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"Folks call me Ellis. I run an auto shop with a couple of my buddies. We're also in a band. I play bass."
―Ellis, introducing himself
"Kill all sons of bitches. That's my official instructions."
"He's like a five year old. With guns. And a comprehensive grasp of every swear word in the English language."

Ellis (also known as El) is one of the four playable Survivors in Left 4 Dead 2. He is the youngest of the group.

A junior mechanic by trade in the city of Savannah, he presents himself as a goofy, beer-loving country guy with an unsophisticated and sometimes naive world view.

According to Chet, from Valve, he is "extremely excited" about everything, like managing to visit a concert and being able to kill a lot of zombies, occasionally doing both at the same time, like in the Dark Carnival finale.

Personality-wise, Ellis is open, friendly, inclusive and extremely optimistic, similar to Louis from the first game. In common with most young men, he is a risk taker and believes himself to be invincible.

He is also easily distracted, often breaking into rants about things that have nothing to do with the current situation: far-fetched stories about his friend Keith and indulging in a flight of fantasy about marrying Zoey and taking her off on a cross-country road trip - all at the most inconvenient of times.

Ellis' facial features are based on Jesy McKinney and he is voiced by Eric Ladin.

Official Description

Ellis "El"
Ellis photo.png Age: 23
Hometown: Savannah, GA
Ellis is a mechanic with a love of life, a firm belief in his own immortality, and the ability to treat any setback as a fun dare to impress his friends. Born and raised in Savannah, Ellis divides up his time working at the local garage, hanging out with his buddies, and dropping by for Sunday dinners with Mom—why’d anybody want to live anywhere else?

Then the zombies had to go and spoil it. Now Ellis is looking for new things to occupy his time, and finding plenty. It turns out the zombie apocalypse is one big dare, and there’s no shortage of crazy stuff he can try to impress his new buddies.[1]

Relationships with other Survivors

WARNING: The following is conjecture and may not be considered canon.

Left 4 dead 2 conceptart GodJy thumb.png

Ellis' irrepressible optimism leads to some mixed relationships with the other team members, who cannot figure out whether Ellis is genuinely oblivious to the danger they face or has a highly resilient, strong-willed personality which he chooses to mask behind a lighthearted surface persona.

Whatever is supposed to be the truth, Ellis presents to his fellow team members the view that the Zombie Apocalypse is a thrill-laden adventure while his open and friendly nature allows him to form affectionate bonds with his teammates effortlessly. Ellis is quick to claim everyone as his friends, as he will sometimes say, "This is what friends are for," when using a med-kit, or will tell a fallen teammate, "I ain't leavin' you!" and he mourns the most when any member of the group dies. In overall terms, Ellis can be viewed as the group's little brother.

Although his apparent obliviousness to the gravity of the situation implies that he is rather naive or even unintelligent, this view is incorrect: he is not stupid, as he proves many times over in combat and most notably when he comes up with the plan of using Jimmy Gibbs Junior's car to escape the mall.

