Rudy Youngblood

Rudy Youngblood (born September 21, 1982), is an American actor, musician, dancer, and artist.[2]

Rudy Youngblood
Born (1982-09-21) September 21, 1982 (age 40)
Occupation(s)Actor, musician
Years active1990s–present

Early life and backgroundEdit

Born in Belton, Texas, Rudy Youngblood grew up with two younger sisters.[1] They were supported by their mother, who Rudy identifies as being of Comanche descent.[3] Rudy has stated that his biological father was of Yaqui background.[2] Growing up, Rudy went by Rudy Gonzales, using his stepfather's surname.[2]

David A. Yeagley told the L.A. Times, "He has no Indian blood in him that anyone can validate."[2] At the time, Youngblood's website stated, "Rudy is from the Tahchawwickah Comanche family, his father is the late Preston Tahchawwickah. He is adopted Cree."[2] Comanche Nation spokeswoman Jolene Schonchin states that Youngblood "is not on our tribal rolls, but he does have Comanche blood" through his father Preston Tahchawwickah. Other members of Preston Tahchawwickah's family questioned that. Dawn Tahchawwickah, daughter of Preston Tahchawwickah, stated that Youngblood was "only a family friend" and "He is nothing to my father," while other children of Preston have said Youngblood is their brother.[2] Youngblood told the L.A. Times that, "Preston Tahchawwickah was not his biological father but his ceremonially adoptive father" and that it was his mother who had Comanche ancestry.[2]

Education and early careerEdit

At the age of ten, he started working at construction jobs and learned skills and stories from the men. He has learned carpentry, brick laying, and other skills.[3] He went to local schools and was competitive in boxing and track athletics while attending Belton High School.[3] He frequently went to movies and became a fan of film. Upon graduation, he was offered scholarships to major colleges in both art and track and field, but he chose Native dance instead. He has performed with the American Indian Dance Theatre.[3]

Acting careerEdit

Official logo of the movie Apocalypto

Going to a general casting call, Youngblood was selected by the director Mel Gibson to play the leading role of Jaguar Paw in the epic film Apocalypto (2006), in which he also performed his own stunts.[3] He learned the Yucatec Maya language in order to appear as a tribesman in the film, in which all dialogue was in Maya.[3] For his work in the film, he won the Best Actor award at the 15th annual First Americans in the Arts awards.[4]

Personal life and activismEdit

Youngblood has participated in HIV activism, engaging in AIDS walks and visiting HIV-positive children in hospitals — in particular to draw attention to the rate of HIV infection in the Native community.[3] Having seen a family member die of AIDS-related complications, he felt it important to "give back and make a difference"[3] and has spoken out about the importance of education in combating ignorance around HIV/AIDS, alcoholism, drug abuse and child abuse.[3] Having grown up looking after his sisters as a result of his mother's struggles with alcoholism, he regained a close relationship with her subsequently.[3]


Year Film Role Notes[5]
2005 Spirit: The Seventh Fire Warrior Protector
2006 Apocalypto Jaguar Paw Won: First Americans in the Arts award for Best actor[4]
2010 Beatdown Brandon Becker
2012 Into the Americas Toowin
2015 Windwalkers Matty Kingston
2016 Crossing Point Mateo
2018 Attrition Infidel
2021 Dandelion Season Phoenix


  1. ^ a b Garcia Berumen, Frank Javier (2019). American Indian Image Makers of Hollywood. McFarland. p. 252. ISBN 9781476636474.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Welkos, Robert W. (28 March 2007). "Apocalypto actor's ancestry questioned". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 31 August 2008. Retrieved 21 December 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Dulin, Dann (2 March 2013). "Undaunted Spirit". A&U — America's AIDS Magazine. Archived from the original on 2 March 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2021.
  4. ^ a b "15th Annual First Americans in the Arts Awards". Getty Images. April 14, 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2018. Actor Rudy Youngblood receives a Best Actor award from director Mel Gibson for his role in Apocalypto at the 15th Annual First Americans in the Arts Awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 14, 2007 in Los Angeles, California.
  5. ^ Rudy Youngblood at IMDb   Retrieved February 27, 2018.

External linksEdit