Isiah Whitlock Jr.

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Isiah Whitlock Jr.
Born (1954-09-13) September 13, 1954 (age 64)
South Bend, Indiana, U.S.
Occupation Actor

Isiah Whitlock Jr. (born September 13, 1954) is an American actor.

Early life

Whitlock was born in South Bend, Indiana. He attended college at Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) in Marshall, Minnesota, where he enrolled through a football scholarship and studied theater. Injuries led him to stop playing football and focus on acting.[1] After graduating in 1976, he moved to San Francisco and joined the American Conservatory Theater.[2]


Whitlock is best known for his role on the HBO television series The Wire as corrupt state senator Clay Davis. He has also appeared in the Spike Lee films She Hate Me, 25th Hour, Red Hook Summer, and Chi-Raq. In those projects, Whitlock established a catchphrase from his characters' distinct pronunciation of the word "shit" ("sheeeeeeeee-it").[3] Whitlock also made appearances on Chappelle's Show and has made several appearances as various characters on Law & Order. He appeared as Eugine, a supporting role, in the 2003 film Pieces of April. He had a bit part in Goodfellas as a doctor who gives Henry Hill a Valium while attending to his brother. He also made an appearance in the film 1408, as the engineer of the Dolphin Hotel, as well as appearing in promotional spots for the Wii video game Punch-Out!! portraying the character Doc Louis. In 2007, he played Ethan Banks in Enchanted.

Whitlock played an insurance agent named Ronald Wilkes in the 2011 film Cedar Rapids. Wilkes is a self-described fan of The Wire and does an impersonation of character Omar Little. Whitlock has said that the references to the series were written in before he became involved in Cedar Rapids.[4] Whitlock filmed a separate promotion for the film, where Wilkes is seen in an insurance office reading lines from The Wire.[5] He currently recurs on the HBO comedy series Veep as General George Maddox. Whitlock has also made appearances on The Good Wife, Louie, Gotham, Chiraq, and The Carmichael Show.

SMSU now offers the Isiah Whitlock Jr. Endowed Scholarship.[1] He was SMSU's commencement speaker in 1999 and guest artist for the school's celebration of Black History Month in 2007.[2]

Capitalizing on his catch phrase "Sheeeeeeeee-it" and his public notoriety, Whitlock launched a successful Kickstarter Talking Bobblehead campaign.[6] This campaign is the most successful bobblehead promotion in Kickstarter history. The campaign has raised over $100,000 from 1,828 backers.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Isiah Whitlock Jr. Endowed Scholarship, Southwest Minnesota State University Foundation, accessed June 14, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Karin Elton, A perfect fit, Marshall Independent, February 11, 2011, accessed June 14, 2012.
  3. Swansburg, John (March 12, 2008). "The Wire Final Season: Week 10: How Sheee-it Started". Retrieved November 2, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Rich, Katey (February 10, 2011), "Interview: The Wire's Isiah Whitlock Jr. Plays Against Type In Cedar Rapids",, retrieved February 21, 2011<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. CEDAR RAPIDS: Ronald vs. Omar from the Wire on YouTube, Fox Searchlight official channel via, February 7, 2011.
  6. Isiah Whitlock Jr. Talking Bobblehead

External links