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Wes Studi

Wes Studi

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Also Known As: Wesley Studie, Wes Studie Died:
Born: December 17, 1947 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Nofire Hollow, Oklahoma, USA Profession: actor, voice actor, newspaper reporter, rancher, teacher, translator, horse trainer, author, sculptor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This often intimidating but charismatic and ruggedly handsome actor of full-blooded Cherokee heritage enhanced several thoughtful Hollywood Westerns of the 1990s by thoroughly embodying roles that would have once been mere stereotypes and imbuing them with depth and dignity. The intense and muscular Studi first gained attention playing the "toughest" of the Pawnees in Kevin Costner's ambitious and well-meaning revisionist work "Dances With Wolves" (1990). He also lent his powerful presence to Oliver Stone's "The Doors" (1991), as the silent Indian in the desert, before coming into his own as a film and TV character player. The Oklahoma-born performer's native language is Cherokee, which he spoke until he started primary school at age five. Returning from serving in the Vietnam War, Studi became seriously involved with Native American politics. He joined the American Indian Movement and participated in their 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Studi subsequently attended college and helped start a Cherokee newspaper. He also began teaching the Cherokee language professionally before shifting to running his own horse ranch. The late 70s found Studi divorced and bereft of his ranch. Thinking...

This often intimidating but charismatic and ruggedly handsome actor of full-blooded Cherokee heritage enhanced several thoughtful Hollywood Westerns of the 1990s by thoroughly embodying roles that would have once been mere stereotypes and imbuing them with depth and dignity. The intense and muscular Studi first gained attention playing the "toughest" of the Pawnees in Kevin Costner's ambitious and well-meaning revisionist work "Dances With Wolves" (1990). He also lent his powerful presence to Oliver Stone's "The Doors" (1991), as the silent Indian in the desert, before coming into his own as a film and TV character player.

The Oklahoma-born performer's native language is Cherokee, which he spoke until he started primary school at age five. Returning from serving in the Vietnam War, Studi became seriously involved with Native American politics. He joined the American Indian Movement and participated in their 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Studi subsequently attended college and helped start a Cherokee newspaper. He also began teaching the Cherokee language professionally before shifting to running his own horse ranch. The late 70s found Studi divorced and bereft of his ranch. Thinking it would be a good way to meet women, he decided to start taking acting lessons.

Studi gained substantial stage experience in many productions with the American Indian Theatre Company and in a touring one-man show, "Coyote Chews His Own Tale." He consolidated his standing in films with a searing performance as the fiercely angry Magua in Michael Mann's stirring adaptation of "The Last of the Mohicans" (1992). Studi finally entered the limelight via his gritty yet noble interpretation of the title role of Walter Hill's classically elegant $35 million biopic "Geronimo: An American Legend" (1993). The commercial failure of that project sent him back to more fully clothed character roles in the forgettable Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle "Street Fighter" (1994) and the high profile crime film "Heat" (1995). The latter project reunited him with "Last of the Mohicans" writer-director Mann and cast him as a L.A. cop aiding Al Pacino in his pursuit of professional thief Robert De Niro and his gang. Studi's distinctive bass voice can often be heard on TV documentaries about the Native American experience. He has also appeared in several historical TV-movies, series and miniseries.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Hostiles (2017)
2.
3.
 Condemned 2, The (2015)
6.
 Battledogs (2013)
7.
8.
 Avatar (2009)
9.
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1990:
Did a guest shot on the superhero series "The Flash"
1988:
Made TV debut in a small role of the ABC TV-movie, "Longarm"
1998:
Appeared in "Deep Rising"
2002:
Starred alongside Adam Beach in the PBS "Mystery!" production "Skinwalkers", directed by Chris Eyre
1993:
Appeared on HBO in "American Reunion: The People's Inaugural Celebration", reciting "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" in English and Cherokee
1993:
Cast as One Horse, a regular on the short-lived CBS Western "Ned Blessing: The Story of My Life and Times"
2005:
Co-starred in the Steven Spielberg produced "Into the West" (TNT)
1993:
Provided the voice of Crazy Horse for the syndicated Western documentary series, "The Wild West"
2014:
Appeared in Seth MacFarlane farce "A Million Ways to Die in the West"
2005:
Was cast in the Terrence Malick-scripted drama "The New World," about explorer John Smith and the clash between Native Americans and English settlers
1992:
Had his first major film role as Magua in "The Last of the Mohicans"
1992:
Lent his voice to the "In the White Man's Image" episode of the PBS documentary series "The American Experience"
1983:
Joined the American Indian Theater Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma
1995:
Made his TV miniseries debut in "Larry McMurtry's 'Streets of Laredo'", a sequel to "Lonesome Dove"
:
Began periodically performing his own one-man show, "Coyote Chews His Own Tail", which debuted at the West Coast Ensemble Theater in Hollywood
1988:
Made his feature acting debut in "Powwow Highway"
1984:
Made his stage debut in "Black Elk Speaks"
1993:
Starred as the title character in the biopic "Geronimo: An American Legend"
2008:
Joined the cast of "Comanche Moon," Larry McMurtry's prequel to his western saga "Lonesome Dove"
2009:
Returned to PBS's "American Experience" documentary in the multi-part episode "We Shall Remain"
2016:
Had a recurring role on "Penny Dreadful"
2017:
Starred opposite Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike in Scott Cooper's western drama "Hostiles"
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Education

Tulsa Junior College: Tulsa, Oklahoma -

Notes

His last name is pronounced STEW-dee.

Studi is the author of two books for the Cherokee Bilingual/Cross Cultural Education Center. He also did the translations into Cherokee, his native language, for Robert Schenkkan's Pulitzer Prize-winning stage drama, "The Kentucky Cycle".

"Cherokee actor Wes Studi relished playing the role of Magua in "The Last of the Mohicans". Having seen an early version of the film at a young age, Studi says, 'At that age, I could only see Magua as a total villain, with no reason for his savagery. I now know that he was a very important part of the story. It was with the reading of this script and the added insight of age that I came to realize that the soul and spirit of Magua can be found in the hearts and minds of Native Americans everywhere who have studied American history and its effects.'"--From Press kit for "The Last of the Mohicans"

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Rebecca Graves. School teacher. Cherokee; married 1974; divorced 1982; had two children with Studi.
wife:
Maura Dhu. Singer. Third wife; born c. 1954; met in 1988 has one child with Studi; father was actor Jack Albertson who appeared in the films "The Subject Was Roses" (1968) and "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972) and starred in TV's "Chico and the Man".

Family close complete family listing

father:
Andy Studie. Ranch hand.
mother:
Maggie Studie. Housekeeper.
son:
Daniel Studi. Born 1986; mother Rebecca Graves.
daughter:
Leah Studi. Born c. 1980; mother Rebecca Graves.
son:
Kholan Garret Studi. Born October 29, 1993 in Santa Fe, New Mexico; mother Maura Dhu.
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