Actor Chris Ellis

Christopher Ellis (born April 14, 1956) is an American character actor.

Early life

Ellis was born in Dallas, Texas.[citation needed] He grew up in Frayser, a suburb of Memphis, in a middle class/working class area. He always wanted to be an actor because of what he saw on television.

It took him seven years to finish college however, because “I have always been shiftless”. During those years Chris became involved in community theatre in Memphis, Tennessee, where “I did and do still think the quality of the work has always been quite good”. By the time he moved to New York, he had worked with many excellent actors in about two dozen plays, classical and contemporary. “I cannot imagine what might have supplanted that background for a newcomer in New York.”


His first part in either television or film came in 1979, where he played a truck driver in the television movie The Suicide’s Wife, which starred Angie Dickinson. The role resulted in little further work.[citation needed] After working in regional theater for a year or so, Ellis did not work for about ten years. During that time he lived in “bone-grinding poverty” in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen. In one nine-month period of 1987, Ellis accepted 102 dinner invitations. “I don’t know why they kept arriving, nor why I counted them, though I do know why I accepted them.”

In 1990, a break came when he got a part in Days of Thunder. This seemed to jump-start Ellis’s career[citation needed] as parts in My Cousin Vinny, Addams Family Values and Apollo 13 as former NASA Mercury Seven astronaut Deke Slayton. He began picking up credits on well-known television series including Melrose Place, NYPD Blue and The X-Files.

After working with Hanks on Apollo 13, the two worked together on That Thing You Do, the television miniseries From the Earth to the Moon and Catch Me If You Can. Ellis played fictional NASA Mission Control when he played a flight director in 1998’s Armageddon.

Additional Ellis appearances include Bean: The Movie, Home Fries, Jessabelle, Gospel Hill, October Sky, Live Free or Die Hard, Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes and Transformers. His television credits also include The West Wing, Ghost Whisperer, Chicago Hope, The Pretender, Alias, JAG, CSI: NY, Burn Notice, Cold Case, Veronica Mars and Political Animals.

He appeared in three season one episodes of Millennium as group member Jim Panseayres. He established a reputation for portraying Southern lawmakers or serious military or police-type characters. He played a priest in The Dark Knight Rises (2012).

He appeared in Criminal Minds as Sheriff Jimmy Rhodes. He had two guest appearances in NCIS as Gunnery Sergeant John Deluca. Ellis’s appearance in the season 1 episode “The Curse” was uncredited while his second and final appearance in the season 2 episode “The Bone Yard” was credited.



Year Title Role Notes
1990 Days of Thunder Harlem Hoogerhyde
1992 My Cousin Vinny J.T.
1993 Ghost in the Machine Lieutenant
1995 Apollo 13 Deke Slayton
1996 Sticks & Stones Coach Osterman
1996 That Thing You Do! Phil Horace
1997 Con Air BOP Official Grant
1997 Bean Detective Butler
1997 Sparkler Buddy #1
1997 Wag the Dog M.P. Officer
1998 Max Q Bob Matthews
Godzilla General Hunter Anderson
Armageddon Flight Director Clark
1999 October Sky Principal Turner
2000 The Watcher Detective Hollis Mackie
2001 Daddy and Them Dewey
2001 Domestic Disturbance Detective Warren
2001 Planet of the Apes Commander Karl Vasich
2002 Love Liza Patriot Model Aeronautics Clerk
2002 Catch Me If You Can Special Agent Witkins
2003 The Bus Stops Here Self-Centered Man At Bus Stop Short film
2005 The Island Aces & Spades Bartender
2005 The Devil’s Rejects Coggs
2005 Fun with Dick and Jane Grand Cayman Bank Vice President
2006 The Darkroom Jackson
2006 Believe in Me Jim Stovall
2007 Transformers Admiral Brigham
2007 Live Free or Die Hard Scalvino
2008 Crazy Glen, Carousel Manager Uncredited
2008 Gospel Hill L. Donn Murray
2009 G-Force FBI Director Credited as Chris Ellis, Jr.
2012 The Dark Knight Rises Father Reilly
2013 Grace Unplugged Pastor Tim Bryant
2014 The Guest Hendricks
2014 Jessabelle Sheriff Pruitt
2015 McFarland, USA Coach Jenks Credited as Chris Ellis, Jr.
2016 Trigger Patrick Short film
2017 The Show Keller
2017 Pitching Tents Principal Don Bishop
2017 Amelia 2.0 Senator Thafdeus
2018 What Still Remains Harvey
2018 The Oath Hank Creason
2019 Silo Mr. Adler


