“Of all my roles, Leland Palmer in 'Twin Peaks' was the one that had the biggest impact on the world. But even after that I wasn't typecast, so I feel very fortunate in the way my career has progressed.” Ray Wise
Applauded character actor Ray Wise is well known for portraying Laura Palmer's homicidal father, Leland Palmer, in David Lynch's cult series “Twin Peaks” (1990-1991) and the film “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” (1992), where he picked up a Saturn nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Starting out in television as Jamie Rollins in the soap “Love of Life” (1970-1976), the Ohio native quickly became a familiar face thanks to his recurring roles on the series “Dallas” (1982), “The Colbys” (1986) and “Knots Landing” (1986) and guest roles in a number of shows, including “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1989), before nabbing his coveted role on “Twin Peaks.” He continued to build a prolific career on the small screen with regular gigs in “Second Chances” (1993-1994), “Savannah” (1996-1997), “Resurrection Blvd” (2000-2001) and more recently, “Reaper” (2007-2009), in which he netted a 2008 Television Critics Association nomination. He also appeared on “Sleepwalkers” (1997-1998), “Beverly Hills, 90210” (1998), “24” (2006) and “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” (2008). Other guest starring credits include “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “Star Trek: Voyager,” “Profiler,” “Popular,” “V.I.P.,” “Judging Amy,” “Dawson's Creek,” “JAG,” “The West Wing,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “The Closer,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Numb3rs.” Wise also earned praise for his portrayal of Don Hollenbeck in “Good Night, and Good Luck” (2005), an independent film directed, written by and starring George Clooney, and is known for his work on movies like “Swamp Thing” (1982), “RoboCop” (1987), “Bob Roberts” (1992), “Rising Sun” (1993), “The Chase” (1994), “Powder” (1995), “Closing the Deal” (2000), “Windfall” (2001, TV), “Landspeed” (2002), “Dead End (2003), “Jeepers Creepers 2” (2003), “Peaceful Warrior” (2006), “The Flock” (2007), “Reservations” (2008), “Pandemic” (2008) and “One Missed Call” (2008). He will play roles in the upcoming films “Stuntmen” (2009), “Love at First Hiccup” (2009), “Iodine” (2009) and “Inventing Adam” (2010).
Also a stage actor, Wise was handed an Obie Award for his performance in Sam Shepard's “The Tooth of Crime” (1983). He has also appeared in Eugene O'Neill's “The Hairy Ape,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Tartuffe.”
Wise and his wife of 31 years, Kass McClaskey, have two children. Prior to the happy marriage, he was engaged to Julia Burr, the daughter of actor Robert Burr, in 1974.
Wise is of Romanian lineage.
Father of 2
Childhood and Family:
Raymond Herbert Wise, who would later be famous as Ray Wise, was born on August 20, 1947, in Akron, Ohio. He discovered acting at a very young age and went on to perform in a number of plays throughout high school. He later majored in drama at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. During his summer breaks, he participated in summer stocks. After getting his degree in 1970, Ray moved to New York City to pursue a professional career.
In 1978, Ray married Kass McClaskey, a television commercial producer. Ray welcomed his first child, son Gannon McClaskey Wise, on December 26, 1984. His daughter, Kyna McClaskey Wise, was born on August 22, 1987.
Ray is a private person and enjoys watching horror films.
Goodnight, and Good Luck
“I've known since I was a young man that I wanted to be a professional actor. In fact in my junior high school year book, when I was about 13 years old, I believe under my picture it listed my goal in life as wanting to become an actor.” Ray Wise
After getting his feet wet with performances in high school plays and summer stock in Ohio, Ray Wise headed to New York City after graduating college. Within two weeks of his arrival, he scored a big break by winning the role of attorney Jamie Rawlins on the CBS soap opera “Love of Life.” He was on the show from 1970 to 1976. The aspiring actor also worked nights in theater.
