Adam Beach (born November 11, 1972) is a Canadian actor. He is best known for his roles as Victor Joseph in Smoke Signals; Frank Fencepost in Dance Me Outside; Tommy on Walker, Texas Ranger; Kickin' Wing in Joe Dirt; U.S. Marine Corporal Ira Hayes in Flags of Our Fathers; Private Ben Yahzee in Windtalkers; Dr. Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa) in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee; NYPD Detective 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 starred in the Canadian 2012–2014 series Arctic Air and played Slipknot in the 2016 film Suicide Squad. He also performed as Squanto in Disney's historical drama film Squanto: A Warrior's Tale. Most recently he has starred in Hostiles (2017) as Black Hawk and the Netflix original film Juanita (2019) as Jess Gardiner and Edward Nappo in Jane Campion's The Power of the Dog.

Adam Beach
Beach at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con
Born (1972-11-11) November 11, 1972 (age 51)
Ashern, Manitoba, Canada
Years active1990–present
Meredith Porter
(m. 1999; div. 2002)
Tara Mason
(m. 2003; div. 2007)
Summer Tiger
(m. 2015)

Early life edit

Adam Beach was born in Ashern, Manitoba. He is Saulteaux Anishinaabe and has some Icelandic roots through his great-grandmother.[1] Beach spent his early years with his parents and 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.[2] Eight weeks after his mother's death, the family discovered their father Dennis Beach had drowned near the community. It is unclear whether his death was an accident or suicide.

Adam and his two brothers initially lived with their grandmother; he was with her from age 8 to 12. Five years after their parents' deaths, the three brothers were taken to Winnipeg to live with an aunt and paternal uncle: Agnes and Chris Beach (his father's brother). Adam refers to his Uncle Chris as "Dad".[3]

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.[4]

Career edit

Beach has a long list of diverse portrayals. He saw acting as a catharsis and turned to theater as a venue to express his feelings and tell his own personal stories.[5] 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 such as 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.[2] 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 appeared in Helen Lee's The Art of Woo and the 2001 hit Joe Dirt as Kickin' Wing, a Native American fireworks salesman. The producers of Joe Dirt had originally wanted to hire Evan Adams for the parody of his character in Smoke Signals, but accidentally called Beach instead.[6]

In 2002, Windtalkers, starring Beach, was released in theatres; it was about Navajo codetalkers working with the US Marines during World War II. To prepare for this role, Beach spent six months learning the Navajo language. He used this language in his next project, Skinwalkers, based on a novel by Tony Hillerman and directed by Chris Eyre, who had given 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, also based on a Hillerman novel. 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.[7] 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".[7] The movie won two Academy Award nominations and Beach was nominated for multiple Best Supporting Actor honors.

In 2006, Beach ran as a candidate to lead his Lake Manitoba First Nation; he was not successful but said he will try again.[8] In 2007, Beach starred in HBO Films' adaptation of Dee Brown's history, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. In the film, Beach portrays Charles Eastman (Dakota name Ohiyesa), a doctor, Sioux advocate and author. He explores and expresses the changing understanding of Aboriginal-US relations during the period leading up to the Wounded Knee Massacre.

Beach at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival

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 is filmed in Cloquet, Minnesota, mostly on the Fond du Lac Ojibwe reservation. He 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.[9] In April 2008, TV Guide announced that he would not return for the show's tenth season.[10][11] 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.[12]

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.[13] 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. In 2015, Beach appeared on several episodes of Backstrom as Sheriff Jesse Rocha. In 2017, he played Black Hawk in Hostiles, starring Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike and Wes Studi.

In 2022 Beach was selected as host of the Canadian chainsaw carving competition show A Cut Above.[14]

Personal life edit

Adam Beach has been married three times and has three children. He has two sons with his first wife, Meredith Porter (married 1999–2002). He did not have children with his second wife, Tara Mason (married 2003⁠–⁠2007). In 2008, his current wife, Summer Tiger, gave birth to a daughter.

Awards and nominations edit

Year Award Category Work 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
2015 Canadian Screen Awards Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role Arctic Air Nominated

Filmography edit

Films edit

Year Title Role Tribe Notes
1993 Cadillac Girls Will
1994 Squanto: A Warrior's Tale Squanto Patuxet
A Boy Called Hate Billy Little Plume
1995 Dance Me Outside Frank Fencepost Ojibwe (related to Beach's actual Saulteaux heritage)
1996 Coyote Summer Rafe Acuna
1997 Song of Hiawatha Chibiabos Ojibwe (related to Beach's actual Saulteaux heritage)
1998 Smoke Signals Victor Joseph Coeur d'Alene
1999 Mystery, Alaska Galin Winetka
2000 The Last Stop Jason
2001 Joe Dirt Kickin' Wing
Now & Forever John Myron Cree
The Art of Woo Ben Crowchild
2002 Windtalkers Private Ben Yazzie 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
2004 Sawtooth Jim
2005 Four Brothers Chief Uncredited
2006 Flags of Our Fathers Ira Hayes Pima
2007 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa) Sioux
Luna: Spirit of the Whale Mike Maquinna Mowachaht-Muchalaht
2008 Turok: Son of Stone Turok Voice role
Older than America Johnny Ojibwe
Help Max
2010 The Stranger Mason
The Stepson Josh Anderson Main role
2011 A Warrior's Heart Sgt. Major Duke Wayne
Cowboys & Aliens Nat Colorado Supporting role
Tommy Prince: Prince of the Devils Tommy Prince
Combat Hospital Joe / Snake Eater
2013 Crook Bryce
Ice Soldiers TC Cardinal
Into the Grizzly Maze Johnny Cadillac
2014 A Fighting Man Fast Eddie
2015 Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser Kickin' Wing Cameo
Diablo Nakoma
2016 Suicide Squad Christopher Weiss / Slipknot[15]
2017 Juliana & the Medicine Fish Mike Reid
Hostiles Black Hawk Cheyenne
2019 Juanita Jess
2020 Monkey Beach Uncle Mick
The New Mutants William Lonestar Cheyenne
Percy Alton Kelly
2021 The Unhealer Sheriff Adler
The Power of the Dog Edward Nappo
Swan Song Dalton
2022 Exile Ted Evans
American/Indian Carl Pre-production
2023 Hey, Viktor! Adam
TBA Terra Infirma Max Windrunner Pre-production
Coyote Howls James Hunter Pre-production
Hitman The Hitman Pre-production

