Bobbleheads and Bordeaux: Life After The Wire

April 18th 2015

We would all like to leave a legacy. However, the idiosyncractic pronunciation of an expletive probably wasn’t the legacy Isiah Whitlock Jr had in mind when he first said “Sheeeeeeeee-it” on screen in his sonorous voice more than a decade ago.

He first put his spin on the s-word word in Spike Lee movies, but he’s perhaps better known for his trademark pronunciation from his days playing corrupt senator Clay Davis in The Wire. While it’s been seven years since the last episode of the gritty Baltimore crime drama screened, Whitlock still gets asked to say the word 365-days a year.

“I go through my daily life with everybody stopping me on the street wanting me to say ‘Sheeeeeeeee-it’. I’m in Venice trying to get a gondola or at the Cipriani and some people will ask me to say it. Wherever I go, it’s like: ‘You’re the guy.'” While Idris Elba – The Wire’s Stringer Bell – has gone on to play Nelson Mandela and been touted as the next James Bond, Whitlock’s reward for starring in one of the best television shows of all time is a little more quirky.

It’s “bizarre”, he admits. But he’s turning bizarre into a bazaar after launching a talking bobblehead that says – you guessed it – “Sheeeeeeeee-it”, complete with his trademarked nine e’s. “Now I can tell people to just go home and press the button on the bobblehead and let him say it.” And if the twitter rumors are true, President Obama, an avowed fan of The Wire, can press the button on his new bobblehead whenever the sheeeeeeeee-it hits the fan.

Besides bobbleheads, there is Whitlock’s other pastime – wine. Whitlock has been interested in wine since he first arrived in New York City and got a job at Morrell wine store. It started a lifelong love affair with wine that has, at times, become a little obsessive. It has even led to an eviction. He started making wine in his New York apartment, so he must have had a bigger apartment than most in the city? “No, I didn’t and I got kicked out so I’m always thinking that’s why my landlord asked me to leave – because it really smelled out the place, you know? I had carboys all over my apartment and things bubbling.

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