August Schellenberg

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August Schellenberg
August Werner Schellenberg

(1936-07-25)July 25, 1936
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
DiedAugust 15, 2013(2013-08-15) (aged 77)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Resting placeSparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery
Other namesAugie Schellenberg
EducationNational Theatre School of Canada
Years active1964–2013
SpouseJoan Karasevich

August Werner Schellenberg (July 25, 1936 – August 15, 2013) was a Canadian actor.[1] He played Randolph in the first three installments of the Free Willy film series (1993–1997) as well as characters in Black Robe (1991), The New World (2005), and dozens of other films and television shows.

During his career, Schellenberg won a Gemini Award in 1986 and a Genie Award in 1991, as well as being nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in 2007.

Life and career[edit]

Schellenberg was born and lived in Montreal, Quebec, until he moved to Toronto, Ontario, in 1967.[2] He was of English, Mohawk and Swiss-German descent.[3] He also spoke French. He was based in Toronto until 1995. He lived in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, actress Joan Karasevich. He was the father of three daughters, two with Karasevich. He was trained at the National Theatre School of Canada from 1963 to 1966.

His initial work was in the Don Shebib-directed coming-of-age film Rip-Off, in 1971. In 1981, he did voices for the animated film Heavy Metal. During the 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.[4] He also starred in Dreamkeeper (2003) as Pete Chasing Horse.

Schellenberg was nominated for three Genie Awards and won one (for Black Robe). He was also nominated for two Gemini Awards, and won one (for the television movie The Prodigal).[5]

In 2012, he performed the title role in an all-aboriginal production of William Shakespeare's King Lear at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, alongside a cast that also included Billy Merasty as Gloucester, Tantoo Cardinal as Regan, Jani Lauzon in a dual role as Cordelia and the Fool, Craig Lauzon as Kent, and the play's assistant director, Lorne Cardinal, as The Duke of Albany.[6]

During his lifetime, Schellenberg taught acting seminars at Toronto's Centre for Indigenous Theatre and York University. He conducted motivational workshops in schools and for cultural and community organizations across North America.[2] Schellenberg's younger brother played Dior in Grey's Anatomy, season 5. Shortly after that, August died of lung cancer.


Schellenberg died on August 15, 2013, in Dallas, Texas after a long battle with lung cancer.[7][8] He was interred at Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery.[9]




  • Shoestring Theatre (1964, Episode: "The Dark Mirror")
  • The New Avengers (1977, Episode: "Forward Base") - Bailey
  • The Hitchhiker (1983, Episode: "When Morning Comes") - Bob Ames
  • Tramp at the Door (1985) - Albert Fournier
  • The Equalizer (1986, Episode: "Unpunished Crimes") - Brennan
  • Phillip Marlowe (1986, Episode: "Blackmailers Don't Shoot") - Johnny Tango
  • Lance et compte (1986 television series) - Allan Goldberg
  • Airwolf (1987, Episode: "Deathtrain") - Gregori Nobokov
  • Champagne Charlie (1989) - General Butler
  • North of 60 (1994–1995) - Ben Montour
  • The Adventures of Tintin (1992) - (English version, voice)
  • Walker Texas Ranger (1994–1995) - Billy Gray Wolf
  • Lonesome Dove: The Series (1994, Episode: "Last Stand") - Chief Iron Bow
  • The West - episodes - Speck of the Future, Death Runs Riot, and Fight No More Forever - voice (1996)
  • So Weird (2000, Episode: "Destiny") - Tom Martinez
  • Chiefs (2002, TV Mini-Series documentary) - Sitting Bull
  • The Making of 'DreamKeeper (2004, Video documentary short) - Himself
  • Making 'The New World (2006, Video documentary) - Himself
  • Saving Grace (2007–2010) - GeePaw
  • Grey's Anatomy (2008, Episode: "These Ties That Bind") - Clay Bedonie


  1. ^ Townend, Paul (August 19, 2013). "August Schellenberg". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Biography". 1936-07-25. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
  3. ^ "August Schellenberg was trailblazer in Canadian theatre". The Globe and Mail. October 11, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2021. August Werner Schellenberg was born July 25, 1936, in Montreal, the only child of an English-Mohawk mother and a Swiss father.
  4. ^ "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee | Television Academy". Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  5. ^ "Canadian actor August Schellenberg dies at 77". Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  6. ^ "Aboriginal cast in staging of King Lear"[permanent dead link]. Ottawa Citizen, May 12, 2012.
  7. ^ "August Schellenberg Dead -- 'Free Willy' Star Dies at 77". EHM Productions, Inc. 16 August 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Mohawk actor August Schellenberg dies at 77". CBC/Radio-Canada. 16 August 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  9. ^ Simnacher, Joe (17 August 2013). "Actor in 'Free Willy' movies". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 29 January 2019. Retrieved 15 April 2019 – via PressReader.

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