Jay Ellis

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Jay Ellis
Jay Ellis 2017.png
Ellis in February 2017
Wendell Ramone Ellis Jr.

(1981-12-27) December 27, 1981 (age 36)
Alma materConcordia University (Oregon)
Years active2005–present

Wendell Ramone Ellis Jr. (born December 27, 1981), better known by his stage name Jay Ellis, is an American actor. Born in Sumter, South Carolina, he started with modeling, before moving to Los Angeles and starting his acting career. In 2013, he received his first major role on BET's series The Game. In 2015, he joined the cast of HBO's series Insecure, which premiered in 2016.

Life and career[edit]

1981–2012: Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Wendell Ramone Ellis Jr. was born on December 27, 1981, in Sumter, South Carolina.[1] His father worked in Air Force, while his mother worked as a finance executive.[2] He is the only child of the family.[3] He went to 12 schools in 13 years, before attending the Concordia University in Oregon, where he played basketball.[4][5] Ellis worked as a public relations intern for the Portland Trail Blazers during their infamous "Jail Blazers" era.[6] After completing his internship, Ellis switched his focus to modeling and started working with Portland-based sportswear companies like Nike, Adidas and Columbia Sportswear.[7]

In 2004, he moved to Los Angeles to focus on his acting career.[7] Ellis launched his career as a professional actor in 2005, when he appeared briefly in single episodes of the television series Invasion and Related. In 2011-2012, he made appearances on the series Grey's Anatomy, NCIS and How I Met Your Mother.[8][9]

2013–present: Breakthrough[edit]

His first major acting role was in 2013, starring in BET's series The Game.[7] In August 2015, it was announced that Ellis has joined the cast of HBO's comedy series Insecure, which premiered in October 2016.[10] He plays the role of Lawrence Walker, who has a long-term relationship with main character Issa Dee played by Issa Rae.[7] For his work on the show, Ellis received the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series award at the 49th NAACP Image Awards.[11] In 2017, Ellis partnered with leading HIV/AIDS research organization, amfAR, to help eradicate the staggering rates of HIV cases in the black community.[12]



Year Title Role Notes
2010 Triple Standard Lewis Short film
2011 Hatched: A Tale of Great Egg-spectations Jay Short film
2011 Let's Do This! Ugandan Thug #1 / Ceiling Mop Ugandan TV movie
2012 Election Eve Jeff Short film
2013 Movie 43 Lucious segment "Victory's Glory"
2013 Dear Secret Santa Brad TV movie
2014 Mass Shooting News Team Unknown Short film
2014 The Black Bachelor Unknown Short film
2015 My Favorite Five Jonathan Colburn
2015 November Rule James Avedon
2015 Breaking Through Quinn
2015 Twelve Steps Ray Short film
2016 Like Cotton Twines Micha Brown
2016 Shortwave Robert
2018 In a Relationship Dexter
2019 Escape Room Jason
2020 Top Gun: Maverick Pilot trainee Filming

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2005 Invasion Soldier (uncredited) Episode: "Watershed"
2005 Related College student Episode: "Hang in There, Baby"
2010 The Bold and the Beautiful Orderly Episode: "Episode #1.5922"
2011 Grey's Anatomy DJ Episode: "White Wedding"
2011 NCIS Marine PFC Thomas 'Tommy' Hill Episode: "Restless"
2012 How I Met Your Mother Sound Guy Episode: "Tailgate"
2012 Hart of Dixie Resident Episode: "Heart to Hart"
2012 iCarly Friend #1 Episode: "iFind Spencer Friends"
2012 Crash & Bernstein Derek Episode: "Coach Crash"
2013–15 The Game Bryce "Blueprint" Westbrook Main, 45 episodes
2013 NCIS: Los Angeles Naval Flight Officer Randall Baker Episode: "Purity"
2014 Masters of Sex Dr. Cyril Franklin Episode: "Giants"
2016 Grace and Frankie Dan Episode: "The Anchor"
2016–18 Insecure Lawrence Walker Main (season 1-2); guest (season 3); 17 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Category Nominated work Result
2017 Black Reel Awards for Television[13] Outstanding Supporting Actor, Comedy Series Insecure Nominated
2018 NAACP Image Awards[11] Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Won


  1. ^ "Jay Ellis Talks His Crush On Tatyana Ali, Stereotypical Black Roles & His Dating Rules". MadameNoire. May 8, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
  2. ^ "Jay Ellis". amfAR. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  3. ^ "Insecure's Jay Ellis Is a Dream Guy in Real Life". LA Weekly. July 24, 2017. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  4. ^ "After 'The Game' With Jay Ellis". The Trending Report. April 29, 2014. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  5. ^ "Chop-Up: Jay Ellis, star of The Game, talks his hooping skills, making an NFL practice squad and more". USA Today High School Sports. February 18, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
  6. ^ "Jay Ellis from HBO's "Insecure" Tells Jimmy Kimmel About PR Work for Trail Blazers: "It Was Crazy"". Blazersedge.com. August 19, 2017. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d "HBO 'Insecure' Star Jay Ellis Opens Up About Life After the Backshot Heard Around the World". Complex. July 17, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
  8. ^ "The Game's Jay Ellis Reveals His Pop Culture Obsessions, First TV Crushes, Hidden Talent and More". E!. March 18, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  9. ^ "Insecure Star Jay Ellis: 'I Want to Change the Narrative Around Young Black Men'". Out. June 20, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  10. ^ "Issa Rae's HBO pilot 'Insecure' adds Jay Ellis and Yvonne Orji to cast". Rolling Out. August 27, 2015. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
  11. ^ a b "2018 NAACP Image Award Winners: Complete List". The Hollywood Reporter. January 14, 2018. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
  12. ^ "Jay Ellis On His Personal Mission To Fight HIV/AIDS In The Black Community". HuffPost. February 6, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
  13. ^ "Black*ish Paces the Black Reel Awards for Television Field". Black Reel Awards. June 15, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2017.

External links[edit]