Coach and Ellis, both being natives of Georgia, get along well together and have a shared useful understanding of local culture and geography, which enables them to navigate Savannah and to make life-saving connections to Jimmy Gibbs Junior, the Midnight Riders, and the Whispering Oaks Amusement Park. However, being true to his profession, Coach is inclined to treat Ellis as an immature rookie team member on many occasions.[2] While he seems to care about the kid, he is not above making at least one condescending judgment about Ellis not being right in the head or telling the original Survivors (in The Passing) that Ellis can be left behind to make room for them—though Coach is probably joking.
Nick generally patronizes Ellis and makes fun of him on several occasions, most particularly in the early campaigns, when Nick does not as yet have much respect for Ellis' fighting ability. For example, when the player looks at Ellis when playing as Nick and uses the vocalize button, sometimes Nick will say Ellis' name in a mocking southern accent. There is never any outright aggression in Nick's stance and this could be construed as simple alpha-male banter designed to put Ellis in his place in the pecking order. In return, Ellis never takes offense and even seems to look up to Nick a bit, starting conversations with him such as having the same suit or sometimes being excited at Nick shooting the helicopter pilot. Once his position in the group is secure, Nick will begin to compliment Ellis on his shooting or engage him in small talk such asking if the Midnight Riders are any good.[3]
Although it may seem that Nick is less caring toward the younger man, he has a soft spot for Ellis, as well; if Ellis dies, Nick will sometimes apologize for his behavior.[4] Ellis is always sad to see Nick die. The only time Ellis is really angered by Nick occurs in an argument over the relative merits of horses for riding or as food. Ellis also may sometimes call the Spitter Nick's mom or his ex-girlfriend. Overall, Ellis sees Nick as a very good friend, as in The Passing, when he suggests that the two of them get a tattoo with Bros on it or when he responds to Nick's exclamation of "I hate you, Ellis" with "Well I still like you, Nick."
Rochelle is the most forbearing toward Ellis, referring to him as sweetie whenever Ellis trails off into one of his long-winded stories about Keith. Although Rochelle seems to have a more realistic grasp of the situation and often sides with Nick, she never patronizes Ellis and is always patient with him.[5] Much of this can be attributed to the fact that she is some years older than Ellis, better educated, is used to dealing with different classes of people in her professional media career, and has more world experiences. Ellis is unfailingly polite toward Rochelle, referring to her with the outdated Miss honorific throughout the first Dead Center chapter. Rochelle perceives Ellis as a non-threatening, what-you-see-is-what-you-get character, and this explains why Ellis is the only one who is able to make her laugh. Overall, theirs is a big sister–little brother relationship, and this is why Rochelle stands up to Nick when he picks on Ellis' crush on Zoey and tells Ellis that in order to win Zoey's heart, "You just be your sweet self." He does tend to be closer to Rochelle than his fellow teammates.
Ellis seems to like Francis. He refers to him as a cool guy a number of times and believes he is trustworthy. He takes Rochelle's joke about having respect for him lightheartedly. He and Francis will even talk about cars and motorcycles until they are stopped by Zoey. Both of them also believe that if there are zombies, there must also be vampires and mummies. Their only conflict comes over Jimmy Gibbs Jr., who Francis either believes to be a guy or a dog who sold tacos.[6][7] If Nick or Coach mentions that Francis will probably steal Jimmy Gibbs Jr.'s car, Ellis repeats, "I will kill him," and tells the other Survivors that their mission to New Orleans has changed and that Francis is now their target.
Ellis has a huge crush on Zoey. He considers it love at first sight.[8] Coach and Nick tease Ellis about liking Zoey, but Rochelle defends him. Ellis states that he is a nervous wreck when thinking about Zoey and will even tell the others he wants to marry her.[9][10] At the beginning of The Passing when Ellis tries to talk to Zoey, he will sometimes stutter and ask someone else to talk to her because he is so nervous.[11] When leaving, Ellis will show sadness at having to leave Zoey and wishes to see her again.[12] To some extent, Zoey reciprocates this attraction but not to the same degree as Ellis. On their first encounter (when Ellis crumbles into tongue-tied, love-struck embarrassment), she is never anything other than all business. However, at the end of the campaign, Zoey thaws somewhat and may wistfully wonder if she will ever see Ellis again or whether it would have been a better idea to team up with Ellis' group.
Ellis and Louis get along quite well. Sharing their enthusiasm and optimistic attitudes, they are quick to wish each other the best. Louis finds Ellis funny when Francis and Nick begin to argue. Louis also feels Ellis will definitely make it to New Orleans, praising him as he leaves. Both seem to be avid video game fans, as Louis refers to Counter-Strike & Half-Life, and Ellis to Team Fortress 2 in at least one of their lines.

Quotes and Captions

See: Ellis/Quotes


  • Ellis' T-shirt can be unlocked via achievements for Xbox 360 avatars after winning 10 games of Versus mode.
  • The logo on his T-shirt is a "Bullshifters" logo. Correspondence with the developers led to an email reply[13] from Andrea Wickland, the person responsible for the design.
    The backstory behind the T-shirt spawns from Ellis' love for trucks. We came up with the idea that Ellis and a group of his high school buddies started up their own truck club, which may or may not still exist, and named themselves the Bullshifters with a logo to boot. A play on words, if you hadn't already guessed: "shifters" referring to cars/trucks, "bullshifters" referring to... well, you get the idea. (Valve's genius writer Erik Wolpaw gets all the credit for that one.)
    As for the art, Big Daddy Roth is the influence. He's an artist that is notorious for his motorhead appeal. His style was the obvious one for the shirt design.[14]

Ellis at early builds of the Left 4 Dead 2 beta and Ellis at his look at E3 and Comic-Con versions.

