Richard “Ricky” Whittle, born 23 November 1981, is an English actor and model from Oldham, England who first came to prominence as a model for Reebok in the early 2000s.
The son of a former Royal Air Force serviceman of West Indian descent, Whittle grew up traveling with his father’s career around the world. A keen sportsman, Whittle represented England and the United Kingdom at youth level in football, American football and athletics. An injury brought about the pursuit of a degree in Criminology at Southampton Institute of Higher Education. He failed to complete his degree but enjoyed playing football and rugby for the University sides while he was studying. Having recovered from a broken leg, Whittle spent his spare time playing running back for the Manchester Titans American Football team. At university, Whittle began modeling, becoming the face of a Reebok campaign in 2000. This brought him to the attention of casting agents for Sky One’s Dream Team who cast him as Ryan Naysmith. Whittle left university to pursue an acting career. Carrying on with his sports ambitions, in the third series, Whittle broke his leg in seven places and was forced into a long hospital stay. The writers wrote a broken leg into the Dream Team script, allowing Whittle a slower recuperation.
In January 2008, Whittle appeared on a celebrity edition of The Weakest Link, reaching the final, but losing out to Crimewatch UK star, Rav Wilding. In 2009, he competed in the BBC reality series Strictly Come Dancing, coming second to sports presenter Chris Hollins. After playing his first gay character on BBC One’s Holby City, Whittle played Calvin Valentine in the Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks until May 2010 when his character was killed off after Whittle decided to depart. In July 2012, Whittle appeared as Charles on season 2 of Single Ladies. He also appeared as Captain George East in Stephenie Meyer and Jerusha Hess’s romantic comedy Austenland, which was completed in 2012. In March 2013, Whittle appeared in the American drama NCIS, guest-starring in the Season 10 episode, Detour. In 2014, he began a recurring role in The 100 as a “Grounder” named Lincoln, and was upgraded to regular status for season 2. On 28 January 2016 Whittle was announced as the lead character, Shadow Moon, in the TV series American Gods.