Canadian-born actor August Werner Schellenberg died on August 15, 2013 after a long battle with lung cancer.
He made his television debut in 1970 on an episode of “Castle Zaremba” and got introduced to film audiences when he appeared in the Canadian coming-of-age drama “Rip-Off” the following year. Schellenberg’s career has included a number of intriguing projects.
He’s voiced characters in the 1981 cult animated film “Heavy Metal”, gotten cast as a Mob soldier in 1994’s “Getting Gotti”, and played a prospector murder suspect in the 1980 docudrama “L’Affaire Coffin”.
But Schellenberg’s most cherished parts have been Native Americans, be it the Apache warrior Cochise (“Geronimo”), his award-winning turn as the fictional 1600s-era Algonquin guide Chomina (“Black Robe”), or the full-blooded Choctaw grandfather of Holly Hunter’s Grace Hanadarko (“Saving Grace”).
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.
He also starred in Dreamkeeper (2003) as Pete Chasing Horse.
Schellenberg was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on July 25, 1936 to a Swiss father and an English-Mohawk mother.
He lived in Montreal until moving to Toronto, Ontario, where he made his home from 1967 until 1995.
He was living in Dallas and married to actress Joan Karasevich and is the father of three daughters.
When he’s not acting, August can be found working out, playing with his grandchildren, reading crime fiction, or enjoying music.
A skilled amateur chef, August cooks frequently for his family and friends and has been a guest chef at celebrity cook-offs benefiting various organizations.
August is a lifelong athlete, a champion diver and boxer in his youth who currently participates in celebrity charity sporting events.
August has taught acting seminars at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre and at York University, both in Toronto.
She described Schellenberg as a loving family man and an iconic Canadian actor.
He was married to Canadian actress Joan Karasevich and is the father of three daughters.
His extensive list of appearances in theatre, film and television include Black Robe, Free Willy and CBC’s North of 60.
He received three Genie award nominations, winning once for his role in Black Robe.
In 2012, Schellenberg played the titular role in an all-First Nations version of Shakespeare’s King Lear at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.