Ellis in February 2017
Wendell Ramone Ellis Jr.
December 27, 1981
Sumter, South Carolina, U.S.
|Alma mater||Concordia University (Oregon)|
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
1981–2012: Early life and career beginnings
Wendell Ramone Ellis Jr. was born on December 27, 1981, in Sumter, South Carolina. His father worked in Air Force, while his mother worked as a finance executive. He is the only child of the family. He went to 12 schools in 13 years, before attending the Concordia University in Oregon, where he played basketball. Ellis worked as a public relations intern for the Portland Trail Blazers during their infamous "Jail Blazers" era. After completing his internship, Ellis switched his focus to modeling and started working with Portland-based sportswear companies like Nike, Adidas and Columbia Sportswear.
In 2004, he moved to Los Angeles to focus on his acting career. 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.
His first major acting role was in 2013, starring in BET's series The Game. In August 2015, it was announced that Ellis has joined the cast of HBO's comedy series Insecure, which premiered in October 2016. He plays the role of Lawrence Walker, who has a long-term relationship with main character Issa Dee played by Issa Rae. For his work on the show, Ellis received the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series award at the 49th NAACP Image Awards. In 2017, Ellis partnered with leading HIV/AIDS research organization, amfAR, to help eradicate the staggering rates of HIV cases in the black community.
|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||Twelve Steps||Ray||Short film|
|2016||Like Cotton Twines||Micha Brown|
|2018||In a Relationship||Dexter|
|2020||Top Gun: Maverick||Pilot trainee||Filming|
|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
|2017||Black Reel Awards for Television||Outstanding Supporting Actor, Comedy Series||Insecure||Nominated|
|2018||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Won|
- "Jay Ellis Talks His Crush On Tatyana Ali, Stereotypical Black Roles & His Dating Rules". MadameNoire. May 8, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
- "Jay Ellis". amfAR. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- "Insecure's Jay Ellis Is a Dream Guy in Real Life". LA Weekly. July 24, 2017. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- "After 'The Game' With Jay Ellis". The Trending Report. April 29, 2014. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- "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.
- "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.
- "HBO 'Insecure' Star Jay Ellis Opens Up About Life After the Backshot Heard Around the World". Complex. July 17, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
- "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.
- "Insecure Star Jay Ellis: 'I Want to Change the Narrative Around Young Black Men'". Out. June 20, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- "Issa Rae's HBO pilot 'Insecure' adds Jay Ellis and Yvonne Orji to cast". Rolling Out. August 27, 2015. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
- "2018 NAACP Image Award Winners: Complete List". The Hollywood Reporter. January 14, 2018. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
- "Jay Ellis On His Personal Mission To Fight HIV/AIDS In The Black Community". HuffPost. February 6, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
- "Black*ish Paces the Black Reel Awards for Television Field". Black Reel Awards. June 15, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2017.