Shea Whigham

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Shea Whigham
Whigham in 2018
Born (1969-01-05) January 5, 1969 (age 54)
EducationTyler Junior College
State University of New York, Purchase (BFA)
Years active1997–present
Christine Whigham
(m. 1995)
Children4, including Giorgia Whigham

Shea Whigham (born January 5, 1969)[1] is an American actor best known for portraying Elias "Eli" Thompson in the drama series Boardwalk Empire. He also appeared in the first season of True Detective and the third season of Fargo and in numerous films, including Take Shelter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street, Kong: Skull Island, First Man, Vice, Joker, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One. He has appeared as Agent Michael Stasiak in Fast & Furious, Fast & Furious 6, and F9.

Early life[edit]

Whigham was born in Tallahassee, Florida, the son of attorney Frank and school librarian Beth. The family moved to Lake Mary, Florida, when Whigham was five years old.[2][3] He attended Lake Mary High School.[4]

Whigham attended Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas, and then transferred to the State University of New York at Purchase, New York, where he was part of a small acting program with only 31 students and a graduating class of eight seniors.[5]


After graduating, Whigham co-founded the theatre troupe the Rorschach Group with his college roommate Kirk Acevedo in New York City and served as an actor and artistic director with the troupe for three years.[6]

Whigham appeared in one 1997 episode of the television series Ghost Stories before he received a starring role in the 2000 film Tigerland.[5] He went on to appear in the television films Submerged, R.U.S./H., and Paradise before acting in the 2003 film All the Real Girls.[2] Between 2004 and 2006, he appeared in the Japanese film Out of This World, the drama television series Medical Investigation, and the films Water, Man of the House, Faith of My Fathers, Lords of Dogtown, Psychic Driving, and South of Heaven.

Whigham appeared in Pride and Glory and co-starred in the horror film Splinter, the thriller Creek, and the science fiction film Radio Free Albemuth.[3]

He had a regular leading role on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire as Elias "Eli" Thompson, sheriff of Atlantic County, New Jersey, for the show's entire run. In 2014, he appeared in the HBO series True Detective as the disillusioned former minister Joel Theriot.[7] He appeared in two[a] episodes of FX's Justified in 2015.

Between 2012 and 2017, he had several movie roles, such as The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook, Term Life, and Kong: Skull Island. In 2018, he appeared in the films Sicario: Day of the Soldado, First Man, and Bad Times at the El Royale. In 2019, he appeared in the Warner Bros./DC Comics psychological thriller Joker as GCPD Detective Burke. He also appeared in both seasons of HBO's Vice Principals as Ray Liptrapp; appeared in Fargo and the miniseries Waco; and he starred in the television series Homecoming alongside Julia Roberts for which he was nominated for a Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. In 2020, he was cast as Pete Strickland on HBO's reimagining of Perry Mason, a role for which he received attention for his moustache.[9]

He has appeared in several projects alongside actors Michael Shannon and Paul Sparks, both of whom starred on Boardwalk Empire and Waco. Shannon and Whigham also appeared together in The Quarry, Take Shelter, Tigerland, and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.

Personal life[edit]

Whigham has four children, including actress Giorgia Whigham, with his wife Christine Whigham.[10]


