Adam Beach

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Adam Beach
Adam Beach CFC 2013 (cropped).jpg
Adam Beach, 2013
BornAdam Beach
(1972-11-11) November 11, 1972 (age 41)
Ashern, Manitoba, Canada
Years active1990–present
Spouse(s)Meredith Porter
2 children
Tara Mason
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Adam Beach
Adam Beach CFC 2013 (cropped).jpg
Adam Beach, 2013
BornAdam Beach
(1972-11-11) November 11, 1972 (age 41)
Ashern, Manitoba, Canada
Years active1990–present
Spouse(s)Meredith Porter
2 children
Tara Mason

Adam Beach (born November 11, 1972) is a Canadian Saulteaux actor. He is best known for his roles as Victor in Smoke Signals, Tommy in Walker, Texas Ranger, Kickin' Wing in Joe Dirt, Marine Private First Class Ira Hayes in Flags of Our Fathers, Private Ben Yahzee in Windtalkers, Dr. Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa) in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Chester Lake in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Officer Jim Chee in the film adaptations of Skinwalkers, Coyote Waits, and A Thief of Time. He is currently starring in Arctic Air.

Early life[edit]

Born in Ashern, Manitoba, Adam Beach spent his early years with his two brothers on the Lake Manitoba/Dog Creek First Nation Reserve at Lake Manitoba. When Beach was eight years old, his mother, Sally Beach, eight months pregnant with a baby girl, was killed by a drunk driver.[1] Eight weeks after his mother's death, the family, stricken with grief, discovered Adam's father, Dennis, drowned nearby the community. It is unclear whether Mr. Beach's death was an accident or if he committed suicide. Adam Beach and his two brothers initially went to live with their grandmother; his descent is mainly Native American but he also has some Icelandic roots through his great grandmother. He lived with his grandmother from age 8 to age 12. Five years after their parents' deaths, the three brothers were taken to Winnipeg to live with an aunt and uncle: Agnes and Chris Beach (his father's brother). Adam refers to his Uncle Chris as "dad".[2]

Beach attended a drama class at Gordon Bell High School. He began performing in local theatre productions, and eventually dropped out of school to take a lead role at the Manitoba Theatre for Young People.[citation needed]


At age 18, Beach won a small role in the miniseries Lost in the Barrens, based on the Farley Mowat novel. In the following years, he continued to work in local theatre and guest-starred on television shows like Walker, Texas Ranger and Touched by an Angel. Shortly afterwards, Beach was cast as a regular on the television shows North of 60 and The Rez.

After his performance in Dance Me Outside he starred in Smoke Signals, which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.[1] He took a small role in Disney's Mystery, Alaska in 1999 and in 2000 accepted a role in the thriller, The Last Stop. Beach then appeared in Helen Lee's The Art of Woo and the 2001 hit Joe Dirt as Kickin' Wing, a Native American fireworks salesman.

In 2002, Windtalkers, starring Beach, came out in theatres. To prepare for this role, Beach spent six months learning the Navajo language. He was also able to use this skill in his next project, Skinwalkers, directed by Chris Eyre, who gave him his breakout role in Smoke Signals.

Between large-scale projects, Beach made small television appearances on such shows as JAG and Third Watch. Also, in 2003, he returned to the character that he first portrayed in Skinwalkers in the movie Coyote Waits. He also made a guest appearance in the hit show The Dead Zone as a Native shaman (in the episode "Shaman").

In 2006, Beach portrayed Ira Hayes in Clint Eastwood's feature film Flags of Our Fathers. During the filming of this movie, both Beach's grandmother and his best friend died. Beach commented, "And if you add those up, there's a lot of emotion. When you're doing a movie, when you let go emotionally, there's nothing to grab onto," he said about the deaths.[3] About playing the part, Beach said, "For me, playing Ira was a meaningful relationship. I would call it – trying to find out how he was, or how he thought and felt".[3] The movie won two Academy Award nominations and Beach was nominated for multiple Best Supporting Actor honors.[4]

In 2007, Beach starred in HBO Films' adaptation of Dee Brown's history, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. In the film, Beach portrays the Sioux advocate, author and medical doctor Charles Eastman (Dakota name, Ohiyesa) and his changing understanding of Aboriginal-US relations during the period leading up to the Wounded Knee Massacre.

In addition to starring in the Canadian television series Moose TV, Beach is executive-producing and starring in the movie Older Than America, the independent feature filmed in Cloquet, Minnesota mostly on the Fond du Lac Ojibwe reservation. He also joined the cast of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Detective Chester Lake for the show's ninth season after guest-starring in season eight.[5] However, in April 2008, TV Guide announced that he[6] would not return for the show's tenth season.[7] He later stated he grew disillusioned with the strictly procedural nature of the show and opted to leave after the finish of the ninth season.[8]

In 2006, Beach unsuccessfully attempted to run for the leadership of his Lake Manitoba First Nation, but has stated he will try again during the next election.[9]

Starting in 2009, Beach played a supporting role on the HBO series, Big Love as a manager in an Indian casino with Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton).

On February 10, 2010 it was announced that Beach will portray Tommy Prince, the Canadian war hero, in an upcoming movie about his life. According to Bay Film Studios, the movie will be a "true account of Canada's most highly decorated First Nations soldier." Beach said he is honoured to portray Prince, calling him a positive role model for all First Nations.[10]

In 2011, he starred in Cowboys & Aliens, an American science fiction Western film directed by Jon Favreau and starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde. The film is based on the 2006 graphic novel of the same name created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg.

Also in 2011, Beach returned to Canada to star in the TV series Arctic Air, which premiered on January 12, 2012.

