Frank Joseph Whaley (born July 20, 1963) is an American actor, film director, screenwriter and comedian. He is best known for his roles in independent films.

Early life

Whaley was born and raised in Syracuse, New York, the son of Josephine (née Timilione) and Robert W. Whaley, Sr. He is half Irish and half Sicilian. His father died in the 1990s of health problems related to alcoholism. Whaley graduated from Anthony A. Henninger High School in 1981, and later from University at Albany.


Whaley made his film debut in 1987's Ironweed, and 1989 appeared in Field of Dreams, alongside Burt Lancaster and Kevin Costner, and Born on the Fourth of July, alongside Tom Cruise. The latter film began a long collaboration with director Oliver Stone, including 1991's The Doors, in which he played Robby Krieger, and, in the same year, JFK, in which he played a conspirator in the JFK assassination. In 1991, Whaley also starred in the John Hughes production Career Opportunities alongside Jennifer Connelly.

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, in which he starred opposite Kevin Spacey. During the same year, he played a supporting role as the doomed Brett, who was memorably killed by Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta's characters in Pulp Fiction.

In 1998, he started a regular role on the short-lived CBS series Buddy Faro. He has also appeared in episodes of The Dead Zone, Law & Order, and its spinoff Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He made his writing-directorial debut in his own independent film, Joe the King, in 1999, featuring his Doors costar Val Kilmer and longtime friend and colleague Ethan Hawke in starring roles. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and earned Whaley the prestigious Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. His second film as writer and director, The Jimmy Show, starred 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 starred as the villain in Screen Gems' 2007 horror film Vacancy alongside Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale.

In 2014 he wrote and directed the film Like Sunday, Like Rain, starring Debra Messing, Leighton Meester and Billie Joe Armstrong. It opened in March 2015 and The New York Times called it a "sentimental intersection of two lives ' and the Los Angeles Times called it "quite a wonderful journey"

In 2014, Whaley appeared as the audience favorite Van Miller in Season One of the Showtime series Ray Donovan, alongside Jon Voight and Liev Schreiber.

In 2015, Whaley will appear on Paramount Animation's first live-action/animation film, Monster Trucks And The Outskirts opposite Victoria Justice. Whaley's other film credits include World Trade Center, Red Dragon, Rob The Mob, School Of Rock, The Freshman, Broken Arrow, Little Monsters, A Midnight Clear, Janie Jones, IQ among numerous others.

Whaley's television credits include Gotham, The Blacklist, CSI, Psych, Burn Notice, Ugly Betty, Mrs. Harris, When Trumpets Fade, Boston Legal, Medium, Blue Bloods, among many others.

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

Personal life

In 2001, he married Heather Bucha, an actress and writer, author of Eat Your Feelings: Recipes for Self-Loathing, with whom he has two children. They collaborated on the NBC pilot Lloyd of the House, and continue to write together.


  • Ironweed (1987), Young Francis Phelan
  • Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Timmy
  • Field of Dreams (1989), Archie Graham
  • Little Monsters (1989), Boy
  • Flying Blind (1990)
  • Cold Dog Soup (1990), Michael Latchmer
  • The Freshman (1990), Steve Bushak
  • The Doors (1991), Robby Krieger
  • JFK (1991), Oswald imposter
  • Career Opportunities (1991), Jim Dodge
  • A Midnight Clear (1992), Paul Mundy
  • Hoffa (1992), Young trucker
  • Swing Kids (1993), Arvid
  • I.Q. (1994), Frank
  • Swimming with Sharks (1994), Guy
  • Pulp Fiction (1994), Brett
  • Fatal Deception: Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald (1994), Lee Harvey Oswald
  • The Outer Limits (1995), Henry Marshall
  • Homage (1995), Karchie
  • Broken Arrow (1996), Giles Prentice
  • Retroactive (1997), Brian
  • Glam (1997), Franky Syde
  • Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God... Be Back by Five (1998), Skee-Ball Weasel
  • When Trumpets Fade (1998), Medic Chamberlain
  • Red Dragon (2002), Ralph Mandy (uncredited)
  • School of Rock (2003), Battle of Bands Director (uncredited)
  • The Twilight Zone (2002)
    • "Future Trade", Martin Donnor
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2004)
    • "Eosphoros" (2004), Mitch Godel
  • Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service (2004)
    • "Chained", Jeffrey White
  • Crazy Eights (2006), Brent Sykes
  • World Trade Center (2006), Chuck Sereika
  • Psych (2006)
    • "Who Ya Gonna Call?" (2006), Robert Dunn/Martin Brody/Regina Kane
  • Vacancy (2007)
  • Ruffian (2007) Bill Nack - A biography about the amazing thoroughbred racehorse Ruffian
  • Boston Legal (2007)
  • House (2007)
    • "Mirror Mirror", Robert Elliot
  • Drillbit Taylor (2008), Interviewed Bodyguards
  • The Cell 2 (2009), Duncan
  • Burn Notice (2010)
    • "Breach of Faith" (2010), Josh Wagner
  • Alcatraz (2012)
    • "The Ames Brothers" (2012), Officer Donovan
  • Ray Donovan (2013), Van Miller
  • Blue Bloods (2013), Gary Hellman
  • Rob the Mob (2014)
  • The Blacklist (2014), "The Good Samaritan"
  • Gotham (2014), "Selina Kyle"
  • Monster Trucks (2015)
  • The Outskirts (2015), Herb


External links

  • Frank Whaley at the Internet Movie Database
  • Frank Whaley at the Internet Off-Broadway Database

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