Two years after he left “Love of Life,” Wise portrayed Damis in the TV film “Tartuffe,” adapted from Molière's noted play of the same name. He then made guest appearances in “Charlie's Angels,” “Barnaby Jones” (both 1978) and “Lou Grant” (1980) and acted in the TV films “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders II” (1980) and “Madame X” (1981). He then hit the big screen with a bit part in “Cat People” (1982), an erotic thriller that was directed by Paul Schrader and starred Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell and John Heard. He also appeared as Doctor Alec Holland in Wes Craven's “Swamp Thing” (1982). Wise recalled, “My memories are of 95 degree temperatures and 98 percent humidity and these big mosquitoes, and black flies and alligators. My fondest memories are of Adrienne Barbeau and her cavorting around the swamp. We had a great time down there in Charleston, South Carolina, Wes Craven and the whole bunch of us. We were like kids playing these great comic book characters.
Still in 1982, Wise played Blair Sullivan on eight episodes of the hit CBS drama “Dallas” and Hal Rummley on the NBC soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” a role he had until 1983. He resurfaced on stage in the 1983 production of Sam Shepard's “The Tooth of Crime” and picked up an Obie Award for his performance. Wise continued to have guest spots in a string of TV shows in 1984, including “T.J. Hooker,” “Trapper John, M.D.” and “Remington Steele,” and offered the memorable recurring role of Travis in two episodes of the short-lived CBS drama “Emerald Point N.A.S.” (also 1984). The following year, he supported Cybill Shepherd and Michael C. Gwynne in the Emmy nominated TV film “Seduced” (1985) and was cast as Natty's father, Sol Gann, in the Jeremy Kagan-directed adventure film “The Journey of Natty Gann,” which was nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Costume Design.
During the rest of the 1980s, Wise had guest roles in “The A-Team,” “Airwolf,” “Hunter,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Moonlighting,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Jake and the Fatman,” among others, and recurring roles in the TV series “The Colbys” (3 episodes, 1986), “L.A. Law” (2 episodes, 1988) and “Knots Landing” (7 episodes, 1988). He also starred as Christopher Proctor in the TV film “Condor” (1986), worked with Lindsay Wagner and Eli Danke on the Emmy nominated television movie “The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story” (1988), and portrayed the villainous role of Leon C. Nash in Paul Verhoeven's movie “RoboCop” (1987). Wise closed out the decade with performances in the films “Race for Glory” (1989), opposite Alex McArthur and Peter Berg, and Doug Campbell's thriller “Season of Fear” (1989), where he portrayed Fred Drummond.
In 1990, Wise was cast in the regular role of Leland Palmer on “Twin Peaks,” a psychological thriller created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. Debuting on ABC on April 8 of that year, the series went on to become one of the most watched shows in 1990 and received critical success in the U.S. and throughout the globe. The show later suffered from a gradual rating decline that led to its cancellation in June 1991. Wise reprised his popular TV role of Leland Palmer on the big screen version “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me” (1992). Directed by David Lynch, the film was considered a commercial flop.
Apart from the “Twin Peaks” projects, the busy actor delivered strong supporting performances in the films “Write to Kill” (1990, as Mark Gaston) and “The Rift” (1990, as Robbins), which was helmed by Ruben Preuss and Juan Piquer Simón respectively. He also appeared in the made-for-TV films “The Secret Life of Archie's Wife” (1990) and “Fire in the Dark” (1991), and gave memorable turns in such movies as Tim Robbins' “Bob Roberts” (1992, as Chet MacGregor), Philip Kaufman's “Rising Sun” (1993, as Senator John Morton), Adam Rifkin's “The Chase” (1994, as Dalton Voss), Dimitri Logothetis' “Body Shot” (1994, as Dwight Frye), Carl Colpaert's “The Crew” (1994, as Charles Pierce), “Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story” (TV, 1995; as Mike Todd) and Victor Salva's “Powder” (1995, as Dr. Aaron Stripler).