Television edit

Year Title Role Tribe Notes
1990 Lost in the Barrens Hunting Party Member Television film
1993 Spirit Rider Paul LeBlanc Television film
1993–1995 North of 60 Nevada 4 episodes
1995 Walker, Texas Ranger Tommy Bright Hawk Episode: "On Sacred Ground"
CBS Schoolbreak Special Ben Episode: "My Indian Summer"
1996 Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years Red Crow Lakota Episode: "Medicine"
Touched by an Angel Dillon New Eagle Episode: "Written in Dust"
The Rez Charlie Ojibwe
1997 Dead Man's Gun Tom Nez Perce Episode: "Medicine Man"
2001 Higher Ground Aaron Reifel Episode: "What Remains"
2002 Bliss Angel Episode: "Valentine's Day in Jail"
The Dead Zone Shaman Episode: "Shaman"
2003 Coyote Waits Officer Jim Chee Navajo Television film
Everwood Mr. Grey Cloud Episode: "Unhappy Holidays"
Third Watch Christian 2 episodes
2004 A Thief of Time Officer Jim Chee Navajo
JAG Marcus Tillco Episode: "Whole New Ball Game"
2005 Johnny Tootall Johnny Tootall Nuu-chah-nulth
2007 Moose TV George Keeshig Cree
2007–2008 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Det. Chester Lake Mohawk Main role, 21 episodes
2008 Comanche Moon Blue Duck Comanche
Wapos Bay Himself Voice role
2010 Big Love Tommy Flute Blackfoot
Hawaii Five-0 Navy Seal Graham Episode: "Ho'apono"
2012–2014 Arctic Air Bobby Martin Main role, 35 episodes
2013 Hell on Wheels Red Bear Kiowa
2015 Backstrom Cooch County Captain Jesse Rocha 3 episodes
2017 Monsters of God Sees Two Moons Television film
2019 Drunk History Richard Oakes Episode: "National Parks"
Supernatural Sheriff Mason Episode: "Don't Go in the Woods"
2019–2020 Nancy Drew Chief E.O. McGinnis 7 episodes
2020 The Good Doctor Billy Carr Season 4 episode 4: "Not the Same"
2022-present A Cut Above Host [14]
2023 Found Kai Wagon Season 1 episode 7: "Missing While Indigenous"

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Bernardi, Daniel; Green, Michael, eds. (2017). Race in American Film: Voices and Visions that Shaped a Nation [3 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 71. ISBN 9780313398407. An Anishinaabe member of the Ojibwa nation, with some Icelandic roots through his great-grandmother, Beach was born in Ashern, (Canada)
  2. ^ a b Solmes, Catherine (2007). "Adam Beach – Biography". Retrieved March 14, 2007.
  3. ^ MacGregor, Roy (June 10, 2008). "Actor sees a way to break out of his people's drama". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
  4. ^ Hall, Jamie (2011-03-10). "Mar 2011: Life's a Beach for Adam and that's good". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2021-02-20.
  5. ^ Aleiss, Angela (2022), Hollywood's Native Americans: Stories of Identity and Resistance, Santa Barbara CA: Praeger, p. 128, ISBN 978-1-4408-7156-6
  6. ^ "Adam Beach Is on Board for 'Joe Dirt 2'. But Why Was He in the Original?", Indian Country Today Media Network
  7. ^ a b "Interview: Adam Beach" Archived December 5, 2006, at the Wayback Machine (accessed March 14, 2007)
  8. ^ Adam Beach enjoying his fast Hollywood ride Archived February 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine,, February 12, 2007
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Ausiello Scoop: Mystery Surrounding Dourdan and Neal's Exits Deepens – Ausiello Report | Archived May 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved May 13, 2008.
  11. ^ Out of Order: Adam Beach Bids SVU Adieu – Today's News: Our Take | Archived May 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved May 13, 2008.
  12. ^ Oswald, Brad (January 7, 2011). "Beach grabbed right boarding pass". Retrieved January 9, 2012.
  13. ^ Adam Beach to star as Sgt. Tommy Prince in movie about the hero, Digital Journal, 11 February 2010
  14. ^ a b David, Greg (July 24, 2022). "Discovery reveals the 12 carvers competing in the all-new series A Cut Above, beginning August 8". TV, eh. Retrieved July 29, 2022 – via Bell Media.
  15. ^ Woods, John (April 9, 2015). "Adam Beach to play DC Comics villain Slipknot in new film". Winnipeg Free Press.

External links edit