whaley made his film debut in 1987's Ironweed.[4] In 1989 he appeared in Field of Dreams and Born on the Fourth of July.[4] The latter film began a long collaboration with director Oliver Stone, including 1991's The Doors, in which he played Robby Krieger,[5] JFK, which was released the same year, in which he played a conspirator in the JFK assassination and 2006's World Trade Center, where he played Chuck Sereika, a former drug addict who helped in the rescue efforts. In 1990, Whaley appeared with Marlon Brando and Matthew Broderick in The Freshman. In 1991, he starred in the John Hughes feature film Career Opportunities.

Over the next two years, he played supporting roles in movies such as Hoffa and Swing Kids. He appeared in his second leading film role in 1994's Swimming with Sharks. During the same year, he played a supporting role as the doomed Brett, who was memorably killed by Samuel L. Jackson's and John Travolta's characters in Pulp Fiction.

In 1998, he started a regular role on the short-lived CBS series Buddy Faro. He also appeared in episodes of The Dead Zone, Law & Order, and its spinoff Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Whaley made his writing-directorial debut in his independent film Joe the King in 1999, featuring his Doors co-star Val Kilmer and longtime friend and colleague Ethan Hawke in starring roles. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and earned Whaley the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.[4] His second film as writer and director, The Jimmy Show, stars Whaley and Carla Gugino. This film also premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Whaley's third film as writer and director, New York City Serenade, starring Chris Klein and Freddie Prinze Jr., premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival. He stars as the villain in the 2007 horror film Vacancy. In 2014 he wrote and directed the film Like Sunday, Like Rain, starring Debra Messing, Leighton Meester and Billie Joe Armstrong.[6] The film won six awards at the 2014 Williamsburg Independent Film Festival including Best Film, Best Director and acting nods for Armstrong, Meester, Messing and Julian Shatkin. It opened in March 2015.[7]

In 2014, Whaley appeared as Van Miller in Season One of the Showtime series Ray Donovan. In 2016, Whaley had a role in Paramount Animation's first mostly live-action film, Monster Trucks, and in 2017, he appeared in the teen film The Outskirts.

Whaley's other film credits include Red Dragon, Rob the Mob, School of Rock, Broken Arrow, Little Monsters, A Midnight Clear, Janie Jones and I.Q. among others.

His television credits include Gotham, The Blacklist, CSI, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Psych, Burn Notice, Ugly Betty, Mrs. Harris, When Trumpets Fade, Boston Legal, Medium, Blue Bloods, Bull, House, MacGyver, Divorce, Elementary, Under the Dome, the TV mini-series Madoff, Alcatraz and many others.

Whaley has maintained his roots in the theater, working frequently with The New Group in New York City. In 2011, he appeared in The New Group's revival of Wallace Shawn's Marie And Bruce opposite Marisa Tomei.

Personal life[edit]

In 2001, Whaley married Heather Bucha Whaley, an actress and writer,[8] and the author of Eat Your Feelings: Recipes for Self-Loathing.[9] They have two children: Buster Whaley and Tallulah Whaley.


As director[edit]

Year Title
1999 Joe the King
2001 The Jimmy Show
2007 New York City Serenade
2014 Like Sunday, Like Rain

Film roles[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1987 Ironweed Young Francis Phelan
1989 Field of Dreams Archie "Moonlight" Graham
1989 Little Monsters Boy
1989 Born on the Fourth of July Timmy Burns
1990 The Freshman Steve Bushak
1990 Cold Dog Soup Michael Latchmer
1991 The Doors Robby Krieger
1991 Career Opportunities Jim Dodge
1991 JFK Oswald Imposter Credited in director's cut
1992 Back in the U.S.S.R. Archer Sloan
1992 A Midnight Clear Paul Mundy
1992 Hoffa Young Trucker / Hitman
1993 Swing Kids Arvid
1994 Pulp Fiction Brett
1994 Swimming with Sharks Guy
1994 The Desperate Trail Walter Cooper Direct-to-video
1994 I.Q. Frank
1995 Homage Karchie
1995 Cafe Society Mickey Jelke
1996 Broken Arrow Giles Prentice
1996 The Winner Joey
1997 Retroactive Brian
1997 Glam Franky Syde
1997 Bombshell Malcolm Garvey Direct-to-video
1998 Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God... Be Back by Five Skee-Ball Weasel
1998 It All Came True Brett Conway
1999 Joe the King Angry Man Bob Owes Uncredited
2000 Two Family House The Narrator Uncredited
2001 Pursuit of Happiness Alan
2001 The Jimmy Show Jimmy O'Brien
2001 Chelsea Walls Lynny Barnum
2002 Red Dragon Ralph Mandy Uncredited
2003 A Good Night to Die Chad
2003 School of Rock Battle of Bands Director Uncredited
2006 World Trade Center Chuck Sereika
2006 The Hottest State Harris
2006 Crazy Eights Brent Sykes
2006 The System Within Prison Guard
2007 Cherry Crush Wade Chandling
2007 Vacancy Mason
2007 New York City Serenade Les
2008 Drillbit Taylor Interviewed Bodyguards
2009 The Cell 2 Duncan Direct-to-video
2010 As Good as Dead Aaron
2010 Janie Jones Chuck
2013 Aftermath Eric Filmed in 2005
2014 Rob the Mob FBI Agent Frank Hurd
2016 Cold Moon Sheriff Ted Hale
2016 Monster Trucks Wade Coley
2017 The Outcasts Herb
2017 Against the Night Detective Ramsey
2018 Warning Shot David
2019 Hustlers Reese
2019 Wish Man Officer Tom Wells
2019 The Shed Bane
2023 Death on the Border Detective John Watson
TBA Saint Clare Mailman Bob Post-production

