Hello reddit, I’m Ray Wise. I’ve starred in over 85 stage productions, more than 90 feature films and appeared in numerous television series, including Twin Peaks (as Leland Palmer) and Reaper (as The Devil).

I currently star as Skip Reming in season two of NEWSREADERS, which airs Thursday nights at Midnight on [adult swim].

You can follow me on Twitter at @TheRealRayWise


Looking forward to taking your questions this evening. Victoria from reddit will be assisting me. AMA.


Update: Oh my, I wanna thank everybody for their questions and thinking of me and the fact that you've been watching me now for many years, from these questions and remarks! I've been doing this for 44 years, and it sounds like many of you have been watching for a long time. I couldn't be more humbled and more pleased. And as far as NEWSREADERS go, we have 12 great episodes coming up, and I think the next ones are even better than the last. It's one of the funniest things on TV right now, and i couldn't be more pleased to be in it.

Comments: 111 • Responses: 23  • Date: 

IrvingJanis36 karma

Hello Mr. Wise, hope your day is going well. Your portrayal of the Devil on Reaper is easily my favorite in film and television. I'm sure others will ask you about the return of Twin Peaks, which I'm excited for and hope that you will be included in the cast. So instead I was curious what your favorite place to visit has been whether for work or recreation?

IamRayWise30 karma

My favorite place to visit?

That's the question?

Oh, well let's see - first of all, thank you for saying I'm your best devil ever ! I sort of feel the same way, and I say that laughingly, with a certain measure of truthfulness. And one of the favorite places i love in the world is the country of Ireland, particularly on the West Coast, on the Dingle peninsula, and there's a little town there, closely, by the name of Newcastle West, and I have a lot of old friends in that town, and my family and I have enjoyed visiting there on many different occasions. So it's for me one of the nicest spots on earth, and I always enjoy going there.

And then here in California, we have Yosemite- incomparable, unmatchable, so I enjoy going up there too.

Chem-Nerd21 karma

I loved, loved, loved you as the Devil in Reaper. The role suited you well. I wanted to thank you for playing some of my favorite roles (Devil, Leland Palmer); it's always a pleasure seeing you in guest roles (Psych, HIMYM) too. Can't wait to see you in Night of the Living Deb.

Two questions if I can:

  • With the recent news of the return of Twin Peaks I was wondering, has there been any discussions about Reaper continuing in some form (movie, etc)? Long shot I know but thought I'd ask.

  • What's been your favorite guest role (or experience) on TV?

IamRayWise26 karma

Oh my! I would love for Reaper to continue in some form. I so enjoyed playing the Devil - I could have played him for at least 5, 6, 7 more years. And they had story lines that could go on that long, with a wealth of material. But the CW network felt that we weren't within their demographic, so I suppose that was the reason we were cancelled when we were. And I wish that it would've gone on, and if anyone, you know, has a start up campaign to make a Reaper movie or to do a Reaper miniseries or anything like that, please let ME Know about it, and I will do all I can to support you, because i would love to support you any way I can! The Devil was great! And I don't mean it from a religious standpoint, I mean that he was a great character to play and I could do that all the time!

Oh, my! My favorite guest role or experience on TV?

There have been SO many of them, you know? I was Heather Locklear's fiancé on TJ Hooker. I was a stalker after Jamie Lee Curtis in Charlie's Angels. I've had wonderful girlfriends and wives and beautiful relationships with a variety of wonderful actresses, and they were all great experiences. And I suppose my character, Leland Palmer was very dear to me, and the Devil, but I've played some recurring characters on other shows. I played one on the original Dallas, a photographer by the name of Blair Sullivan, and I was the photographer of Little Lucy on Dallas, so they've all been wonderful experiences, and I've worked with great people. It would be impossible to pick one.

The one I would probably pick would be my latest, so that would be what i would pick, whatever it would be. I've just participated in a couple of new shows for ABC and they are both midseason replacements and will be going on in January, so we'll see how that whole thing turns out.

