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Adam Beach, 2013
November 11, 1972
Ashern, Manitoba, Canada
Adam Beach, 2013
November 11, 1972
Ashern, Manitoba, Canada
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.
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. 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, who had spent her own childhood in one of the assimilationist Indian residential schools. 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".
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.
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. 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. 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". The movie won two Academy Award nominations and Beach was nominated for multiple Best Supporting Actor honors.
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. However, in April 2008, TV Guide announced that he would not return for the show's tenth season. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
|1995||American Indian Film Festival||Best Actor||Dance Me Outside||Won|
|First American in the Arts Awards||Best Actor||My Indian Summer||Won|
|1998||San Diego World Film Festival||Best Actor||Smoke Signals||Won|
|2006||Broadcast Film Critics Association||Best Supporting Actor||Flags of Our Fathers||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|2007||American Indian Film Festival||Best Actor||Luna: Spirit of the Whale||Nominated|
|2008||Golden Globe Award||Best Actor — Mini-Series or Television Film||Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee||Nominated|
|Image Awards||Outstanding Actor||Nominated|
|1990||Lost in the Barrens||Hunting Party Member|
|1993||Spirit Rider||Paul LeBlanc|
|1994||Squanto: A Warrior's Tale||Squanto||Patuxet|
|1995||Boy Called Hate, AA Boy Called Hate||Billy Little Plume|
|1995||Dance Me Outside||Frank Fencepost||Ojibwe|
|1995||My Indian Summer||Ben|
|1996||Rez, TheThe Rez||Charlie||Ojibwe|
|1996||Coyote Summer||Rafe Acuna|
|1997||Song of Hiawatha||Chibiabos||Seneca|
|1998||Smoke Signals||Victor Joseph||Spokane|
|1999||Mystery, Alaska||Galin Winetka|
|2000||Last Stop, TheThe Last Stop||Jason|
|2001||Joe Dirt||Kickin' Wing|
|2001||Now & Forever||John Myron||Cree|
|2001||Art of Woo, TheThe Art of Woo||Ben Crowchild|
|2002||Windtalkers||Private Ben Yahzee||Navajo|
|2002||Skinwalkers||Officer Jim Chee||Navajo|
|2003||Cowboys and Indians: The J.J. Harper Story||John Joseph Harper||Oji-Cree|
|2003||Big Empty, TheThe Big Empty||Randy|
|2003||Coyote Waits||Officer Jim Chee||Navajo|
|2004||Thief of Time, AA Thief of Time||Officer Jim Chee||Navajo|
|2005||Johnny Tootall||Johnny Tootall||Nuu-chah-nulth|
|2005||JAG||Marcus Tillco||Episode "Whole New Ball Game"|
|2006||Flags of Our Fathers||Ira Hayes||Pima|
|2007||Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee||Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa)||Sioux|
|2007–08||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Det. Chester Lake||Mohawk|
|2007||Moose TV||George Keeshig||Cree|
|2007||Luna: Spirit of the Whale||Mike Maquinna||Mowachaht-Muchalaht|
|2008||Comanche Moon||Blue Duck||Comanche|
|2008||Turok: Son of Stone||Turok||Voice role|
|2008||Older than America||Johnny||Ojibwe|
|2008||Wapos Bay: The Series||Himself||Voice role|
|2009||A Warrior's Heart||Sgt. Major Duke Wayne|
|2010||Big Love||Tommy Flute||Blackfoot|
|2010||Stranger, TheThe Stranger||Mason|
|2010||Hawaii Five-0||Navy Seal Graham||Guest Star|
|2010||The Stepson||Josh Anderson||Main Role|
|2011||Cowboys & Aliens||Nat Colorado||Supporting role|
|2011||Tommy Prince: Prince of the Devils||Tommy Prince|
|2011||Combat Hospital||Joe / Snake Eater|
|2012||Arctic Air||Bobby Martin|
|2013||Hell on Wheels||Red Bear||Kiowa Indian Chief|
|2013||Ice Soldiers||TC Cardinal|
|2013||Endangered||post-production also known as Red Machine|
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