December 28, 1977
Chamberlain, South Dakota, U.S.
|Other names||Michael Spears|
|Years active||1990 - present|
Michael Spears was born in Chamberlain, South Dakota near the Lower Brulé Indian Reservation to Native American parents and lived there until he was in fifth grade. After that, his family moved to Pierre, South Dakota. Later, his family moved to Aberdeen, South Dakota where he grew up and graduated Simmons Middle School then Aberdeen Central High School, graduating in 1995.
His debut role as the child character Otter, in the Academy-Award-winning 1990 film Dances with Wolves, also earned him national notice at thirteen years old. By the age of 17, Spears had acted in both TV and film with other actors, including Kevin Costner, Jimmy Smits and Kim Delaney. His younger brother Eddie is also an actor, with both movie and TV credits.
In 2007 he was preparing for the release of the movie, Imprint, in which he portrays Tom Grey Horse, a tribal police officer. Also in 2007 he filmed Shadowheart, which was released on August 4, 2009.
In 2005, Michael and Eddie Spears modeled for Cochiti Pueblo fashion designer Virgil Ortiz for his "Indigene" clothing line, and were featured on the cover of the August 2005 issue of New Mexico Magazine.
He has hosted and co-hosted the American Indian Film Institute Awards, the latest being the 38th Annual American Indian Film Institute Awards in 2013.
- American Indian Film Festival and Awards: Nominated in 2013 for Best Supporting Actor as Bud "One Bull" Ward in The Activist.
- American Indian Film Festival and Awards: Nominated in 2011 for Best Actor as Broken Wing in Yellow Rock.
- Bronze Wrangler Award at the Western Heritage Awards in 2012 for Lead Actor as Broken Wing in Yellow Rock.
- Young Artist Awards Nominated in 1993 for Best Young Actor Under Ten in a Television Movie as Adam, as a boy in The Broken Cord .
Spears is an accomplished hand drum player and singer, often performing at native American "pow-wow" gatherings and in non-tribal venues (he was the opening act for Rita Coolidge and Friends at her 2005 concert in Great Falls, Montana). Michael often travels as a celebrity speaker concentrating on inspirational and educational topics including sustainable energy, and mentors youth in South Dakota.
He worked with his late father, Patrick Spears, and his brother Eddie on COUP's (Intertribal Council on Utility Policy) Native Energy and Native Wind as part of the Inter-Tribal Group, whose goal is to encourage creation of "natural" sustainable energy sources. Formed in 1994, COUP provides a forum for utility issues discussion from regulatory and economic perspectives.
He can speak Lakota but is not fluent. Michael first learned from his father and grandfather, and is continuing to learn. During the filming of Into the West, he (and the other actors) had lessons from linguist, Charlie White Buffalo.
As per an article in Distinctly Montana, Spears' love in his life was "an Italian-American beauty with just a hint of Dine Cherokee” – they were not married and have 2 sons together. He has two other children from a previous relationship. Spears currently resides in Bozeman, Montana.
- Interview with Michael Spears by Patricia Sheridan, Pittsburgh Post Gazette
- Morreale, Marie. "DreamKeeper: Meet Eddie Spears", scholastic.com, February 25, 2004.
- Profile, spearsbrothersfans.webs.com; retrieved March 19, 2013.
- Shadowheart profile, imdb.com; accessed March 16, 2015.
- Review, nytimes.com; accessed March 16, 2015.
- Haaland, Debra. "An Eye for Fashion: Cochiti Pueblo's renowned potter Virgil Ortiz has expanded his artistic talents to the world of fashion, now rubbing elbows with famed international designer Donna Karan", nmmagazine.com; accessed March 16, 2015.
- IMDb profile, imdb.com; retrieved February 23, 2015.
- Profile, imdb.com; accessed March 16, 2015.
- Renaud, Roseanna, "KILI celebrates 25 years and wind turbine dedication", LakotaCountryTimes.com; accessed March 16, 2015.
- Interview with Michael Spears by Lynn Taylor Rick, Rapid City Journal
- Profile, distinctlymontana.com; accessed March 16, 2015.
- Hill, Pat. The Montana Pioneer "Native Stars: The Spears Brothers—Rising Stars Call Bozeman Home", mtpioneer.com; accessed March 16, 2015.
- Michael Spears at the Internet Movie Database
- Profile, michaelspearsactor.com; accessed March 16, 2015.