August Schellenberg

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August Schellenberg
August Werner Schellenberg

(1936-07-25)July 25, 1936
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
DiedAugust 15, 2013(2013-08-15) (aged 77)
Dallas, Texas, United States
Years active1970–2013

August Werner Schellenberg (July 25, 1936 – August 15, 2013) was a Canadian-born actor.[1] He was noted for his film work as Chief Powhatan in The New World (2005) and his recurring role of Randolph Johnson in the Free Willy film series.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Schellenberg was born and lived in Montreal, Quebec, until moving to Toronto, Ontario, in 1967,[3] he was of Mohawk and Swiss-German descent.[4] He established himself in Toronto until 1995, he lived in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, actress Joan Karasevich. He was the father of three daughters, two with Karasevich, he was trained at the National Theatre School of Canada.

His initial work was in the Don Shebib-directed coming-of-age film, Rip-Off, in 1971. In 1981, he did voices for the animated film Heavy Metal. During the late 1990s he had major roles in Black Robe (as Chomina), Free Willy and its sequels (as Randolph Johnson), Iron Will (Ned Dodd), True Heart (Khonanesta), and TV film Crazy Horse (Sitting Bull), he went on to star as Chief Powhatan in Terrence Malick's 2005 film The New World. He also had roles in Disney's Eight Below and the doco within a film The Green Chain (2007). In 2011, he appeared in two episodes of the television series Stargate Universe as Yaozu, his favorite role was that of Sitting Bull in the film Crazy Horse, a character he reprised in the film version of the Dee Brown bestseller Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, for which he received an Emmy nomination.[5] He also starred in Dreamkeeper (2003) as Pete Chasing Horse.

Schellenberg was nominated for three Genie Awards and won one (for Black Robe), he was also nominated for two Gemini Awards, and won one (for the television movie The Prodigal).[6]

In 2012, he performed the title role in an all-aboriginal production of William Shakespeare's King Lear at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, alongside a cast that also included Billy Merasty as Gloucester, Tantoo Cardinal as Regan, Jani Lauzon in a dual role as Cordelia and the Fool, Craig Lauzon as Kent, and the play's assistant director, Lorne Cardinal, as The Duke of Albany.[7]

During his lifetime, Schellenberg taught acting seminars at Toronto's Centre for Indigenous Theatre and York University, he conducted motivational workshops in schools and for cultural and community organizations across North America.[3] Schellenberg's younger brother played Dior in Grey's Anatomy, season 5. Shortly after that, August died of lung cancer.


Schellenberg died on August 15, 2013 in Dallas, Texas after a long battle with lung cancer,[8][9] his interment was at Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery.[10]




  • The New Avengers (1977, Episode: "Forward Base") - Bailey
  • The Hitchhiker (1983, Episode: "When Morning Comes") - Bob Ames
  • The Equalizer (1986, Episode: "Unpunished Crimes") - Brennan
  • Phillip Marlowe (1986, Episode: "Blackmailers Don't Shoot") - Johnny Tango
  • Airwolf (1987, Episode: "Deathtrain") - Gregori Nobokov
  • North of 60 (1994–1995) - Ben Montour
  • The Adventures of Tintin (1992) - (English version, voice)
  • Walker Texas Ranger (1994–1995) - Billy Gray Wolf
  • Lonesome Dove: The Series (1994, Episode: "Last Stand") - Chief Iron Bow
  • The West - episodes - Speck of the Future, Death Runs Riot, and Fight No More Forever - voice (1996)
  • So Weird (2000, Episode: "Destiny") - Tom Martinez
  • Chiefs (2002, TV Mini-Series documentary) - Sitting Bull
  • The Making of 'DreamKeeper (2004, Video documentary short) - Himself
  • Making 'The New World (2006, Video documentary) - Himself
  • Saving Grace (2007–2010) - GeePaw
  • Grey's Anatomy (2008, Episode: "These Ties That Bind") - Clay Bedonie


  1. ^ "August Schellenberg Obituary - Dallas, TX | Dallas Morning News". Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  2. ^ "August Schellenberg". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  3. ^ a b "Biography". 1936-07-25. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
  4. ^ Native American Actors, Native Net
  5. ^ "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee | Television Academy". Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  6. ^ "Canadian actor August Schellenberg dies at 77". Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  7. ^ "Aboriginal cast in staging of King Lear"[permanent dead link]. Ottawa Citizen, May 12, 2012.
  8. ^ "August Schellenberg Dead -- 'Free Willy' Star Dies at 77". EHM Productions, Inc. 16 August 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  9. ^ "Mohawk actor August Schellenberg dies at 77". CBC/Radio-Canada. 16 August 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  10. ^ Simnacher, Joe (17 August 2013). "Actor in 'Free Willy' movies". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 29 January 2019. Retrieved 15 April 2019 – via PressReader.

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