  • According to one of his lines upon obtaining a Katana, Ellis took karate lessons.
  • In early designs for Ellis, his cap has the Cross of Saint George on it, this may indicate that at one point in his design stage, he was to be English rather than American.
  • Ellis' tattoo on his right arm resembles Lewis' tattoo, a character in the game, Primal, on his right arm.
  • Ellis is the only character to hold a Pistol or Magnum with one hand. Coach and Rochelle also do this when their health is below 40, but this is due to them being in pain or tired.
  • Ellis will frequently reference other games made by Valve, including Counter-Strike, Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life.
  • Ellis is apparently a Roman Catholic. This is assumed because of his remark about Nick's suit: "I had one just like that. At my first Holy Communion in second grade." Another possibility is that he is a member of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (which is a part of the Anglican Communion). The Episcopal faith also believes in the sacrament of Holy Communion, and the Episcopal Church has a significant membership in the South, including Savannah, Georgia. The Anglican church also carries out a similar procedure to the communion called Eucharist.
  • Ellis has many stories to share, most involving his friend Keith in his almost fatal accidents. However, one story he tells in The Mall involves another friend of his, Dave. He tells no other story about him.
    • Usually after getting hit Ellis stops talking, but on rare occasions he won't stop, resulting in hilarious effects such as Ellis getting hit with a Tank's rock and still telling his stories about him and Keith.
  • Ellis' line "Die, die, my darlings, die, die, die!" is the same as the lyrics to the song Die, Die My Darling by The Misfits and covered by Metallica. Another line of Ellis' is "I ain't no goddamn sonofabitch" is a line used in the song Where Eagles Dare by The Misfits. Thus it is possible that Ellis, or at the very least someone at Valve, is a big Metallica and/or Misfits fan.
  • Ellis has apparently been interested in firearms since a very young age, according to one of his lines when picking up an assault rifle: "Man, I've wanted this rifle since I was nine." Interestingly enough, he shows apathy when using a heavy machine gun. He has also claimed to learn how to shoot a gun before he could walk.[15]
  • When Ellis picks up a chainsaw, he says "Man, if I lose my hand, I'm stitchin' this thing onto the stump", a reference to the cult classic horror movie series Evil Dead, wherein the main character, Ash Williams, replaces his severed right hand with a chainsaw after he is forced to cut it off due to evil spirits possessing it. It could also be a hint towards the video game Madworld , where the player character is an ex-marine with a chainsaw on their arm.
  • Ellis calls the helicopter whirly-bird likely a reference to Day of the Dead directed by George A. Romero.
  • Ellis used to run an auto repair shop together with his friends before the outbreak. They were also in a band in which Ellis played bass.
  • Ellis' cap carries the same symbol as a scrap metal removal poster seen in The Parish.
  • Ellis in Hard Rain