And then of course - I have to add this, because it means a lot to me - playing Skip Remming on NEWSREADERS is a joy beyond joys, because I have patterned him at least in the physical sense after my own father, who passed away several years ago, but he lived to be the ripe old age of 89, I loved him dearly, he was a WWII veteran and my hero, so all the physical gestures and the way he walks and moves his arms - that's all my dad, and my dad was a far cry from Skip as far as being prejudicial towards certain things, but I do so enjoy playing Skip and listening to him vent his feelings about every subject imaginable. And I look forward to all 14 episodes of NEWSREADERS. I believe they've aired 2 already, and I think we have 12 more to go! With some great people, great co-stars on the shows, and they just keep getting better and better.

And if people aren't familiar with NEWSREADERS, it's on [adult swim] and it's a satirical take on news shows like 60 MINUTES and i play a character on the show who's very much like Andy Rooney - with a commentary segment at the end with rants and raves of things that bother him, or how badly the world is going, he always has something to say about everything. And he's a particular favorite character of mine.

Chem-Nerd5 karma

Thank you so so much for the reply. Great to hear some of your highlights, especially with so many to choose from. I'll keep hoping Reaper comes back then in some form - I'll pledge whatever need be to have you back as the Devil, short of my soul (but maybe someone else's if I can).

And I'll be sure to tune into NEWSREADERS now that I know you're there.

IamRayWise10 karma

OH, that's great! that's wonderful!

Thanks for the encouragement and support. I'll try to keep on keepin' on.

bungle12319 karma

Hey, thanks for doing this AMA.

Spoiler Warning:

at what point during the of filming twin peaks did you find out that leland killed Laura Palmer? Before you discovered Leland was the killer, who did you think killed her? Also, will you be returning for the new season in 2016?

IamRayWise58 karma

WOW, that's a lot to answer. I'll take 'em one at a time.

It was right after the Emmy Awards that year, I remember. We were just about ready to shoot the reveal scene where Laura's cousin Maddie gets killed, and David and Mark Frost called myself, Sheryl Lee (who played Maddie) and Richard Beymer (who played Ben Horn) into a little meeting before we started to shoot that show. And it was in that little meeting that David said to me "Ray, it's you, it's always been you," and that's when I found out that my character, Leland Palmer, was the killer of Laura Palmer.

I was momentarily shattered by it, because i didn't want to leave town. And the whole idea of being the killer of my own daughter, even fictionally on the show, didn't sit very well with me. And so I was hoping the whole time we were doing the show that it wasn't going to be me, and I could have made a great case for it to be ANYBODY in that town - the reason Ben Horn was in that meeting was because when we shot that scene, where Maddie was murdered, three different characters, 3 different people killed her that day.

The first was Bob.

The second was Richard Beymer as Ben Horn.

And then the third was me, as Leland Palmer.

So poor Sheryl Lee as Maddie was killed three times that day, by 3 different people. And so after about 12 or 14 hours of shooting, we were all ready for the paramedics, you know, to give us some sort of boost!

kdk12k2k1214 karma

Ray, hi. Thanks for doing this AMA.

It seems as though the cast of Twin Peaks is up for anything in terms of storyline. Was there ever a time when you were reading a script and thought, this is a completely different direction than where I thought it was going? Or did nothing surprise you as the series got going?

How are Mark Frost and David Lynch doing these days? Do you get a chance to talk to them socially or is it strictly a work relationship?

IamRayWise29 karma

Oh well, as I read the scripts, everything surprised me! We didn't know from one week to the next what our characters would be doing, or what direction they were moving towards, and I never dreamed that I would be the focal point of the Laura Palmer murder mystery. It was constantly a surprise, and that's the way we liked it, because in real life, every day is a surprise, isn't it? So in that sense, it was just like real life.

