skip navigation
Frank Whaley

Frank Whaley

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Career Opportunities DVD A teenaged night watchman on his first night on the job gets locked in a store... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Born On The Fourth Of July... Tom Cruise gives the Oscar-nominated performance of his career in "Born on the... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Swimming With Sharks: Special Edition... He's going to change the way we look at movies -- after he makes the morning's... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Crazy Eights DVD Frank Whaley, Traci Lords, Gabrielle Anwar, and Dina Meyer star in director... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Where There's A Will DVD A con artist gets himself conned in the most unexpected way in the sly,... more info $6.99was $6.99 Buy Now

Cherry Crush DVD Jonathan Tucker stars as a high school photographer who falls for a dangerous... more info $7.99was $7.99 Buy Now

Also Known As: Died:
Born: July 20, 1963 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Syracuse, New York, USA Profession: actor, director, screenwriter, producer, musician

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A boyishly handsome actor-turned-writer/director, Frank Whaley entered films as the youthful version of Francis Phelan (played as an adult by Jack Nicholson) in "Ironweed" (1987) and again essayed the teenaged version of another screen icon, this time Burt Lancaster, in the Oscar-nominated "Field of Dreams" (1989). These turns plus his harrowing portrayal of a heroin-addicted Vietnam vet in Oliver Stone's "Born on the Fourth of July" (also 1989) helped him land his first leading role in "Cold Dog Soup" (1990), a bizarre "After Hours"-clone requiring him to perform CPR on an expired hound, which unfortunately ran out of steam halfway through. Whaley continued to shine as a supporting player in Andrew Bergman's "The Freshman" (also 1990), helping Matthew Broderick import a Komodo dragon for the mob, and as guitarist Robby Krieger in Stone's biopic "The Doors" (1991) but stumbled as the likable, lying lead of the John Hughes-written-and-produced "Career Opportunities" (also 1991), an idea insufficient to stretch to feature length.

A boyishly handsome actor-turned-writer/director, Frank Whaley entered films as the youthful version of Francis Phelan (played as an adult by Jack Nicholson) in "Ironweed" (1987) and again essayed the teenaged version of another screen icon, this time Burt Lancaster, in the Oscar-nominated "Field of Dreams" (1989). These turns plus his harrowing portrayal of a heroin-addicted Vietnam vet in Oliver Stone's "Born on the Fourth of July" (also 1989) helped him land his first leading role in "Cold Dog Soup" (1990), a bizarre "After Hours"-clone requiring him to perform CPR on an expired hound, which unfortunately ran out of steam halfway through. Whaley continued to shine as a supporting player in Andrew Bergman's "The Freshman" (also 1990), helping Matthew Broderick import a Komodo dragon for the mob, and as guitarist Robby Krieger in Stone's biopic "The Doors" (1991) but stumbled as the likable, lying lead of the John Hughes-written-and-produced "Career Opportunities" (also 1991), an idea insufficient to stretch to feature length.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  Jimmy Show, The (2001) Director
3.
  Joe the King (1999) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Rob the Mob (2014)
2.
 Janie Jones (2011)
3.
 As Good As Dead (2010)
4.
 Drillbit Taylor (2008)
5.
 Cherry Crush (2007)
6.
 Ruffian (2007)
7.
 Vacancy (2007)
8.
 Crazy Eights (2007)
9.
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began acting in high school
:
Formed rock band the Niagaras with his brother; played drums
:
Thanks to an Education Opportunity Program (for inner-city kids) sponsored by Jimmy Carter, received a stipend, his books and his college education
:
Performed in summer stock
1987:
Feature debut in "Ironweed," playing the youthful version of Jack Nicholson's character
1987:
Appeared in "Soldier Boys," a "CBS Schoolbreak Special"
1989:
Made TV-movie debut, "Unconquered" (CBS) with Dermot Mulroney
1989:
First screen collaboration with Oliver Stone, "Born on the Fourth of July" playing Tom Cruise's best friend, a clean-cut Long Island boy who comes back from a tour in Vietnam as a brain-damaged heroin addict
1989:
Played the young Archie "Moonlight" Graham in "Field of Dreams"; Burt Lancaster was the older version
1990:
First feature starring role, "Cold Dog Soup"
1990:
As co-star of "The Freshman," helped Matthew Broderick's character import a Komodo dragon for the mob
1991:
Portrayed guitarist Robby Kreiger in Stone's biopic "The Doors," starring Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison
1991:
Reteamed with Mulroney for the John Hughes-scripted and produced "Career Opportunities"
1991:
Appeared uncredited as an Oswald impostor in Stone's "JFK"; role cut in released version but restored for director's cut
1992:
First film with actor Ethan Hawke, "A Midnight Clear"
1992:
Reteamed with Nicholson for "Hoffa"
1993:
Co-starred with Robert Sean Leonard and Christian Bale in "Swing Kids"
1993:
Played Lee Harvey Oswald in "Fatal Deception: Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald" (NBC)
1994:
Earned critical success with "Swimming With Sharks" as the hapless assistant to a powerful movie agent (Kevin Spacey, who also co-produced)
1994:
Appeared in Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" as the college student gunned down by Samuel L Jackson
1995:
Associate produced and starred in "Homage," adapted by Mark Medoff from his play <i>The Homage That Follows</i>
1995:
Portrayed Craig Sheffer's brother in TNT's "The Desperate Trail"
1996:
Starred in Showtime original movie "Cafe Society"
1997:
Acted in "My Brother's Keeper" segment of Showtime's "Dead Man's Gun"
1998:
TV series debut as regular on the CBS drama "Buddy Faro"; took the job in order to help finance his feature directing debut ("I was counting on the idea that we'd be cancelled after 12 episodes, and ideally, it was." ¿ <i>Time Out New York</i>, Oct. 14-21, 1999)
1998:
Provided a brilliant cameo as Skee-ball Weasel in the nostalgiac "Went to Coney Island on a Mission From God ... Be Back by Five"
1999:
Feature directorial and screenwriting debut, "Joe the King"; premiered at the Sundance Film Festival; Kilmer portrayed Joe's bad-tempered, alcoholic father, and Hawke played guidance counselor Len Coles; John Leguizamo also acted and served as an executive producer; Camryn Manheim appeared briefly as an abusive teacher straight out of Dickens; film dedicated to his parents
2002:
Returned the favor by appearing in Hawke's directorial debut "Chelsea Walls"
2002:
Reteamed with Hawke as co-star of "The Jimmy Show"; also wrote and directed; screened at Sundance
2007:
Co-starred with Sam Shepard in "Ruffian," an ESPN-produced TV movie based on the legendary racehorse
2003:
Cast as Christopher Wey on "The Dead Zone" (USA Network)
2006:
Cast as paramedic Chuck Sereika in Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center"
2007:
Co-starred as the central villain in the horror feature "Vacancy"
2008:
Acted in the comedy feature "Drillbit Taylor," starring Owen Wilson
2010:
Featured in the crime thriller "As Good as Dead"
2011:
Acted opposite Abigail Breslin in "Janie Jones"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Actors Studio: New York , New York -
State University of New York, Albany: Albany , New York - 1985

