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Adam Beach
Born November 11, 1972 (1972-11-11) (age 37)
Ashern, Manitoba, Canada
Years active 1990–present
Spouse(s) Meredith Porter
(1999, divorced 2002, 2 children)
Tara Mason
(5 July 2003, divorced 2007)

Adam Ruebin Beach (born November 11, 1972) is a Canadian-born actor of Saulteaux descent.

He is best known for his roles as Tommy on Walker, Texas Ranger, Kicking 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 Jim Chee in Coyote Waits.


Early life

Born in Ashern, Manitoba, Adam Beach grew up with his two brothers on the Dog Creek First Nations Reserve at Lake Manitoba. When he was eight, his mother, Sally Beach, who was eight months pregnant with a girl, was killed by a drunk driver.[1] She could have been saved, but the ambulance refused to come to the reserve. Eight weeks after her death, his alcoholic father, Dennis Beach, drowned himself. Since he was drunk at the time, it is unclear whether he committed suicide or not. Beach and his two brothers initially went to live with their grandmother, who had spent her own childhood in one of the infamous Indian residential schools. He lived with his grandmother from age 8 to 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). He 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 roles in Dance Me Outside and 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 The Art of Woo and the 2001 hit Joe Dirt as Kicking 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]

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.[8]

Starting in 2010, Beach plays a supporting role on the HBO series, "Big Love" as a manager in an Indian casino with Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton).

Personal life

Beach has two sons, Luke and Noah, with his first wife Meredith Porter.[9] He also has one daughter, Phoenix Beach, born October 2008.

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Film Result
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


Year Title Role Notes
1990 Lost in the Barrens Hunting Party Member
1993 Spirit Rider Paul LeBlanc
1994 Squanto: A Warrior's Tale Squanto Patuxet
1995 A Boy Called Hate Billy Little Plume
Dance Me Outside Frank Fencepost Ojibwa
My Indian Summer Ben
1996 The Rez Charlie Ojibwa
Coyote Summer Rafe Acuna
1997 Song of Hiawatha Chibiabos Ojibwa
1998 Smoke Signals Victor Joseph Spokane (tribe)
1999 Mystery, Alaska Galin Winetka
2000 The Last Stop Jason
2001 Joe Dirt Kicking Wing
Now & Forever John Myron Cree
The Art of Woo Ben Crowchild
2002 Windtalkers Private Ben Yahzee Navajo
Skinwalkers Officer Jim Chee Navajo
Posers Sinclair
2003 Cowboys and Indians: The J.J. Harper Story John Joseph Harper Oji-Cree
The Big Empty Randy
Coyote Waits Officer Jim Chee Navajo
2004 A Thief of Time Officer Jim Chee Navajo
Sawtooth Jim
2005 Johnny Tootall Johnny Tootall Nuu-chah-nulth
Four Brothers Cheif uncredited
2006 Flags of Our Fathers Ira Hayes Pima
2007 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa) Sioux
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Det. Chester Lake Mohawk
Moose TV George Keeshig Cree
Luna: Spirit of the Whale Mike Maquinna Mowachaht-Muchalaht
2008 Comanche Moon Blue Duck Comanche
Turok: Son of Stone Turok (voice)
Older than America Johnny Ojibwa
Help Max
Wapos Bay: The Series Himself (voice)
2009 Warrior Sgt. Major Duke Wayne
2010 Big Love Tommy Flute Blackfoot

See also


  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. ^ Adam Beach enjoying his fast Hollywood ride,, February 12, 2007
  9. ^ Braun, Liz (2002-06-11). "The hot Beach". Canoe. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 

External links

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