Personal life[edit]

Adam Beach has been married twice and has three children. He had two sons, Noah (born 1996) and Luke (born 1998), with his first wife Meredith Porter (1999–2002). He did not have any children with his second wife, Tara Mason. They married in 2003, but have since separated. In 2008 his then domestic partner Summer Tiger gave birth to a daughter, Phoenix.[11][12] He later began dating Leah Gibson, his co-star on "Arctic Air". Beach stated in a Huffington Post interview that the two met each other on set.[13]

Awards and nominations[edit]

1995American Indian Film FestivalBest ActorDance Me OutsideWon
First American in the Arts AwardsBest ActorMy Indian SummerWon
1998San Diego World Film FestivalBest ActorSmoke SignalsWon
2006Broadcast Film Critics AssociationBest Supporting ActorFlags of Our FathersNominated
Satellite AwardsBest Supporting ActorNominated
2007American Indian Film FestivalBest ActorLuna: Spirit of the WhaleNominated
2008Golden Globe AwardBest Actor — Mini-Series or Television FilmBury My Heart At Wounded KneeNominated
Image AwardsOutstanding ActorNominated


1990Lost in the BarrensHunting Party Member
1993Spirit RiderPaul LeBlanc
1994Squanto: A Warrior's TaleSquantoPatuxet
1995Boy Called Hate, AA Boy Called HateBilly Little Plume
1995Dance Me OutsideFrank FencepostOjibwe
1995My Indian SummerBen
1996Rez, TheThe RezCharlieOjibwe
1996Coyote SummerRafe Acuna
1997Song of HiawathaChibiabosSeneca
1998Smoke SignalsVictor JosephSpokane
1999Mystery, AlaskaGalin Winetka
2000Last Stop, TheThe Last StopJason
2001Joe DirtKickin' Wing
2001Now & ForeverJohn MyronCree
2001Art of Woo, TheThe Art of WooBen Crowchild
2002WindtalkersPrivate Ben YahzeeNavajo
2002SkinwalkersOfficer Jim CheeNavajo
2003Cowboys and Indians: The J.J. Harper StoryJohn Joseph HarperOji-Cree
2003Big Empty, TheThe Big EmptyRandy
2003Coyote WaitsOfficer Jim CheeNavajo
2004Thief of Time, AA Thief of TimeOfficer Jim CheeNavajo
2005Johnny TootallJohnny TootallNuu-chah-nulth
2005Four BrothersChiefuncredited
2005JAGMarcus TillcoEpisode "Whole New Ball Game"
2006Flags of Our FathersIra HayesPima
2007Bury My Heart at Wounded KneeCharles Eastman (Ohiyesa)Sioux
2007–08Law & Order: Special Victims UnitDet. Chester LakeMohawk
2007Moose TVGeorge KeeshigCree
2007Luna: Spirit of the WhaleMike MaquinnaMowachaht-Muchalaht
2008Comanche MoonBlue DuckComanche
2008Turok: Son of StoneTurokVoice role
2008Older than AmericaJohnnyOjibwe
2008Wapos Bay: The SeriesHimselfVoice role
2009A Warrior's HeartSgt. Major Duke Wayne
2010Big LoveTommy FluteBlackfoot
2010Stranger, TheThe StrangerMason
2010Hawaii Five-0Navy Seal GrahamGuest Star
2010The StepsonJosh AndersonMain Role
2011Cowboys & AliensNat ColoradoSupporting role
2011Tommy Prince: Prince of the DevilsTommy Prince
2011Combat HospitalJoe / Snake Eater
2012–2014Arctic AirBobby Martin
2013Hell on WheelsRed BearKiowa Indian Chief
2013Ice SoldiersTC Cardinal
2013Endangeredpost-production also known as Red Machine
2014A Fighting ManFast Eddie

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Adam Beach" Northern Stars (accessed March 14, 2007)
  2. ^ "Adam Beach" Adam Beach: Actor sees a way to break out of his people's drama, Roy MacGregor, Globe and Mail, June 10, 2008 (accessed October 3, 2009)
  3. ^ a b "Interview: Adam Beach" (accessed March 14, 2007)
  4. ^ Adam Beach – Awards Internet Movie Database (accessed February 20, 2008)
  5. ^ Breaking News – Film Stars Adam Beach and Kal Penn Guest Star on NBC's 'LAW & ORDER: SVU', Tuesday, January 16, (10 P.M. ET/PT) | Retrieved May 13, 2008.
  6. ^ Ausiello Scoop: Mystery Surrounding Dourdan and Neal's Exits Deepens – Ausiello Report | Retrieved May 13, 2008.
  7. ^ Out of Order: Adam Beach Bids SVU Adieu – Today's News: Our Take | Retrieved May 13, 2008.
  8. ^ Oswald, Brad (January 7, 2011). "Beach grabbed right boarding pass". Retrieved January 9, 2012. 
  9. ^ Adam Beach enjoying his fast Hollywood ride,, February 12, 2007
  10. ^ Adam Beach to star as Sgt. Tommy Prince in movie about the hero, Digital Journal, February 11, 2010
  11. ^ Braun, Liz (June 11, 2002). "The hot Beach". Canoe. Retrieved October 5, 2009. 
  12. ^ Adam Beach Pictures – Adam Beach in Vancouver. Zimbio (August 16, 2009). Retrieved on April 24, 2014.
  13. ^ Bourdeau, Annette (January 9, 2012). "Adam Beach Gets 'Arctic,' Finds Girlfriend On-Set". Huffington Post. 

External links[edit]