I haven't talked to Mark Frost since TWIN PEAKS, almost 25 years ago, but I have met with David on many occasions since then, just recently for the premiere screening of the missing pieces of TWIN PEAKS for the new blu-ray set. And we were together that evening at the Bigfoot Lodge, and we had a good time with all the other cast members, and I've been to other functions with David, down at the Orange County art museum when they paid tribute to him and he invited me to come down and sit with him at the tribute, and again, we talked for several hours and we've talked often about TWIN PEAKS and our experiences and the rest of the cast members, what they were up to, and if indeed, TWIN PEAKS was still out there in the ether, and David always said the town of TWIN PEAKS is still there, with people in it, leading their daily lives, and perhaps one day we can get back to it.

robinsky113 karma

What was it like working on Robocop?

IamRayWise44 karma

Oh, it was great fun! I mean, me and the gang of bad guys - all of us - we were just like, you know, 12 year old boys blowing up the neighborhood with firecrackers!

There was an entire block in a section of Dallas, Texas, that was scheduled to be demolished, and we shot there for a couple nights, some night scenes where we just blew that entire block up with our explosions. All the store fronts were blown up - you'll remember that particular scene, where we're trying out our new 50 caliber guns on the storefronts of that street in Dallas - and we blew up that whole street and had a WHALE of a time doing it.

And then of course, we went to outside of Pittsburgh to an old steel mill, that was closed down, because they don't make any steel there anymore, it's been shipped out to other countries I believe which is a shame, but in that steel mill was the largest blast furnace on earth.

And so that was a great time - running after Robocop and trying to blow him up in that steel mill! And then of course as my character Leon, I was able to drop a big piece of scrap iron on top of Robo, and knock 'em down, but then his sidekick, the Nancy Allen character, shot a rocket at me up in that crane-booth and blew my character up.

And I still - for that particular explosion, they had put my costume on a dummy that looked a little like me, and so when that crane booth blew up, it looked like I was being blown up, and they gave me that costume off of that dummy after the explosion, and I still have it. It's all in tatters, with all these burn marks all over it, and it's still in my closet.

duckydoom12 karma

Hi, Ray! Two questions: what have you found most fulfilling in your career, and what should I make my husband for dinner?

IamRayWise31 karma


Well, fans come up to the most for Leland Palmer, which made quite an impression on the world I guess - we were seen in 70 countries 20 years ago. And then fans come up and say how much they enjoyed my Devil, in Reaper. RoboCop would be right up there, being in that film. And then there's always the occasional fan who'll come up with something more obscure, like SWAMP THING, another horror film where I played Dr. Alec Holland, who becomes Swamp Thing. I made that movie with Adrienne Barbeau - I did the voice of the Swamp Thing for the second movie as well.

And do you make a good spaghetti sauce? Because i love a good spaghetti sauce, with meatballs. And it makes great leftovers. And just cook up some fresh pasta, it goes a long way, it's very filling and tasty.

seismicor12 karma

Are you a horror fan? If so what are your favourite horror movies?

IamRayWise42 karma

Oh my!

I'm what you would call an EXTREME horror fan!

As a young boy, I grew up in the 1950's and it was a great time for horror, great creature features, great sci-fi with invasions from outer space, and then great, great horror from outfits like HAMMER films where I became enamored with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. And I'm a big fan of DRACULA - I was given a first edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula when I was about 10 years old, and ever since then, I'm half-Romanian, that is part of my heritage, that whole Transylvanian thing, so being half-Romanian, I identified with that whole Dracula myth and the area of the world that it came from.

So I've been an avid horror fan as long as I can remember. I still watch everything that i can on Netflix and anytime someone sends me a film of theirs that's a horror film I always give it a look, and I"m always in the market for making a new one myself, as an actor.

So I'm a big, big horror fan.

Kalvthevalv11 karma

Hi, big twin peaks fan. Was you annoyed when they revealed you to be laura Palmers killer so soon into the series?

IamRayWise50 karma

Was I annoyed by it? That's too mild a word, hahaha! (he said laughingly)

I was extremely, extremely disappointed when I found out that it was my character who was doing the killing on the show. So yeah, I was very disappointed and I wish that it wasn't me. But indeed it was.

