Frank Whaley grew up in Syracuse, New York, and left home at eighteen to pursue an acting career. His older brother Robert originally wanted to be an actor but Frank later became interested in the profession and followed in his brother's footsteps. He not only has a brother but two sisters as well. His brother is the lead singer of the New York based band, the Niagras, and was also the composer for Frank's directorial debut Joe the King (1999). Frank makes his home in New York and is close friends with actor Ethan Hawke who he made friends with on the set of A Midnight Clear (1992).