Shea Whigham

Shea Whigham
Born Franklin Shea Whigham, Jr.
(1969-01-05) January 5, 1969
Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.
Alma mater State University of New York
Occupation Actor
Years active 1997–present

Franklin Shea Whigham, Jr. (born January 5, 1969), known professionally as Shea Whigham, is an American actor. He portrayed Elias "Eli" Thompson in the HBO drama series Boardwalk Empire.

Early life

Whigham was born in Tallahassee, Florida, the son of attorney Frank and school librarian Beth. The family moved to Lake Mary, Florida when Wigham was five years old.[1][2] He attended Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas, and then transferred to the State University of New York at Purchase, New York, where he was part of a small acting program with only 31 students and a graduating class of eight seniors.[3] After graduating, he co-founded New York City theatre troupe The Rorschach Group with his college roommate Kirk Acevedo, and served as an actor and artistic director with the troupe for three years.[4]


Whigham appeared in one 1997 episode of the television series Ghost Stories before he received a starring role in the 2000 film Tigerland.[3] He went on to appear in the television films Submerged, R.U.S./H., and Paradise before acting in the 2003 film All the Real Girls.[1] Between 2004 and 2006, he appeared in the Japanese film Out of This World, the drama television series Medical Investigation, and the films Water, Man of the House, Faith of My Fathers, Lords of Dogtown, Psychic Driving, and South of Heaven.

Whigham appeared in Pride and Glory and co-starred in the horror film Splinter, the thriller Creek, and the science fiction film Radio Free Albemuth.[2] He had a regular role on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire as Elias "Eli" Thompson, sheriff of Atlantic County, New Jersey. In 2014, he appeared in the HBO series True Detective as disillusioned former minister Joel Theriot.[5] In 2015, he appeared as a police officer in the music video for the Run the Jewels song "Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)".[6]



Year Title Role Notes
1998 Of Love & Fantasy Craig
2000 Tigerland Pvt. Wilson
2002 Bad Company Agent Wells Uncredited
2003 All the Real Girls Tip
2004 Out of This World Russell Reade
2004 Water Daniel West
2005 Man of the House Ranger Holt
2005 Lords of Dogtown Drake Landon
2005 Psychic Driving Ryan Barrett Short film
2006 Wristcutters: A Love Story Eugene
2006 First Snow Vincent McClure
2008 South of Heaven Mad Dog Mantee
2008 Pride and Glory Kenny Dugan
2008 Splinter Dennis Farell
2009 Blood Creek Luke Benny
2009 Killing Room, TheThe Killing Room Tony Mazzolla
2009 Spooner Stan Manfretti
2009 Fast & Furious Agent Stasiak
2009 Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, TheThe Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Justin
2010 Radio Free Albemuth Phil
2010 Barry Munday Donald
2010 Machete Sniper
2010 Conspirator, TheThe Conspirator Capt. Cottingham
2011 Take Shelter Dewart
2011 Lincoln Lawyer, TheThe Lincoln Lawyer Corliss
2011 This Must Be the Place Ernie Ray
2011 Catch .44 Billy
2012 Big Miracle SAR Pilot Conrad
2012 Savages Chad
2012 Silver Linings Playbook Jake
2013 Fast & Furious 6 Agent Stasiak
2013 American Hustle Carl Elway
2013 Wolf of Wall Street, TheThe Wolf of Wall Street Captain Ted Beecham
2014 Non-Stop Agent Marenick
2015 Lila & Eve Detective Holliston
2015 Cop Car Man
2015 Knight of Cups Jim
2016 Star Trek Beyond Teenaxi Leader
2016 Term Life Marty Miller
2017 Kong: Skull Island Post-production
2017 Death Note James Turner Filming
2017 High Wire Act Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Ghost Stories Eric Duke Episode: "Cold in the Grave"
2001 Submerged Capt. Oliver Naquin Television film
2002 R.U.S./H. Odell Tippy Pilot
2004 Medical Investigation Barrett Fidler 2 episodes
2004 Paradise Jeremiah Alcott Television film
2005 Faith of My Fathers Norris Overly Television film
2006 ER Bobby Kenyon 3 episodes
2007 Standoff Andre / Jared Kendall Episode: "Ex-Factor"
2009 Lie to Me Jered Blunt Episode: "Life Is Priceless"
2009 Numb3rs Tom Kardum Episode: "The Fifth Man"
2009 Medium Patrick Wilkes Episode: "New Terrain"
2010–2014 Boardwalk Empire Elias "Eli" Thompson 49 episodes
2014 True Detective Joel Theriot 2 episodes
2015 Agent Carter Roger Dooley 7 episodes
2015 Justified Merrill Episode: "Collateral"
2016 Vice Principals Ray Liptrapp Series Regular

Video games

Year Title Role
2000 Smuggler's Run Jon (voice)


  1. 1 2 "Interview: Shea Whigham". When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Blog. 2 November 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
  2. 1 2 Moore, Roger (27 October 2007). "'Wrist' could be big break". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
  3. 1 2 "An interview with Wristcutters' Shea Whigham". Central Florida Future. 2 November 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
  4. Buchanan, Jason. "Shea Whigham: Biography". Allmovie. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
  5. "Watch The Full, Utterly Spellbinding Sermon By The Tent Preacher From 'True Detective'". Retrieved 2014-07-09.
  6. Camp, Zoe (March 26, 2015). "Run the Jewels and Zack De La Rocha's "Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)" Video Is a Battle Between Cop and Unarmed Black Man". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
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