Ray Wise Biography

(Known for His Lead Role as 'Leland Palmer' in the ABC TV Series 'Twin Peaks')

Birthday: August 20, 1947 (Leo)

Born In: Akron, Ohio, United States

Raymond Herbert Wise, professionally known as Ray Wise, is an American actor, who has been mesmerizing his viewers with his memorable performances in numerous films and television productions since 1969. Beginning his career on stage, he got his first big role at the age of 23, appearing in 950 episodes of ’Love of Life’. Freshly out of college, he was initially rather theatrical. But as the soap opera progressed, he began to appreciate the value of underplaying and became more natural, ready for every kind of role, both in films and television productions, by the time it ended. At the age of 35, he got his first starring role, playing Dr. Alec Holland in ‘Swamp Thing’. Thereafter, he continued to play major roles in numerous films like ‘The Journey of Natty Gann’, 'RoboCop' and ‘Jeepers Creepers 2' as well as in television productions like ‘Twin Peaks’ and ‘Reaper’. Currently active on both the media, his latest film, ‘Beast Mode’ was released in 2018.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Raymond Herbert Wise

Age: 76 Years, 76 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Kass McClaskey (m. 1978), Juliet Burr (m. 1974 - div. 1977)

children: Gannon McClaskey Wise, Kyna Wise

Born Country: United States

Actors American Men

Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Males

Ancestry: Romanian American

U.S. State: Ohio

City: Akron, Ohio

More Facts

education: Kent State University

Childhood & Early Years
Raymond Herbert Wise was born on August 20, 1947 in Akron, Ohio. His father, Herbert F.Wise, was of German ancestry while his mother, Valerie nee Romas, was of Romanian descent. He was brought up as Romanian Baptist.
He was educated at Garfield High School, from where he graduated in 1965. After that, he entered Kent State University and graduated from there possibly in 1969. Thereafter, he moved to New York City, where he began his career on stage.
Continue Reading Below
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.
Major Works
Ray Wise is best known for his role of Leland Palmer, a respected attorney, whose life was shattered when his daughter was murdered, in the 1990-1991 television series, ‘Twin Peaks’. He later reprised the same role in 'Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me' (1992) and ‘Twin Peaks’ (2017).
Family & Personal Life
On 28 December 1974, Ray Wise married Juliet Burr. They had no children and divorced in 1977.
In 1978, he married film producer Kass McClaskey. They together have two children; a son named Gannon McClaskey Wise and a daughter named Kyna Wise. While Gannon grew up to be an actor and writer, Kyna is now an actress and a singer.

Follow Ray Wise On:

See the events in life of Ray Wise in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Ray Wise Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com

People Also Viewed

Tom Cruise Biography
Tom Cruise
Leonardo DiCaprio Biography
Leonardo DiCaprio
Ezra Miller Biography
Ezra Miller
Johnny Depp Biography
Johnny Depp
Jim Caviezel Biography
Jim Caviezel
Dwayne Johnson Biography
Dwayne Johnson
Robert Downey Jr. Biography
Robert Downey Jr.
Gabriel Macht Biography
Gabriel Macht