    Occasionally, when a Jockey jumps on Coach's back, he may mistake the Jockey for Ellis, possibly due to Ellis' goofy behavior. Ellis, for obscure reasons, never replies upon the former doing so.
  • Ellis apparently plays Team Fortress 2, another Valve game, as a community line added in The Passing has him stating that a situation is just like Team Fortress 2, similar to Louis' "Oh man, this is just like Counter-Strike!" This line was probably made for the Badwater Basin custom campaign, which was featured on the official Left 4 Dead blog.
  • In the Zombie Survival Guide Trailer, Ellis is the only one being directly attacked/targeted by the Special Infected (mainly the Jockey, Spitter, Charger, and Smoker), but he doesn't seem hurt in any way besides fatigue.
    • During this trailer, Ellis is usually carrying a Grenade Launcher.
    • Also during the trailer, he was shown to carry multiple primary firearms at the same time (Sniper Rifle and Grenade Launcher on the back and Combat Shotgun in hand. He also briefly carried a Tactical Shotgun).
    • The only melee weapon Ellis carries in the trailer is a Crowbar.
    • He loses all of the weapons he carries, though how he lost his Grenade Launcher is unknown. His Sniper Rifle is taken by a Common Infected, he dropped his Tactical Shotgun when a Jockey rode him and he dropped his Combat Shotgun when a Charger pummeled him. However, in the ending elevator ride, after Ellis is back on his feet, Rochelle hands him the Grenade Launcher.
  • In The Passing, Ellis refers to Jimmy Gibbs Junior's car as Jimmy Gibbs (alternately with Jr. added), personifying the car itself.
  • Valve's in-game blog revealed the poll results of Thursday 22nd's survey on the community's favorite Left 4 Dead 2 character; for Xbox 360 users, Ellis was first with 43% of the vote, while for PC users, Ellis and Nick shared first place, getting 33% of the vote each. The results were also posted on the official site.[16]
  • When activating the jukebox, Ellis will sometimes say "Aaay!" in reference to the character Fonzie from the American sitcom Happy Days.
  • When boarding a rescue vehicle, Ellis may sometimes yell "Run to Jimmy Gibbs Jr.!" even if it is not the racecar as seen in The Atrium or The Port.
  • Ellis is the only Survivor to mention "Black and White mode" when he is near death. He will state "I hurt so bad, I don't even see right,", showing that he (and the others) may really have bad vision like this near death or that his vision may be blurring slightly as tends to happen when someone is close to losing consciousness.
  • Apart from Keith, Ellis has some other buddies; Paul (Keith's brother) and Dave are the only ones known so far.
    • Ellis also mentions his grandfather in one of his stories in The Parish.[17]
  • On The Hotel in the elevator, Ellis will sometimes mention that he armored up a truck to be 100% zombie-proof and tried to drive away. He then mentions that it was only 99% and that the 1% tore the truck apart (Either by a Tank or by slamming too many Infected with it as seen on Jimmy Gibbs Jr.'s Stock Car).
  • Sometimes, Nick will (likely as a way to poke fun at Ellis) call him "Overalls", the same as one of the names he uses when seeing a Charger. However, contrary to this, if one were to inspect the texture files AND the model of Ellis, it appears that he is wearing coveralls, a one-piece mechanic jumpsuit, rather than a set of overalls. This would also make sense because Ellis was a mechanic.
  • On the default poster for maps and campaigns without a known poster, Ellis still wears his clothes from the beta rather the retail one.
  • Despite one of his responses when picking up the Baseball Bat, Ellis doesn't wear a watch.
  • Upon seeing Rochelle kill a Special Infected, he may say "Well Goddamn, Annie Oakley", which is a reference to Annie Oakley, the American sharpshooter.
  • On The Sacrifice teaser site, Ellis' hat makes a cameo appearance on the lower left corner of the page.[18] This is because his hat is now an unlockable hat in Team Fortress 2, in celebration of The Sacrifice's release. It, along with the Frying Pan, are given to Team Fortress 2 players who purchase a copy of Left 4 Dead 2.
    • Ellis' hat is the second hat in the Left 4 Dead universe to make it into the game, the first being Bill's Hat.
  • Original Concept Art for Ellis shows that he was originally going to wear a John Deere hat, but the hat was changed, likely for licensing reasons.
  • Before August 26, 2011, a glitch would occur where Coach and Ellis do not speak until Nick is revived, whether it be via a rescue closet or defibrillator. This was patched thereafter.
  • Ellis, out of any Survivor in their group, seems to possess substantial knowledge about Japanese culture. This is most evident upon obtaining a Katana; he frequently references ninjas upon doing so and jokingly remarks to the others to let him know if they find shurikens (or the way he puts it, "throwing stars") or nunchucks along the way. As mentioned earlier, Ellis also knows karate, a martial art from Japan, although he is never seen fighting Infected with it in-game.
  • He is referred to as "mechanic" in the game's files.
  • Ellis is somewhat notorious for not being able to properly name the Special Infected and calls them odd names, possibly due to haste or forgetfulness. For example, he may call the Charger "One arm" and the Tank "Big thing!".
  • Ellis is similar to Nick Ramos of the Dead Rising series. They are both young mechanics and risk takers who are sometimes naive. Also, both find a tough, feisty, and cynical young woman attractive (Zoey for Ellis, Annie for Nick).



  1. http://www.l4d.com/survivors/ellis/
  2. "Man, sometimes it feels like we're baby-sitting, don't it?" --Coach
  3. *in response to Ellis pointing out the Midnight Riders* "Never heard of ’em. They any good?" --Nick
  4. "Hey, Ellis, you know all that shit I was saying? I was just joking."
  5. "Well, he is making the best out of a bad situation...." --Rochelle
  6. "He sold them all the time; he was a great taco man." --Francis
  7. "That's amazing! You mean this car used to belong to the...taco dog?" --Francis
  8. "And it was love at first sight. The other four seconds were gravy." --Ellis
  9. "You know what? This got me thinkin'. I should totally marry that girl." --Ellis
  10. "Ro, it's the zombie apocalypse. First-datin' days are over. Nick, by the way, I'm gonna have to borrow your suit 'cause we're skippin' right to the marriage, brother, then we're goin' cross country. Just her, me, and the Jimmy Gibbs Jr."
  11. "Shut up, Nick, I am a nervous wreck as it is!" --Ellis
  12. "Man, I sure hope I get to see her again." --Ellis
  13. http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1041060
  14. http://i48.tinypic.com/16a7doj.jpg
  15. worldc1m1b137.wav
  16. http://www.l4d.com/blog/post.php?id=3776
  17. "One time, my grandpa took me to Memphis and Graceland and..."
  18. http://www.l4d.com/sacrifice/#mac_content
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