And when David told me about it, he told me I would have a great sendoff, a great show, and he explained to me the scene when Leland was dying, and the sprinklers were falling on his face, and he is in Agent Cooper's arms, and Agent Cooper is reciting the Tibetan book of the Dead, and Leland looked down the long tunnel towards the white light and there was his daughter Laura with her arms out, forgiving him ... so the way he explained that scene to me, he made all my disappointment vanish and I was very pleased with the way old Leland went out.

Frajer11 karma

What's it like working on Newsreaders?

IamRayWise14 karma

Oh, working on NEWSREADERS is great fun!

Because number 1, I have to come in and they do this old age makeup on me, and they try to age me from my age to my middle to late 80s, which we feel Skip is somewhere in that area, and I personally think when I finally reach that age that I'll look a little bit the way Skip looks.

I like his silver hair, and he wears his wrinkles well.

And just the wonderful stuff that they give me to say. Some of the most outrageous commentary! And I just love mouthing those words, you know? It's always an easy process, the filming of it, and it's a great group, great crew, and Jim our creator / director is a wonderful guy, so it's a very pleasant experience doing that show.

linksys10 karma

What was it like acting in Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2?

IamRayWise13 karma

Haha yeah! Yes, I got a call to do this video game, and I hadn't really done any of them before, and they said they wanted me to come to Las Vegas, and do this video game called "Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2" in which I would play the President of the US.

And I thought "how is that going to work?"

and they said "We are going to put you, as you are, a live character, into the video game."

And so there I was as the President of the United States in that game, they modeled him rather after John F. Kennedy, very Kennedy-Esque, and they put me up in a big fancy Vegas hotel, the one with all the fountains in front, and I had a great time doing that. It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. And would I do another one? Yes, sure!

Albino_Squirrels10 karma

Hey! I recently finished Twin Peaks and you were great.

Questions: 1) How did you change your hair color so quickly? It was magical. 2) Have you ever seen an albino squirrel. They're quite rare.

Also, if you're ever near Dallas, Texas let's grab some pizza.

IamRayWise25 karma

1) Hahahaha! Well, after Leland Palmer killed Jacques in the hospital bed, it seems that his hair turned white overnight, and I suppose it's because of the tremendous shock of what he had done - you know, the heinous act that he committed. And it took a visit to the beauty parlor here in San Fernando Valley and a major amount of chemicals to turn my dark brown hair into white hair, I remember the initial process took about 4 hours, as I recall, and it wasn't very pleasant, and then every couple of weeks I had to get my roots done, which I had never imagined I would ever have to do in my lifetime! So I had to keep my hair white for 4,5,6 months while we finished up my part of the series, and it just goes to show you, some of the things an actor'll do to play a character that he loves.

2) I believe I've seen photographs of them, but I've not seen one up close & personal in nature. But i once owned an albino parakeet. I had one of those for several years. He was beautiful, white little parakeet with pink eyes, and he was extremely smart, I liked him a lot. And that's my relationship with albinos.

spencerlance6 karma

Have you found it ironic that you play a Priest in Psych and the Devil in Reaper?

IamRayWise20 karma

Yes! I find it extremely ironic, yeah!

And the fact that the priest that I played on PSYCH was conducing an exorcism on a girl that seemed to be possessed by some sort of demon or devil! So there I was doing an exorcism on my own character, he said laughingly, hahaha!

I really enjoyed being on PSYCH with those 2 guys. James is an old buddy of mine, he was a big fan of TWIN PEAKS, so he couldn't wait to get me on that show, and then the following year, he did Dual Spires on PSYCH in which he payed his tribute to TWIN PEAKS - and a lot of the old TWIN PEAKS cast was in that episode.

seismicor5 karma

Hello, Ray. Can you tell us the current state of Jeepers Creepers 3?

IamRayWise9 karma

Ah yes! Well, I know that the script is there, because i have a copy of it. And I know that Victor Salva who is the creator & director of the JEEPERS CREEPERS films, I know that he is trying very hard to finalize the pre-production and then the production schedule for JC3. And I think it's just a matter of getting all the pieces in place, all of the financing in place, but I think it's a great horror series, a great character, the Creeper is a great character, and I believe you will find out that JC3 will pick up right where JC2 left off.