Notes

Whaley was one of the co-founders (with Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, and others) of the now-defunct Malaparte Theater Company. He also co-founded the Naked Angels theater group.

On rumors that Val Kilmer had everyone on "The Doors" set call him by his character's name: "Actually, we all stayed in character during the shooting of the movie--except when we had to piss. I didn't have to address Val as 'Jim Morrison', but I did refer to him as 'c--------r' a couple times. Seriously, Val's so amazing in the movie, I've been thinking about changing my name to Frank Whaley-Kilmer." --Frank Whaley quoted in Movieline, c. 1991

"Sherwood Anderson said that no one knows the chair of loneliness more than a child. That's what I remember most about my childhood--being alone all the time, being sad and lonely." --Whaley to Time Out New York, October 14-21, 1999

"I worked with a wide range of directors, and the ones that are the least successful--not from a box-office standpoint, but from my point-of-view--are the ones who knew the least about acting. What they don't acknowledge is that acting's the most important thing on the screen. Whenever I walk away from a movie I love, I remember the performances. With my film, people come up and say 'I loved your film--that kid [Noah Fleiss] is amazing.' And I think that's the key.

"There are very simple ways of handling actors, where you'll get the maximum amount of results. And a lot of directors don't know those little tricks, those ways of doing it--keeping an even keel on the set, keeping them relaxed and comfortable. And allowing them to trust you, the director. In 'Joe the King', the subject matter was emotionally draining. But the actors always knew that I knew where they were going, where they should be going. I think that helped them." --Whaley quoted in Newsday, October 13, 1999

"I really hate film acting. I despise it. I did a couple of movies that were challenging, but for the most part you get up, you go to work and you sit around all day. You smoke and you drink coffee and for four seconds you go in front of the camera and you second-guess yourself all day." --Whaley to Dallas Morning News, October 17, 1999

About trying to get "Joe the King" made: "I was very naive and I thought I could send it to Oliver Stone, Jersey Films, James L Brooks--people that I had relationships with. But they were like, you need to send it to a smaller company. Even Shooting Gallery and Good Machine--it's so hard, it's so hard out there. Even for a guy like me, you'd think would have it easy with a lot of experience in show business. But it was just really, really difficult every step of the way." --Whaley quoted in Indiewire (www.indiewire.com), February 21, 1999

"I wrote about what I knew. I had quite a criminal record before I turned 18. I stole because I needed things, because I grew up very poor. My movie is the Disney version, really, of the brutal environment I grew up in. And yet I consider the movie a love poem to my mother." --Whaley to Jami Bernard in Daily News, October 14, 1999

On casting friend Ethan Hawke in "Joe the King": "Ethan came in 15 pounds overweight and smelling like a cheese sandwich that had been left in a trunk in August. His wife [Uma Thurman] was nine months pregnant, and honestly, I didn't know who was pregnant between the two of them.

"I said, y'know, buddy, you're fat! It's gone right to your butt! You could show 'The Godfather' on that butt! He said, do these pants make me look fat? No, Ethan, it's your BUTT! I hadn't slept much either, but I didn't have a BUTT THE SIZE OF PEEKSKILL!" --Whaley in Daily News, October 14, 1999

Family close complete family listing

father:
Robert W Whaley. Died of alcohol-related illness c. 1989.
mother:
Josephine Timilione. Whaley says she married his father because "she wanted a little danger . . . the pain and pleasure kind of mangled her".
brother:
Robert Whaley. Musician, actor. Older; co-founded band The Niagras with Whaley; had a role in "Joe the King" (1999); also wrote, performed, produced and engineered music for it.

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute