Robert Wisdom

Robert Wisdom Headshot

Actor

Birth Date: September 14, 1953

Age: 70 years old

Birth Place: Washington, D.C.

Character actor Robert Wisdom played imposing men of authority on both sides of the law in such celebrated television series as "The Wire" (HBO, 2003-08), "Prison Break" (Fox, 2005-09, 2017), "Supernatural" (The WB/CW, 2005- ) and "The Alienist" (TNT, 2018- ). Born Robert Ray Wisdom to Jamaican parents in Washington, D.C., on September 14, 1953, he developed an interest in acting as a senior at Columbia University, but earned a degree in economics and history in 1976 and worked in banking before shifting careers to serve as a producer with National Public Radio.

In the 1980s, Wisdom worked as artistic director for an array of cultural projects before eventually settling into his role as Director of Performing Arts at the Institute for Contemporary Arts in London. He moved solely into acting in the early 1990s, and made his screen debut in an episode of the long-running police drama "The Bill" (ITV 1984-2010). Wisdom returned to the United States in 1993 and worked steadily in character parts in features, including Tom Hanks' "That Thing You Do!" (1996) and John Woo's "Face/Off" (1997), and on television, most notably in recurring roles on the American version of "Cracker" (ABC, 1997-98) and the syndicated "Poltergeist: The Legacy" (1996-99).

In 2003, Wisdom received his most substantive showcase on the celebrated police drama "The Wire." Debuting in its second season as veteran Baltimore major Howard "Bunny" Colvin, he grew disenchanted with the rank-and-file approach to the city's overwhelming drug trade, and created a "free zone" where dealers and addicts could conduct business without police intervention. The decision spawned a drop in crime rates for his district, but when his superiors - who were not consulted in the creation of the free zone - catch wind of the plan, he is demoted and disgraced. Colvin returned in the show's fourth season to establish a similar free zone scenario in the troubled Baltimore school system, which again produces positive results.

Critical praise for his performance led to more high-profile character roles in features, most notably the biopic "Ray" (2004) as pioneering black record label head Jack Lauderdale, and in recurring roles on "Prison Break" as drug lord Norman "Lechero" St. John and as the imperious angel Uriel on "Supernatural." Both performances also earned laurels from viewers and critics, and Wisdom remained an in-demand character player on both the big and small screen, including "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012) and recurring roles on "Nashville" (ABC/CMT 2012-18) as an aspiring mayoral candidate and the HBO series "Ballers" (2015- ) as NFL player John David Washington's estranged father.

In 2017, TNT announced that Wisdom would join the cast of "The Alienist" (2018- ), an adaptation of the Caleb Carr period thriller, with Wisdom cast as a valet who aided psychologist Daniel Brühl in his investigation of a string of murders in 19th century New York.

