Gil Birmingham

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Gil Birmingham
Born (1953-07-13) July 13, 1953 (age 69)
Years active1986–present

Gil Birmingham (born July 13, 1953) is an American actor known for his role as Tribal Chairman Thomas Rainwater in the Paramount Network's television series Yellowstone. He is also known for his portrayal of Billy Black in The Twilight Saga film series and recurring television roles as George Hunter in Banshee and Virgil White in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Early life[edit]

Birmingham was born in San Antonio, Texas.[1] He identifies his father as being of Comanche descent.[2] His family moved frequently during his childhood due to his father's career in the military. Birmingham learned to play the guitar at an early age and considers music to be his "first love."[3] After obtaining a Bachelor of Science from the USC Price School of Public Policy,[4] he worked as a petrochemical engineer, but later decided to become an actor.[5][6]


Music videos[edit]

In the early 1980s, a talent scout spotted Birmingham at a local gym, where he had been bodybuilding and entering bodybuilding contests. He was recruited for his first acting experience, in a music video for Diana Ross, for her 1982 hit song "Muscles."[7]

Theme parks[edit]

After appearing in Ross' music video, Birmingham began to pursue acting as his primary career. He studied acting with Larry Moss and Charles Conrad. He portrayed the character of Conan the Barbarian in Universal Studios Hollywood's theme park attraction The Adventures of Conan: A Sword and Sorcery Spectacular.[5]


In 1986, Birmingham made his television debut on an episode of the series Riptide. By 2002, he had a recurring role as the character Oz in the medical drama Body & Soul, starring Peter Strauss. In 2005, he was cast as the older Dogstar in the Steven Spielberg six-part miniseries Into the West.

He has appeared in a number of television series, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars, 10 Items or Less, Nip/Tuck, Castle, The Mentalist, House of Cards Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and “The Siren.” He has also had roles in several television films, such as Gentle Ben (with Dean Cain) and Gentle Ben 2,[8] Dreamkeeper, The Lone Ranger, and Love's Long Journey (with Erin Cottrell and Irene Bedard).


In 2001, Birmingham appeared in his first feature film, The Doe Boy, in which he portrayed Manny Deadmarsh.

In 2008, Birmingham was cast as the character Billy Black in The Twilight Saga film series. He performed in all five of the films.[9][10]

The Twilight series has led to roles in other major film roles, including that of Sheriff Johnny Cortez in Love Ranch (with Joe Pesci and Helen Mirren), and Cal Bishnik in Shouting Secrets (with The Twilight Saga: New Moon castmate Chaske Spencer). In September 2011, Birmingham appeared in the film Crooked Arrows, cast in the role of Ben Logan.[11]

Birmingham voiced Wounded Bird in the animated film Rango and has provided voice work for the television series The Wild Thornberrys (in which he voiced an Inuit elder) and the film Night at the Museum.[citation needed]

He played the partnering Texas Ranger to Jeff Bridges' character in the 2016 bank robbery film Hell or High Water.

In the Chickasaw Nation production of Te Ata, Birmingham plays Thomas Benjamin 'T.B.' Thompson, Mary Frances 'Te Ata' (Thompson) Fisher's father.[12][13] Birmingham attended the film's premiere in Moore, Oklahoma, on September 13, 2016.[14]

He was featured in The Space Between Us as Shaman Neka, which was released on February 3, 2017. He was featured as the father of a girl who dies on an Arapaho reservation in the 2017 film Wind River.

In February 2021, it was announced that Birmingham was cast as Charlie Bass in the upcoming Netflix thriller series Pieces of Her, which is adapted from the Karin Slaughter novel of the same name.[15]