So it'll make a lot of sense to the JEEPERS CREEPERS fans.

Gohagan5 karma

Ray! You were "killer" on twin peaks! Also you were in a couple episodes of star trek, what was being on that set like?

IamRayWise12 karma

Mmm. Yes! I did STAR TREK: TNG in an episode called "Who watches the Watchers?" and I played the character of Liko, and he was a kind of a lower-case Vulcan. He was a Mintaken, I believe. And he looked like a Vulcan, but wasn't as smart as a Vulcan. And I called him a "dense Vulcan." And that was great fun doing that show, with Jonathan Frakes and Patrick Stewart, Frakes was an old buddy of mine, we did theater together in NY back in the 70's, and Stewart is a very fine actor, and so we enjoyed all of our scenes together.

And then I did STAR TREK: VOYAGER and i played this character called "Arturis." And Arturis had this huge head that looked rather like a shrimp, I've always said, and big enough to accommodate at least 2 brains! And he was a fascinating character, who later became the Borg - the Borg took him over at the end - he was assimilated. And that was a great show to do, because I got to be right there in command central of a couple of star ships, and one of them I was operating myself. So it was great fun!

bestfriendrand4 karma

Hello Mr. Wise! Thank you so much for doing this. I must say I loved in you in Twin Peaks, Reaper, and How I Met Your Mother. Please continue to bring us great work?

I just have a simple question for you, what is your favorite go to movie to watch?

IamRayWise12 karma

My favorite go-to movie to watch? Oh my ! Let me think! Haha!

Well, you're going to think this is kind of silly I guess, but one of my favorite comfort films is The Horror of Dracula, starring Christopher Lee. Yeah, I know, it sounds crazy, but watching that movie relaxes me! But there are quite a few movies that I like watching more than once. And i Have a wide range of taste as far as movies go. One movie in particular that I could watch over and over again, it's about 3 hours long, and it's called "Nicolas and Alexandra" about the last Tsar of Russia, before the Revolution, and of course they and all of their daughters and little son were killed by the Revolution. And there's the great character of Rasputin - the mad monk who was the religious adviser to the Tsarina - a lot of great characters in the film, so I enjoy that one over and over again.

Another film I enjoy watching over & over is "Rain Tree County" with Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift, and it's a Civil War Drama, takes place in the South, and I just love the story, the characters, and the epic sweep of the entire movie. I can watch that one again and again.

seismicor3 karma

What is your opinion on the new Robocop? As for me the original is way way better!

IamRayWise16 karma

Well, you know, my opinion about that is: when I found out that they were doing that film, I wished them luck, but I wished they hadn't done it, because I don't think remakes of really good classic movies are necessary. They did do it kind of a little different modern take on it, and of course all of the FX were much more enhanced because of all the advancements in computer-generated FX in the last 25 years, but I like the old FX better. I like those 1987 FX. I like the old RoboCop better.

Of course I'm prejudiced about that, but I think they should have left it alone. But they chose to go ahead and do it, and I wish them all the luck in the world. I hope their movie didn't lose money.

killerclu3 karma

Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA Mr. Wise!

I was wondering how you ended up getting a role on Awesome Show Great Job!, and how it's been being such a huge part or the Tim and Eric fan base?

As a side note, thank you so much for making myself and all the T&E fans out there laugh!

IamRayWise13 karma

Yeah, well, you know, it turns out T&E, in particular Eric, were big fans of TWIN PEAKS - and my character of Leland Palmer! So when they called me in to do their show, they told me how much they had enjoyed TWIN PEAKS, so that sealed the deal. Anytime I can be flattered to that degree, I'm willing to give it a chance (he said laughingly).

