Gil Birmingham

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Gil Birmingham
Born (1953-07-13) July 13, 1953 (age 63)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1986–present

Gil Birmingham (born July 13, 1953)[1] is an American actor of Comanche ancestry, best known for his portrayal of Billy Black in the Twilight Saga film series.

Early life and education[edit]

Birmingham was born in San Antonio, Texas. His family moved frequently during his childhood, due to his father's career in the military. He learned to play the guitar at an early age and considers music his "first love".[2] After obtaining a Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern California (he graduated from the School of Policy, Planning and Development),[3] he worked as a petrochemical engineer before becoming an actor.[4][5]


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. This led to his first acting experience, in a music video for Diana Ross, for her 1982 hit song "Muscles".[6]

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.[4]


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 and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. He has also had roles in several television films, such as Gentle Ben (with Dean Cain) and Gentle Ben 2: Danger on the Mountain,[7] 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 and has appeared in all four of the films.[8][9]

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 New Moon castmate Chaske Spencer). In September 2011, Birmingham appeared in the film Crooked Arrows, cast in the role of Ben Logan.[10]

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 bank robbery film Hell or High Water (2016).

In the Chickasaw Nation production of Te Ata, Birmingham plays Thomas Benjamin 'T.B.' Thompson, Mary Frances 'Te Ata' (Thomoson) Fisher's father.[11][12] Birmingham attended the film's premiere in Moore, Oklahoma on September 13, 2016.[13]


Year Title Role Notes
1986 Riptide Cop Episode #3.20 "Chapel of Glass"
1987 House II: The Second Story Featured Warrior
Falcon Crest Episode #6.28 "Desperation"
1996 Le Jaguar French movie
Night Man Vargus Episode #1.4 "I Left My Heart in San Francisco"
1997 Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Bodyguard Episode #2.4 "Inca Mummy Girl"
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Brave #1 Episode #6.11 "Safe Passage"
Night Man Vargus Episode #1.4 "I Left My Heart in San Francisco"
1999 The Wild Thornberrys Jim's dad voice over, Episode #2.10 "Tamper Proof Seal"
2001 Family Law Bernard Episode #2.21 "Americans"
V.I.P. Roland Episode #4.7 "Uncle from V.A.L."
The Doe Boy Manny Deadmarsh
2002 Gentle Ben Pete TV movie
Skins Sonny Yellow Lodge
Body & Soul Oz recurring character, 8 episodes
2003 Gentle Ben 2: Danger on the Mountain Pete TV movie
la milla verde Sam TV movie
The Lone Ranger One Horn TV movie
Dreamkeeper Sam TV movie
2005 Love's Long Journey Sharp Claw TV movie
Into the West Older Dogstar TV miniseries, 4 episodes
Medical Investigation Walter Shepard episode: Tribe
End of the Spear Moipa uncredited
2006 Night at the Museum Voice over
Charmed Indian Chief TV
2006 Veronica Mars Leonard Lobo TV
2007 Cosmic Radio Tribal Council leader
2008 Turok: Son of Stone Nashoba Voice over
California Indian Chi Thomas
Twilight Billy Black
2009 10 Items or Less John Greene "Dances with Groceries"
Nip/Tuck Shaman Episode #5.20 "Budi Sabri"
Love Ranch Sheriff Johnny Cortez
The Twilight Saga: New Moon Billy Black
2010 The Mentalist Markham Willis Episode "Aingavite Baa"
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Billy Black
Castle Cacaw Te Episode "Wrapped up in Death"
2011 Rango Wounded Bird (a crow)
Shouting Secrets Cal Bishnik In post-production
The Lying Game Ben Whitehorse 5 Episodes
Californian Indian Charles 'Chi' Thomas
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 Billy Black
2012 Crooked Arrows[10] Ben Logan
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 Credited
Vegas Don Simmons episodes: Pilot, and Solid Citizens
2013 The Lone Ranger Red Knee
2014 House of Cards Daniel Lanagin 4 episodes
2015-present Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Virgil White (Jacqueline's father) 5 episodes
2016 Hell or High Water Alberto Parker
2016 Te Ata Thomas Benjamin Thompson Plays father of Te Ata




  1. ^ Retrieved 1 July 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Billy Black actor talks of role on eve of visiting LaPush". 2010-07-16. Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  3. ^ Gil Birmingham adds ‘Hell or High Water’ to long resume
  4. ^ a b Pond, Roscoe (April 2, 2003). "Through the Kindess of Strangers; Actor Gil Birmingham Arrives". Indian Country Today. 22 (42): D1. 
  5. ^ Gire, Dann (2010-06-24). "Daily Herald | A little bit of job advice, courtesy of two 'Twilight' stars". Archived from the original on 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  6. ^ Kimberly Sherman (2009-06-10). "An exclusive chat with Billy Black actor Gil Birmingham - Twilight Moonlighter". Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  7. ^ "Gil Birmingham Biography". Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  8. ^ Ditzian, Eric (2010-07-08). "'Breaking Dawn' Part Two Release Date Not Set For Summer 2012 - MTV Movie News". MTV. Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  9. ^ Kilpatrick, Christine (2011-04-01). "Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart Married in Breaking Dawn". Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  10. ^ a b Rosenberg, Steven A. (2011-08-11). "Local players add extra authenticity to movie about lacrosse -". Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  11. ^ "Gil Birmingham". Te Ata. The Chickasaw Nation. October 9, 2016. Retrieved October 9, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Te Ata Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. IMDb. October 9, 2016. Retrieved October 9, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Te Ata". Facebook. September 13, 2016. Retrieved October 9, 2016. 
  14. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help);

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