Year Title Role Notes
1987 House II: The Second Story Featured Warrior
1996 Le Jaguar Bodyguard of Kumare
2001 The Doe Boy Manny Deadmarsh
2002 Skins Sonny Yellow Lodge
2005 End of the Spear Moipa Uncredited
2007 Cosmic Radio Tribal Council Leader
2008 Turok: Son of Stone Nashoba (voice)
2008 No Man's Land: The Rise of Reeker Eaglesmith
2008 Twilight Billy Black
2009 The Twilight Saga: New Moon
2010 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
2010 Love Ranch Sheriff Johnny Cortez
2011 Rango Wounded Bird (voice)
2011 Shouting Secrets Cal Bishnik
2011 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 Billy Black
2011 California Indian Charles "Chi" Thomas
2012 Crooked Arrows Ben Logan
2012 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 Billy Black Credited only
2013 The Lone Ranger Red Knee
2014 The Boxcar Children Lonan Browning Voice role
2016 Hell or High Water Alberto Parker
2017 Wind River Martin Hanson
2017 The Space Between Us Shaman Neka
2017 Transformers: The Last Knight Chief Sherman
2018 The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island Lonan Browning Voice role
2018 Saint Judy Michael Bowman
TBA The Marsh King's Daughter Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1986 Riptide Cop Episode: "Chapel of Glass"
1987 Falcon Crest Deputy Episode: "Desperation"
1997 The Legend of Calamity Jane Additional voices 13 episodes
1997 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Peru Man Episode: "Inca Mummy Girl"
1997 Night Man Vargas Episode: "I Left My Heart in San Francisco"
1997 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Brave #1 Episode: "Safe Passage"
1999 The Wild Thornberrys Jim's Dad (voice) Episode: "Tamper Proof Seal"
2001 Family Law Bernard Episode: "Americans"
2001 V.I.P. Roland Episode: "Uncle from V.A.L."
2002 Gentle Ben Pete Television film
2002 Body & Soul Oz Recurring role, 8 episodes
2003 Gentle Ben 2 Pete Television film
2003 The Lone Ranger One Horn Unsold television film
2003 Dreamkeeper Sam Television film
2005 Medical Investigation Walter Shephard Episode: "Tribe"
2005 Into the West Older Dogstar Television miniseries, 4 episodes
2005 Love's Long Journey Sharp Claw Television film
2006 Charmed Indian Chief Episode: "Payback's a Witch"
2006 Veronica Mars Leonard Lobo 2 episodes
2009 Nip/Tuck Shaman Episode: "Budi Sabri"
2009 10 Items or Less John Greene Episode: "Dances with Groceries"
2010 Castle Cacaw Te Episode: "Wrapped Up in Death"
2010 The Mentalist Markham Willis Episode: "Aingavite Baa"
2012 The Lying Game Ben Whitehorse 3 episodes
2012 Wilfred Red Wolf Episode: "Questions"
2012 Vegas Don Simmons 2 episodes
2014 Banshee George Hunter 5 episodes
2014 House of Cards Daniel Lanagin 4 episodes
2015–17 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Virgil 7 episodes
2016 Dr. Del Crow Television film
2017 Animal Kingdom Pearce Episode: "Betrayal"
2018-20 Siren Sheriff Dale Bishop 14 episodes
2018–present Yellowstone Thomas Rainwater Series regular
2019 NCIS: Los Angeles Navy Captain Steven Douglas Season Finale
2021 Pieces of Her Charlie Bass Recurring role
2022 Under the Banner of Heaven Bill Taba Main Role

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role
1999 Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun Ghostalker (voice)



  1. ^ Fifteenth Census of the United States, #93 Gilbert Birmingham (father Frank), Wharton, Texas, May 27, 1930. Frank was a farmer. Retrieved from
  2. ^ Leydon, Joe (August 14, 2018). "Gil Birmingham". Cowboys & Indians. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  3. ^ "Billy Black actor talks of role on eve of visiting LaPush". July 16, 2010. Archived from the original on April 6, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  4. ^ "Gil Birmingham adds 'Hell or High Water' to long resume". fresnobee.
  5. ^ a b Pond, Roscoe (April 2, 2003). "Through the Kindess of Strangers; Actor Gil Birmingham Arrives". Indian Country Today. 22 (42): D1.
  6. ^ Gire, Dann (June 24, 2010). "Daily Herald | A little bit of job advice, courtesy of two 'Twilight' stars". Archived from the original on April 7, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  7. ^ Kimberly Sherman (June 10, 2009). "An exclusive chat with Billy Black actor Gil Birmingham - Twilight Moonlighter". Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  8. ^ "Gil Birmingham Biography". Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  9. ^ Ditzian, Eric (July 8, 2010). "'Breaking Dawn' Part Two Release Date Not Set For Summer 2012 - MTV Movie News". MTV. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  10. ^ Kilpatrick, Christine (April 1, 2011). "Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart Married in Breaking Dawn". Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  11. ^ Rosenberg, Steven A. (August 11, 2011). "Local players add extra authenticity to movie about lacrosse -". Archived from the original on September 16, 2011. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  12. ^ "Gil Birmingham". Te Ata. The Chickasaw Nation. October 9, 2016. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  13. ^ "Te Ata Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. IMDb. October 9, 2016. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  14. ^ "Te Ata". Facebook. September 13, 2016. Retrieved October 9, 2016.
  15. ^ Petski, Denise (February 5, 2021). "'Pieces Of Her': Gil Birmingham, Terry O'Quinn & Calum Worthy Join Netflix Series As Recurring". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  16. ^ "Bio".

External links[edit]