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Frank Joseph Whaley (born July 20, 1963), an Americanmarker film and television actor known for his roles in independent films.


Whaley was born in Syracuse, New Yorkmarker, the son of Josephine (née Timilione) and Robert W. Whaley, Sr. He is half-Irish and half-Sicilian and grew up in Albany, New Yorkmarker. He has two sisters and an older brother. His father died in the 1990s of health problems related to alcoholism.

Whaley is a graduate of the University at Albanymarker.

In 2001, he married Heather Bucha, an actress and writer, with whom he has two children. They collaborated on the NBC pilot Lloyd of the House, and continue to write together.


Whaley made his film debut in 1987's Ironweed, and performed mostly in made-for-TV movies until 1989, when he appeared in Field of Dreams alongside Burt Lancaster and Kevin Costner, and Born on the Fourth of July alongside Tom Cruise. This 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 assassinationmarker. 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 a college student named Brett, who was gunned down by Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction. Though a short part, the Brett character is popular in movie lore due to a series of infamous questions asked by Jackson's character during the interrogation. Whaley also had a memorable cameo as himself in an episode of The State, singing "We Didn't Start the Fire".

In 1998, he started a regular role on the 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 directorial debut, 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 Award for screenwriting. 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. The film received poor reviews and the New York Times said "the story is transparently banal." He recently starred as the villain in Screen Gems' 2007 horror film Vacancy alongside Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale, and guest starred on the April 10, 2007 episode of Boston Legal where he plays a man who tried to alter the crime scene of a murder his brother committed.



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