Gil Birmingham

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Gil Birmingham
BornJuly 13, 1953 (age 61)
San Antonio, Texas,  United States
Years active1986–present
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Gil Birmingham
BornJuly 13, 1953 (age 61)
San Antonio, Texas,  United States
Years active1986–present

Gil Birmingham (born July 13, 1953)[1] is an American actor of Comanche ancestry, known for his portrayal of Billy Black in the The Twilight Saga film series.

Personal background[edit]

Birmingham was born in San Antonio, Texas. His family moved frequently during his childhood, due to his father's career in the military. He learned to play the guitar at an early age and considers music his "first love."[2] After obtaining a bachelor of science degree from the University of Southern California he worked as a petrochemical engineer before becoming an actor.[3][4]

Professional background[edit]

Music videos[edit]

In the early 1980s, a talent scout spotted Birmingham at a local gym, where he had been bodybuilding and entering bodybuilding contests. This led to his first acting experience, in a music video for the legendary Diana Ross, for her 1982 hit song "Muscles".[5]

Theme park appearances[edit]

After appearing in Ross's music video, Birmingham began to pursue acting as his primary career. He studied acting with Larry Moss and Charles Conrad. He portrayed the character of Conan the Barbarian in Universal Studios Hollywood's theme park attraction The Adventures of Conan: A Sword and Sorcery Spectacular.[3]

Television roles[edit]

In 1986, Birmingham made his television debut on an episode of the series Riptide. By 2002, he had a recurring role as the character Oz in the medical drama Body & Soul, starring Peter Strauss. In 2005, he was cast as the older Dogstar in the Steven Spielberg six-part miniseries Into the West.

He has appeared in a number of television series, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars, 10 Items or Less, Nip/Tuck, Castle, and The Mentalist. He has also had roles in several television films, such as Gentle Ben (with Dean Cain) and Gentle Ben 2: Danger on the Mountain,[6] Dreamkeeper, The Lone Ranger, and Love's Long Journey (with Erin Cottrell and Irene Bedard).

Feature films[edit]

In 2001, Birmingham appeared in his first feature film, The Doe Boy, in which he portrayed the character of Manny Deadmarsh.

In 2008, Birmingham was cast as the character Billy Black in The Twilight Saga film series and has appeared in all four of the films.[7][8]

The Twilight series has led to roles in other major film roles, including that of Sheriff Johnny Cortez in Love Ranch (with Joe Pesci and Helen Mirren), and Cal Bishnik in Shouting Secrets (with New Moon castmate Chaske Spencer). In September 2011, Birmingham appeared in the film Crooked Arrows, cast in the role of Ben Logan.[9]

In addition to his work in front of the camera, Birmingham voiced the character of Wounded Bird in the animated film Rango (starring Johnny Depp), and provided voice work for the television series The Wild Thornberrys and the film Night at the Museum.[citation needed]


YearFilm or TV programRoleNotes
1986RiptideCopEpisode #3.20 "Chapel of Glass"
1987House II: The Second Story
Falcon CrestEpisode #6.28 "Desperation"
1996Le JaguarTV movie
Night ManVargusEpisode #1.4 "I Left My Heart in San Francisco"
1997Buffy The Vampire SlayerThe BodyguardEpisode #2.4 "Inca Mummy Girl"
Dr. Quinn, Medicine WomanBrave #1Episode #6.11 "Safe Passage"
Night ManVargusEpisode #1.4 "I Left My Heart in San Francisco"
1999The Wild ThornberrysJim's dadvoice over, Episode #2.10 "Tamper Proof Seal"
2001Family LawBernardEpisode #2.21 "Americans"
V.I.P.RolandEpisode #4.7 "Uncle from V.A.L."
The Doe BoyManny Deadmarsh
2002Gentle BenPeteTV movie
SkinsSonny Yellow Lodge
Body & SoulOzrecurring character, 8 episodes
2003Gentle Ben 2: Danger on the MountainPeteTV movie
la milla verdeSamTV movie
The Lone RangerOne HornTV movie
DreamkeeperSamTV movie
2005Love's Long JourneySharp ClawTV movie
Into the WestOlder DogstarTV miniseries, 4 episodes
Medical InvestigationWalter Shepardepisode: Tribe
End of the SpearMoipauncredited
2006Night at the MuseumVoice over
CharmedIndian ChiefTV
2006Veronica MarsLeonard LoboTV
2007Cosmic RadioTribal Council leader
2008Turok: Son of StoneNashobaVoice over
California IndianChi Thomas
TwilightBilly Black
200910 Items or LessJohn Greene"Dances with Groceries"
Nip/TuckShamanEpisode #5.20 "Budi Sabri"
Love RanchSheriff Johnny Cortez
The Twilight Saga: New MoonBilly Black
2010The MentalistMarkham WillisEpisode "Aingavite Baa"
The Twilight Saga: EclipseBilly Black
CastleCacaw TeEpisode "Wrapped up in Death"
2011RangoWounded Bird (a crow)
Shouting SecretsCal BishnikIn post-production
The Lying GameBen Whitehorse5 Episodes
Californian IndianCharles 'Chi' Thomas
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1Billy Black
2012Crooked Arrows[9]Ben Logan
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2Credited
VegasDon Simmonsepisodes: Pilot, and Solid Citizens
2013The Lone RangerRed Knee
2014House of CardsDaniel Lanagin



  1. ^ Retrieved 1 July 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Billy Black actor talks of role on eve of visiting LaPush". 2010-07-16. Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  3. ^ a b Pond, Roscoe (April 2, 2003). "Through the Kindess of Strangers; Actor Gil Birmingham Arrives". Indian Country Today 22 (42): D1. 
  4. ^ Gire, Dann (2010-06-24). "Daily Herald | A little bit of job advice, courtesy of two 'Twilight' stars". Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  5. ^ Kimberly Sherman (2009-06-10). "An exclusive chat with Billy Black actor Gil Birmingham - Twilight Moonlighter". Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  6. ^ "Gil Birmingham Biography". Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  7. ^ Ditzian, Eric (2010-07-08). "'Breaking Dawn' Part Two Release Date Not Set For Summer 2012 - MTV Movie News". MTV. Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  8. ^ Kilpatrick, Christine (2011-04-01). "Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart Married in Breaking Dawn". Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  9. ^ a b Rosenberg, Steven A. (2011-08-11). "Local players add extra authenticity to movie about lacrosse -". Retrieved 2011-09-03. 

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