Credits

AccusedStream

Guest Star
Mitch Becker
Series
2023
61%

The Big LeapStream

Guest Star
Earl St.
Series
2021
100%

A Journal for JordanStream

Actor
Sgt. T.J. Canedy
Movie
2021
39%

Vacation FriendsStream

Actor
Movie
2021
57%

HelstromStream

Actor
Caretaker
Series
2020
27%

The Alienist: Angel of DarknessStream

Actor
Cyrus
Series
2020

The Hot ZoneStream

Actor
Vernon Tucker
Series
2019
57%

The FixStream

Guest Star
Buck Neal.
Series
2019
56%

Motherless BrooklynStream

Actor
Billy Rose
Movie
2019
64%

BarryStream

Actor
Jim Moss
Series
2018
98%

The AlienistStream

Actor
Cyrus
Series
2018
77%

Beast of Burden

Actor
Mallory
Movie
2018

UnforgettableStream

Actor
Detective Pope
Movie
2017
28%

Live Cargo

Actor
Roy
Movie
2016

RosewoodStream

Guest Star
Series
2015
9%

BallersStream

Guest Star
Dennis
Series
2015
72%

12 MonkeysStream

Guest Star
Jeremy
Series
2015
88%

Chicago P.D.Stream

Guest Star
Ron Perry
Series
2014

The Loft

Actor
Detective Cohagan
Movie
2014

NashvilleStream

Actor
Coleman Carlisle
Series
2012
91%

NashvilleStream

Guest Star
Coleman Carlisle
Series
2012
91%

Bright

Actor
Irwin
Movie
2011

Rampart

Actor
Captain
Movie
2011

Blue BloodsStream

Guest Star
Inspector Andre Clifford
Series
2010

NikitaStream

Guest Star
Series
2010
85%

Happy TownStream

Actor
Roger Hobbs
Series
2010
46%

Lie to MeStream

Guest Star
Bonds
Series
2009

A Thousand Suns

Narrator
Movie
2009

The Collector

Actor
Roy
Movie
2009

Burn NoticeStream

Guest Star
Vaughn
Series
2007
88%

Freedom WritersStream

Actor
Carl Cohn
Movie
2007
70%

The Nine

Guest Star
Series
2006
100%

The Hawk Is Dying

Actor
Billy Bob
Movie
2006

Close to Home

Guest Star
Show
2005

How I Met Your MotherStream

Guest Star
McCracken
Series
2005
84%

SupernaturalStream

Guest Star
Series
2005
93%

Prison BreakStream

Actor
Lechero
Series
2005
61%

Grey's AnatomyStream

Guest Star
Series
2005
84%

Mozart & the Whale

Actor
Blume
Movie
2005

Haven

Actor
Mr. Sterling
Movie
2004

Barbershop 2: Back in BusinessStream

Actor
Alderman Brown
Movie
2004
69%

The Forgotten

Actor
Carl Dayton
Movie
2004

RayStream

Actor
Jack Lauderdale
Movie
2004
79%

Killer Diller

Actor
Moker
Movie
2004

NCISStream

Guest Star
Warden Gene Halsey
Series
2003

Our House

Actor
Officer Dan
Movie
2003

Our House

Actor
Movie
2003

DuplexStream

Actor
Officer Dan
Movie
2003
35%

Masked and Anonymous

Actor
Lucius
Movie
2003

The WireStream

Actor
Howard "Bunny" Colvin
Series
2002
94%

The WireStream

Guest Star
Howard "Bunny" Colvin
Series
2002
94%

The Wire FREE

Actor
Howard "Bunny" Colvin
Show
2002

Live From Baghdad

Actor
Bernard Shaw
Movie
2002

Coastlines

Actor
Bob Johnson
Movie
2002

The Agency

Guest Star
Show
2001

Storytelling

Actor
Mr. Scott
Movie
2001

Hollywood Palms

Actor
The Dutchman
Movie
2001

The District

Guest Star
Series
2000

For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story

Actor
Movie
2000

Dancing at the Blue Iguana

Actor
Eddie
Movie
2000

Rocky Road

Actor
Michael Jones
Movie
2000

Wasteland

Guest Star
Show
1999

Law & Order: Special Victims UnitStream

Guest Star
Father Theo Burdett
Series
1999
78%

Judging Amy

Guest Star
Series
1999

The Heist

Actor
Slim
Movie
1999

Mighty Joe YoungStream

Actor
Kweli
Movie
1998
54%

Three Businessmen

Actor
Leroy Jasper
Movie
1998

Dharma & Greg

Guest Star
Series
1997

Cracker

Actor
Det. Danny Watlington
Show
1997

Face/OffStream

Actor
Tito Biondi
Movie
1997
92%

Stir

Actor
Detective Williams
Movie
1997

Poltergeist: The LegacyStream

Guest Star
Series
1996

The Sentinel

Guest Star
Series
1996

Lifeform

Actor
Colonel Jessie Pratt
Movie
1996

Sahara

Actor
Tambul
Movie
1995

ERStream

Guest Star
Dr. Hammond
Series
1994

NYPD BlueStream

Guest Star
Eric Green
Series
1993
83%

News aboutRobert Wisdom