Wise returned to series TV as a regular cast member in the short-lived drama “Second Chances” (1993). He then portrayed Edward Burton on the brief-lived nighttime soap “Savannah” (The WB, 1996-97), and appeared in TV series such as “Star Trek: Voyager” (1 episode, 1998), “Sleepwalkers” (2 episodes, 1997-1998), “Beverly Hills, 90210” (2 episodes, 1998), “Vengeance Unlimited” (1 episode, 1998), “Profiler” (1 episode, 2000) and “Popular” (1 episode, 2000). He next played Jack Mornay in twelve episodes of the TV drama “Resurrection Blvd” (2000-2001), John Wescott in the television movie “Windfall” (2001), and appeared in writer/director Mike Brown's comedy “Two Can Play That Game” (2001), starring Vivica A. Fox and Morris Chestnut. Wise then won a Toronto Planet Indie Fest for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his appearance in Art Altounian's “Closing the Deal” (2000).
From 2002 to 2005, Wise could be seen making guest appearances in the television series “Charmed,” “She Spies,” “Presidio Med,” “Dawson's Creek,” “JAG” and “The West Wing,” and acted in the TV movie “Jane Doe: The Wrong Face (2005).” On the big screen, he played Brian Sanger in “Landspeed” (2002), opposite Billy Zane, starred as a terrified father, Frank Harrington, in the thriller “Dead End (2003), which was written and directed by Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa, costarred with Jonathan Breck, Eric Nenninger, Nicki Aycox, Marieh Delfino, and Billy Aaron Brown in “Jeepers Creepers 2” (2003), where he was cast as a monster-fighting farmer named Jack Taggart, Sr., and supported Shia LaBeouf, Amy Smart and Shiri Appleby in “The Battle of Shaker Heights” (2003). He also starred in the thriller “Sharkskin 6,” teamed up with Jake Busey in the drama “The Rain Makers,” and remarkably played 1950s CBS news anchor Don Hollenbeck on the George Clooney-helmed “Goodnight, and Good Luck,” in which he shared a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (all 2005).
After taking home a B-Movie Film Festival award for Best Actor for his work in “Cyxork 7” (2006), Wise appeared in the movie “The Substance of Things Hoped For” (2006). He did not resume his TV career until he tackled the recurring role of Hal Gardner during season five of the Golden Globe winning series “24,” starring Kiefer Sutherland. It was followed by guest spots in “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “The Closer,” “Bones” (all 2006), “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Shark,” “Six Degrees” and “Burn Notice” (all 2007) and “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” (2008). He then appeared in the films “Peaceful Warrior” (2006), “The Election” (2007), “The Flock” (2007), “Reservations” (2008), “Pandemic” (2008), “One Missed Call” (2008) and “AM1200” (2008).
After leaving “24,” Wise became a regular cast member of the CW supernatural series “Reaper,” playing The Devil. He was on the show from its premiere on September 25, 2007, to the finale on May 26, 2009. For his good acting job, he was nominated for a 2008 Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy. About playing the devil on the show, he stated, “They (the producers) pretty much laid out this character out for me in the writing, how they wanted him to have a sense of humor, that kind of twinkle in his eye and a little bit of charm. I wasn't the standard scary devil and that really appealed to me. I'm a big fan of all the great movie devils, from Walter Huston to Ray Walston to Al Pacino to Jack Nicholson. I admired a lot of their devils and I wanted mine to be somewhat different. It's kind of a combination between a used-car salesman and a game-show host.”
Recently playing Chris Marquette's father in the 2009 film “Infestation” and guest starring as Mitch Langford in a 2009 episode of “Numb3rs,” Wise will play Jack Strongbow and Roger in the comedy films “Stuntmen” (2009, opposite Marc Blucas, Ross Patterson, Chris Tarantino, Carly Pope and Brandon Routh) and “Love at First Hiccup” (2009, with Devon Werkheiser, Scout Taylor-Compton, Tania Verafield and Ken Luckey) respectively. In addition, he is set to star in Michael Stasko's drama “Iodine” (2009) and costar with Josh Meyers and Keong Sim in the comedy “Inventing Adam” (2010).
B-Movie Film Festival: Best Actor, “Cyxork 7,” 2006
Toronto Planet Indie Fest: Best Actor in a Supporting Role, “Closing the Deal,” 2001
Obie: “The Tooth of Crime,” 1983