Year Title Role Notes
1979 The Suicide’s Wife Truck Driver Television movie
1982 Rascals and Robbers: The Secret Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn Clown Television movie
1983 Chiefs Bobby Patrick Episode: “Part 3”
Television miniseries
1993 NYPD Blue Marshal Episodes: “Brown Appetit” and “Emission Accomplished”
1994 In the Line of Duty: The Price of Vengeance News Vendor Television movie
1996 Murder One Mr. Switzer Episode: “Chapter Eleven”
1996 Innocent Victims Alan Hallis Television movie
1996 The X-Files Sheriff Lance Hindt Episode: “Quagmire”
1996 Space: Above and Beyond Admiral Stenner Episode: “… Tell Our Moms We Done Our Best”
1996 If These Walls Could Talk Crowd Leader Segment: “1996”
Television movie
1996 Her Costly Affair Wes Television movie
1996 Millennium Jim Penseyres 3 episodes
1997 The Pretender Daniel Crockett Episode: “Mirage”
1997 Chicago Hope Secret Service Agent Bill Erskine Episode: “The Day of the Rope”
1998 The Pentagon Wars General Keane Television movie
1998 From the Earth to the Moon Bob Parker Television miniseries
Episode: “Le voyage dans la lune”
2002 First Monday Mr. Patton Episode: “Strip Search”
2002 The Practice Mr. Blain, Zoning Board Chairman Episode: “Neighboring Species”
2002 Alias Agent Chapman Episode: “The Counteragent”
2003 Lucky Unknown Episode: “The Tell”
2003–2004 NCIS Gunnery Sergeant John DeLuca Episodes: “The Curse” and “The Bone Yard”
2004 JAG Detective Kush Episode: “Good Intentions”
2004 Line of Fire Vigs Episode: “The Senator”
2004 Helter Skelter Sergeant Whiteley Television movie
2004 Tiger Cruise Captain Anderson Television movie
2005 CSI: NY Vincent Williams Episode: “Dancing with the Fishes”
2006 Criminal Minds Sheriff Rhodes Episode: “The Tribe”
2006 The West Wing Congressman Fields Episode: “Requiem”
2006-2007 The Unit Congressman Bruce Gelber Episodes: “Report by Exception” and “Pandemonium: Part 1”
2006 Ghost Whisperer Captain Ken Nilsen Episodes: “Free Fall” and “The One”
2006 Vanished Shelton Episode: “The Velocity of Sara”
2007 Veronica Mars Reverend Ted Capistrano Episode: “There’s Got to Be a Morning After Pill”
2007–2008 Burn Notice Virgil Watkins Episodes: “Unpaid Debts” and “Rough Seas”
2009 Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Hayes Episodes: “Today Is the Day: Part 1” and “Today Is the Day: Part 2”
2009 The Office Former Congressman Chris O’Keefe Episode: “Shareholder Meeting”
2010 Zeke and Luther ‘Buzz’ Episode: “Rocket Men”
2010 Justified Douglas Cooper Episode: “Riverbrook”
2011 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Warden Clinton Malton Episode: “The List”
2013 Warehouse 13 Colonel Arnold Cassell Episode: “What Matters Most”
2015 Murder in the First Judge Mitchell Ellis 6 episodes
2015 K.C. Undercover Christos Episodes: “Runaway Robot: Parts 1 & 2”
2017 Hand of God Principal Matt Wasser Episode: “Telling Me Your Dreams”
2018 Young Sheldon Marty Steinbecker Episode: “Family Dynamics and a Red Fiero”
2020 9-1-1: Lone Star Derek Poole Episode: “Studs”

External Links

Actor Chris Ellis – Wikipedia

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