TV roles[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1987 Spenser: For Hire Tommy Episode: "The Road Back"
1987 CBS Schoolbreak Special Scott McNichol Episode: "Soldier Boys"
1987 ABC Afterschool Special Jeff Dillon Episode: "Seasonal Differences"
1988 The Equalizer Press Episode: "The Child Broker"
1988 Life on the Flipside Sonny Day TV pilot
1989 Unconquered Arnie Woods TV movie
1989 Flying Blind Joey TV movie
1993 Fatal Deception: Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald Lee Harvey Oswald TV movie
1993 To Dance with the White Dog James TV movie
1995 The Outer Limits Henry Marshall Episode: "The Conversion"
1997 Dead Man's Gun Cole Ballard Episode: "My Brother's Keeper
1997 Oddville, MTV Unknown 1 episode
1998 The Wall Bishop TV movie
1998 When Trumpets Fade Medic Chamberlain TV movie
1998–2000 Buddy Faro Bob Jones Main cast
1999 Shake, Rattle and Roll: An American Love Story Allen Kogan TV movie
2000 The Outer Limits Zig Fowler / Cliff Unger Episode: "Zig Zag"
2001 Strange Frequency Unknown Episode: "Time Is on My Side"
2001 Bad News Mr. Swanson Unknown TV pilot
2002 Law & Order John McDowell Episode: "Access Nation"
2002 The Twilight Zone Martin Donnor Episode: "Future Trade"
2002 Sun Gods Unknown TV pilot
2003–2004 The Dead Zone Christopher Wey / Future Guy Recurring
2004 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Mitch Godel Episode: "Eosphoros"
2004 NCIS Jeffrey White Episode: "Chained"
2005 Detective Brewmaster TV movie
2005 Mrs. Harris George Bolen TV movie
2005 Curb Your Enthusiasm Peter Hagen Episode: "Lewis Needs a Kidney"
2006 Where There's a Will Richie Greene TV movie
2006 Psych Robert Dunn Episode: "Who Ya Gonna Call?"
2007 Boston Legal Frankie Cox Episode: "Brotherly Love"
2007 Ruffian Bill Nack TV movie
2007 House Robert Elliot Episode: "Mirror Mirror"
2008 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Navy Commander Grant Marcus Episode: "PTSD"
2009 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Miles Episode: "Disarmed and Dangerous"
2010 Ugly Betty Mr. Sparks Episode: "Blackout!"
2010 Burn Notice Josh Wagner Episode: "Breach of Faith"
2010 Medium Gabe Helling Episode: "Means and Ends"
2012 Alcatraz Officer Donovan Episode: "The Ames Brothers"
2012 NYC 22 Larry Giles Episode: "Firebomb"
2012–2013 Blue Bloods Gary Heller 2 episodes
2013 Ray Donovan FBI Agent Van Miller Recurring
2014 The Blacklist Karl Hoffman Episode: "The Good Samaritan"
2014 Gotham Doug Episode: "Selina Kyle"
2015 Under the Dome Dr. Marston 3 episodes
2016 Unforgettable Jim Garrett Episode: "We Can Be Heroes"
2016 Madoff Harry Markopolos Main cast
2016 Chicago Med Chuck Gleason Episode: "Withdrawal"
2016–2018 Marvel's Luke Cage Detective Rafael Scarfe Recurring (season 1)
Guest (season 2)
2016 Elementary Winston Utz Episode: "To Catch a Predator Predator"
2016 Divorce Carson Hodges Episode: "Gustav"
2016 Empire Edison Cruz Episode: "A Furnace for Your Foe"
2017 MacGyver Douglas Bishop Episode: "Fish Scaler"
2017 Bull Max Hyland Episode: "Free Fall"
2018 Gone Ted Episode: "Secuestrado"
2018 Sneaky Pete Duane Harding Episode: "Inside Out"
2018 Deception Charles Quaid Episode: "The Unseen Hand"
2019 Jack Ryan Carl Estes Episode: "Cargo"
2020 Bull Ray Peterman Episode: "Off the Rails"


  1. ^ Frank Whaley biography, DVD extras, Career Opportunities.
  2. ^ "Frank Whaley Biography (1963-)". Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  3. ^ Durbin, Karen (October 17, 1999). "FILM; Picturing a Lost Boy, Drawing on Memory". The New York Times. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d Herman, Catherine (April 27, 2009). "UAlbany Alumni Honored for Professional and Community Service". Albany, New York: University at Albany. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  5. ^ Krieger, Robby (2021). Set the Night on Fire: Living, Dying, and Playing Guitar with the Doors. Hachette. pp. 255–256. ISBN 978-0316243544.
  6. ^ Yamato, Jen (September 19, 2013). "Leighton Meester, Billie Joe Armstrong, Debra Messing To Star In Frank Whaley's 'Like Sunday, Like Rain'". Deadline Hollywood. PMC. Archived from the original on September 20, 2013. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  7. ^ "2014 Winners". Williamsburg Independent Film Festival. Archived from the original on May 16, 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  8. ^ "WEDDINGS; Heather Bucha, Frank Whaley". The New York Times. May 6, 2001. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  9. ^ EAT YOUR FEELINGS. Penguin Random House Canada. January 4, 2011. Retrieved July 29, 2022.

External links[edit]