In 1969, Ray Wise debuted in films with ‘Dare the Devil’, appearing in it as David Keller. In the following year, he got his first breakthrough, being chosen to play Jamie Rollins in CBS soap opera ‘Love of Life’, remaining with it till 1976, depicting different stories in around 950 episodes..
Concurrently with appearing as Jamie Rollins, he continued appearing on stage. In 1977, he appeared in two Broadway productions; as Benvolio in Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and as Damis in Molière's ‘Tartuffe’, in 1978 . Later in 1978, he reprised the same role, when ‘Tartuffe’ was adapted as a television film.
In 1981, he was cast in one episode of ‘Lou Grant’, appearing in it in the role of Bart Franklin. In the following year, he appeared as Blair Sullivan in eight episodes of the prime time CBS soap opera, 'Dallas' and as Hal Rummley in 'Days of Our Lives' (1982-1983).
Also, in 1982, he had his first star role, appearing as Dr. Alec Holland in ‘Swamp Thing’. His next major film, ‘The Journey of Natty Gann’, in which he starred as Sol Gann, was released in 1985. Meanwhile, he kept himself busy with numerous episodic works in different television productions.
Continuing to work both on small and big screen, he had his next significant role 1987, appearing as Leon C. Nash in cyberpunk superhero action film, 'RoboCop'. Two years later, he starred as Fred Drummond in ‘Season of Fear’ and as Jack Davis in ‘Race for Glory’.
In (1990-1991), he got his second breakthrough in television, being chosen to play Leland Palmer in ‘Twin Peaks’, giving a memorable performance in eighteen of its episodes. The other significant work of this decade was ‘Savannah’ (1996-1997), appearing as Edward Burton in thirty-four episodes.
Also in 1990s, he appeared in a dozen films. More noteworthy among them were ‘'Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me' (1992), ‘Bob Roberts’ (1992), ‘Grey Knight’ (1993), ‘Rising Sun’ (1993), ‘The Chase’ (1994), ‘Powder’ (1995), and ‘Evasive Action’ (1998).
As the new millennium approached, his popularity increased manifold. In 2000s, he appeared in more than two dozen films, some of his notable movies being ‘Jeepers Creepers 2' (2003), 'The Battle of Shaker Heights’ ( 2003), ‘Good Night, and Good Luck’ (2005), ‘The Flock’ (2007), ‘One Missed Call’ (2008) etc.
In 2000s, his most significant work on television was ‘Reaper’(2007-2009) , appearing as Devil in its 31 episodes. The other was ‘24’ (2006). In it, he appeared as Vice President Hal Gardner in six episodes.
In 2000s, he also did numerous episodic works, more significant among which were ‘Bones’ (2006), ‘Burn Notice’ (2007), 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' (2007), Dollhouse (2009) etc. Voicing for ‘Perry White’ in 'Superman: Doomsday' (2007), an animated superhero film, is another of his achievement.
Continuing to work with zest, he appeared in around 45 films in 2010s, playing the role of Secretary of State in ‘X-Men: First Class’ (2011). ‘Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie’ (2012), ‘Revelation Road: The Beginning of the End’ (2013), ‘God's Not Dead 2’ (2016) were some other significant films.
Equally active on television, he has appeared in numerous television productions in 2010s including 56 episodes of ‘The Young and the Restless' (2014–2016). He is currently starring as Marvin Ellis in ‘Fresh off the Boat’, an ABC sitcom that started in February 2015.