Adam Reuben Beach, actor (born at Ashern, Man 11 Nov 1972). Adam Beach was raised on the Dog Creek Reserve near Ashern and began his career at age 16 when he attended the Manitoba Theatre for Young People in Winnipeg. Before long he had made television appearances on CBC's popular series North of 60 and Lonesome Dove, the American miniseries shot in Alberta. He landed the lead in Disney's Squanto: A Warrior's Tale (1994), which in turn led to Beach being cast as the dopey, heavy-metal-loving Frank Fencepost in Bruce McDonald's Dance Me Outside (1995), based on the books of W.P. Kinsella. For the role, Beach won an American Indian Film Festival Award for best actor.
In 1998, Adam Beach had a lead in Smoke Signals, a cult hit and the first all-native movie made in the United States. His breakthrough in Hollywood came in 2002 with the lead in Windtalkers, where he played a Second World War Navajo "codetalker." The film was a disappointment at the box office, but Beach stood out and stole the spotlight from his co-star Nicholas Cage. Following Windtalkers, Beach played Jim Chee, a Navajo tribal police officer, in 3 made-for-television movies shot for PBS based on the mystery novels by Tony Hillerman: Skinwalkers (2002), Coyote Waits (2003) and A Thief of Time (2004).
In 2006 Adam Beach appeared in Flags of Our Fathers, Clint Eastwood's epic film about the bloody assault on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima during the Second World War, and the raising of the American flag in victory, immortalized in the iconic photograph by Joe Rosenthal. Beach played Ira Hayes, a Pima American Indian and one of the battle survivors who raised the flag and whose postwar descent into alcoholism and near madness has been told before on film but never with such haunted intensity. Beach's agonized portrait of the flawed, reluctant hero was made all the more poignant by the film's revelation that Hayes, like the other men who raised the flag, did show extraordinary bravery on the battlefield, but not in the way for which he was remembered in the photograph.
Other films in which Adam Beach has appeared include Cadillac Girls (1993), A Boy Called Hate (1995), Coyote Summer (1996), Song of Hiawatha (1997), Mystery, Alaska (1999), Joe Dirt (2001), The Art of Woo (2001), Posers (2002), The Big Empty (2003), Sawtooth (2004) and The Stranger (2010). His television work includes the made-for-TV movies Lost in the Barrens (1990) and Spirit Rider (1993), Madison (1997), The Rez (1997-98; the short-lived CBC series spinoff from Dance Me Outside) and the lead in Cowboys and Indians: The J.J. Harper Story (2003). He played George Keeshig in the Canadian series Moose TV (2007) and had a recurring role in the TV series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2007-08).
For his role in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2008) he won a 2008 Golden Globe Award for best actor. He appeared in Georgina Lightning's powerful film Older Than America (2008), about the institutional mistreatment of First Nations people and the impact on their culture. In 2009 he joined the cast of Big Love as a casino manager and in 2010 he guest-starred in the remake of the series Hawaii Five-O. He was in the blockbuster Cowboys Vs. Aliens with Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, and played Tommy Prince, Canada's most decorated First Nations veteran, in the 2011 biopic Tommy Prince: Prince of the Devils. In the TV series Combat Hospital (2011-) Beach is seen in a recurring role, and he played airline co-owner Bobby Martin in the series Arctic Air (2012-2014), set in Yellowknife, NWT.
Adam Beach is active as a speaker to First Nations youth and is interested in improving the conditions on his home reserve, the Lake Manitoba First Nation reserve. He ran for chief in 2006 and hopes to do so again in the future.