And then I did their show, and I did their movie, and I also did a film called "Wrong Cop" and Eric Wareheim played a character in that movie, as did I, I played a police captain in that film, and at the premiere, I got together with Eric and another fan of TWIN PEAKS by the name of Marilyn Manson. And we all hung out that night, and had a good time, and we all sat together in the theater, watched the movie, had no idea he was such a big fan, and we had pictures taken together, I'm sure you can find those online, so I have a great relationship with Tim & Eric.

suaveitguy3 karma

Mad Men, Twin Peaks, Larry Sanders. Three landmark television series. In your experience, what did they have in common that made them that way?

IamRayWise11 karma

Oh my! Just great writing. Great writing. And I say that for just about any project that's good and has merit. It all boils down to the writing. And when the writing is great, the show is great. In particular, LARRY SANDERS which had the genius of Garry Shandling behind it, the writers on that show followed suit, they were great, and i played Larry's lawyer Lloyd.

And MAD MEN, wonderful writing. Matthew - wonderful writing - and it all took place in the 1960s and I was one of the few actors on the show who lived THROUGH the 60's, most of them were born afterwards. It was great to step back in time, and walking around those offices and apartments with all the furniture - it was great to step back in time.

And TWIN PEAKS of course - the writing, which was the greatest of all, the best of all - starting with Mark Frost, and then with his co-writers, the writing was just so beautifully layered, every line had 2-3 different meanings, everything was very layered, and very complex. And that's beautiful writing.

Kozbee3 karma

How fun is it working on NEWSREADERS. Would you do more adult swim shows besides NewsReaders and Tim & Eric?

IamRayWise12 karma

Oh absolutely yeah! I would love to do Rob Corddry's other show, CHILDRENS HOSPITAL I believe it's called? And I'm open - I think [adult swim] is the way to go! I love all of their programming, they are just so smart and so with-it, with what's going on today. I'm crazy about [adult swim] and anytime Tim & Eric ask me to do something for them, I jump at the chance.

I did their Billion-Dollar Movie, and I did that music video for Eric, for the group Beach House, the song was called "Wishes," and you can google that and watch that. It's a pretty far out music video. So yeah, [adult swim] is great.

dudeabides873 karma

loved your acting in the season two episode of twin peaks when it's revealed you are bob/Leland Palmer. the scene in the police department basement gave me chills. how did you prepare for such an intense scene?

IamRayWise12 karma

Oh, wow. you know...

That's a rough one to answer.

Some of those scenes you know, I had to go off into a dark corner and stare into it for 15 minutes to get my head into the right place to do some of those things i had to do on the show. Other times, I could joke around on set. It depended on what was going on in a particular scene as to how I could prepare myself to do it. It varied. And in the final analysis, it would be anything that i could do to arrive at the place where i had to be at the beginning of that scene, I would do it. It was a variety of methods. Some of those wear on you a little bit.

You have to be able to know how to handle those things.

That's the job of the professional actor.

suaveitguy2 karma

Anyone people confuse you with on the street? e.g. Christopher McDonald?

IamRayWise7 karma


No! They don't really confuse me for Christopher, but I've had several people tell me that I look a little like him, or maybe if they see one or the other of us in a film, they might think we're the other one mistakenly. So I guess we do sort of look a little bit alike, and I think he's a very handsome man (he said laughingly).

seismicor2 karma

How do you choose your projects?

FrankSheeran2 karma

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this and for your great role on the Kroll Show. We're watching the third episode of Twin Peaks in my History Of American TV class tomorrow.

Did you have a favorite song among the ones you sung in the second season of the show?

IamRayWise9 karma

AH! Did i have a favorite song? I liked all of the songs - when I'm driving around in my convertible - the song "Come on get happy" that I did at the doctor's house, at the dinner, a young gal accompanied me on the piano who later turned out to be a very popular and famous actress by the name of Alicia Whitte - my favorite song though, would have to be "Getting to know you" from the KING & I which I sang in The Great Northern to Ben Horne and the Piper Laurie character was also listening, and I sang it on our little stage there, and I think I did a half-decent job. Leland had a kind of a nice tenor baritone voice, and he of course, always had visions of doing a Broadway show, I think.