Denotes works that have not yet been released


Year Title Role Notes
1998 Of Love & Fantasy Craig
2000 Tigerland Private Wilson
2002 Bad Company CIA Agent Wells Uncredited
2003 All the Real Girls 'Tip'
2004 Out of This World Russell Reade
Water Daniel West
2005 Man of the House Texas Ranger Holt
Lords of Dogtown Drake Landon
Psychic Driving Ryan Barrett Short film
2006 Wristcutters: A Love Story Eugene
First Snow Vincent McClure
2008 South of Heaven 'Mad Dog' Mantee
Pride and Glory Officer Kenny Dugan
Splinter Dennis Farell
2009 Blood Creek Luke Benny
The Killing Room Tony Mazzolla
Spooner Stan Manfretti
Fast & Furious FBI Agent Michael Stasiak
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Justin
2010 Radio Free Albemuth Phil
Barry Munday Donald
Machete Sniper
The Conspirator Captain Cottingham
2011 Take Shelter Dewart Nominated—Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Cast
The Lincoln Lawyer Dwayne Jeffrey 'D.J.' Corliss
This Must Be the Place Ernie Ray
Catch .44 Billy
2012 Big Miracle SAR Pilot Conrad
Savages Chad, Cartel Lawyer
Silver Linings Playbook Jake Solitano Nominated—Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Cast
2013 Fast & Furious 6 FBI Agent Michael Stasiak
American Hustle Carl Elway Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Wolf of Wall Street Captain Ted Beecham
2014 Non-Stop Agent Marenick
2015 Lila & Eve Detective Holliston
Cop Car Man
Knight of Cups Jim
2016 Star Trek Beyond Teenaxi Leader Voice
Term Life Detective Matty Miller
2017 Kong: Skull Island Captain Earl Cole
Death Note James Turner
Wheelman Mohawk Man
2018 The Catcher Was a Spy Joe Cronin
Beirut Gary Ruzak
Sicario: Day of the Soldado Andy Wheeldon
First Man Gus Grissom
Bad Times at the El Royale Dr. Woodbury Laurence
City of Lies Frank Lyga
Vice Wayne Vincent
2019 To the Stars Hank Deerborne
Low Tide Sergeant Kent
Joker Detective Burke
2020 The Quarry The Man Also executive producer[11]
Vampires vs. the Bronx Frank Polidori
2021 F9 FBI Agent Michael Stasiak [12]
The Gateway Parker Jode
Small Engine Repair 'Packie' Hanrahan [13]
South of Heaven Officer Schmidt
2022 The Gray Man Six's Father
2023 Fancy Dance Frank
Eileen Jim Dunlop
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse George Stacy Voice[14]
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One Jasper Briggs [15]
2024 Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Ghost Stories Eric Duke Episode: "Cold in the Grave"
2001 Submerged Captain Oliver Naquin Television film
2002 R.U.S./H. Odell Tippy Pilot
2004 Medical Investigation Barrett Fidler 2 episodes
Paradise Jeremiah Alcott Television film
2005 Faith of My Fathers Norris Overly
2006 ER Bobby Kenyon 3 episodes
2007 Standoff Andre / Jared Kendall Episode: "Ex-Factor"
2009 Lie to Me Jered Blunt Episode: "Life Is Priceless"
Numb3rs Tom Kardum Episode: "The Fifth Man"
Medium Patrick Wilkes Episode: "New Terrain"
2010–2014 Boardwalk Empire Elias 'Eli' Thompson 49 episodes
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2011–2012)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2013–2015)
2014 True Detective Joel Theriot 2 episodes
2015 Agent Carter Roger Dooley 7 episodes
Justified Merrill Episode: "Collateral"
2016–2017 Vice Principals Ray Liptrapp 15 episodes
2017 The Legend of Master Legend Peanut-Head Pilot
Fargo 'Moe' Dammick 5 episodes
Narcos Agent Duffy 2 episodes
2018 Waco Mitch Decker 6 episodes
Homecoming Thomas Carrasco 8 episodes
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Dirty John William Meehan Episode: "Lord High Executioner"
2019 Modern Love Peter 2 episodes
2020–2023 Perry Mason Pete Strickland Main role
2022 Gaslit G. Gordon Liddy Limited series
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
2023 Waco: The Aftermath Mitch Decker 5 episodes
The Righteous Gemstones Dusty Daniels 2 episodes
TBA Lawmen: Bass Reeves Upcoming series

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role
2000 Smuggler's Run Jon


  1. ^ He was uncredited for his appearance in the episode "Fugitive Number One".[8]


  1. ^ "Birthdays". The Modesto Bee. The Associated Press. January 5, 2022. p. 2A. Actor Shea Whigham is 53.
  2. ^ a b "Interview: Shea Whigham". When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Blog. November 2, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Moore, Roger (October 27, 2007). "'Wrist' could be big break". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved March 29, 2008.
  4. ^ "Lake Mary actor hits jackpot in 'Boardwalk Empire'". Orlando Sentinel. September 20, 2010.
  5. ^ a b "An interview with Wristcutters' Shea Whigham". Central Florida Future. November 2, 2007. Archived from the original on August 9, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2008.
  6. ^ Buchanan, Jason. "Shea Whigham: Biography". Allmovie. Retrieved March 29, 2008.
  7. ^ "Watch The Full, Utterly Spellbinding Sermon By The Tent Preacher From 'True Detective'". January 31, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  8. ^ Bierly, Mandi (March 31, 2015). "'Justified' Postmortem: Graham Yost Breaks Down that Epic Brawl in 'Fugitive Number One'". Retrieved April 1, 2023.
  9. ^ "The Rundown: The Mustaches of HBO's 'Perry Mason,' Ranked". June 26, 2020. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  10. ^[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Davids, Brian (May 1, 2020). "Shea Whigham on 'The Quarry' and "Electric" Christian Bale Scenes". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  12. ^ Han, Angie (May 25, 2021). "The Fast saga soars to new heights of nonsense in 'F9'". Mashable. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  13. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (October 19, 2020). "John Pollono's 'Small Engine Repair' Motors To Where Hollywood Movies Go To Lure Distributors: The Drive-In". Deadline. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  14. ^ Sony Pictures Animation [@SonyAnimation] (June 13, 2022). "As a treat #AnnecyFestival gets a sequence from the film! In this clip, we find Gwen's dad, George Stacy (voiced by Shea Whigham), a "by the books cop," responding to a disturbance at the Guggenheim Museum. Of course, Gwen beats him to the scene, where she's met with new faces…" (Tweet). Archived from the original on June 22, 2022. Retrieved December 4, 2022 – via Twitter.
  15. ^ "Back-to-Back 'Mission: Impossible' Sequels Add 'Boardwalk Empire' Star Shea Whigham". /Film. December 22, 2019. Retrieved June 17, 2021.

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