December 27, 1981
Fort Sumter, South Carolina, United States
Jay Ellis was an American actor who was best known for his recurring roles on the television shows "The Game" (BET, 2006-2015) and "Insecure" (HBO, 2016- ). Born into a military family in Fort Sumter, South Carolina, Ellis traveled a lot as a young boy due to his father's career in the Air Force. Eventually, however, his family settled in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is where Ellis primarily grew up. He was an athletic child and excelled in sports throughout high school, primarily football. It was football that earned him a scholarship to Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. It was during his time at Concordia that Ellis embarked on a career in the entertainment business, first as a professional model and later as an actor. As a model he worked on campaigns for Nike's Air Jordan brand, and quickly found that he enjoyed being in front of the camera. That ease and comfort in front of the camera eventually led Ellis to pursue a career in Hollywood as a film and TV actor. He landed his first TV role in 2005, and by the early 2010s was landing guest spots on shows like "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 2005- ), "NCIS" (CBS, 2003- ), and "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS, 2005-2014). Then in 2013 Ellis nabbed his breakout TV role on the BET comedy-drama "The Game." Ellis appeared on 45 episodes of the series from 2013 to 2015. After his time on "The Game" ended in 2015, Ellis nabbed his next major film role on the HBO comedy "Insecure." The series was a critical hit when it debuted on the network in the fall of 2016.