Irene Bedard

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Irene Bedard
Bedard at GalaxyCon Columbus in 2022
Years active1994–present
Denny Wilson
(m. 1993; div. 2012)

Irene Bedard is an American actress, who has played mostly lead Native American roles in a variety of films. She is perhaps best known for the role of Suzy Song in the 1998 film Smoke Signals,[1] an adaptation of a Sherman Alexie collection of short stories, as well as for providing the speaking voice for the titular character in the 1995 animated film Pocahontas. Bedard reprised her role as Pocahontas in the film's direct-to-video follow-up, Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World (1998) and for a cameo in Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018).

Early life[edit]

Bedard was born in Anchorage, Alaska, to an Iñupiaq mother and a Cree/French Canadian father.[2][3] She is an enrolled citizen of the Native Village of Koyuk in Alaska.[4] Bedard graduated from Dimond High School in Anchorage, Alaska in 1985. Bedard attended The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she studied musical theater.[citation needed]


In 1994, Bedard appeared in her first role as Mary Crow Dog in the television production of Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee, which depicted the 1970s standoff between the US government and citizens of several Native nations, including many of the Pine Ridge Reservation, at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. For this role, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film.[5] She is probably best known as the voice of the eponymous heroine in the 1995 Disney animated film Pocahontas, the direct-to-video 1998 sequel Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World and in the 2018 film Ralph Breaks the Internet. She appeared in a different take of the story in Terence Malick's 2005 film The New World, as Pocahontas's mother, Nonoma Winanuske Matatiske.

In 1995, Bedard was chosen as one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People".[6]

In 2001, Irene Bedard hosted the Ninth Annual First Americans in the Arts (FAITA) Awards from the Beverly Hilton Hotel.[7] In 2002, at the Tenth Annual FAITA Awards, Bedard won Outstanding Guest Performance by an Actress in a TV Drama Series for The Agency.[8]

In 2005, she was cast in the television mini-series Into the West as Margaret "Light Shines" Wheeler.[9] Bedard has been very active in environmental groups to protect sacred lands.[10] In 1997, she co-hosted with Floyd Westerman a benefit for the Dine' People of Big Mountain at The Loft Theatre, in Pasadena. In 2015, she appeared in Chloé Zhao's debut feature film, Songs My Brothers Taught Me. In 2016, Bedard announced an agreement with the Catawba Nation of South Carolina to join in a production agreement.[11] In 2017, she appeared as a recurring character in the TV series The Mist. Bedard made an appearance in the music video for Jay-Z's 2017 song "Family Feud".[12][13]

In 2020, Bedard played a recurring character in seasons one and two of the drama series FBI: Most Wanted. She then was a starring cast member in the Paramount+ miniseries The Stand, as Ray Brentner, a gender-swapped version of Ralph Brentner from the 1994 adaptation.[14][15] In 2022, she was cast as Yagoda in the 2024 Netflix series Avatar: The Last Airbender and as Sylvie Nanmac in Alaska Daily, the mother of a missing indigenous woman.[16]

Personal life[edit]

In 1993, Bedard married musician Denny Wilson.[17] Between her films, the pair toured for several years with other musicians in a band called "ID," which came from the initials of their first names, Irene and Deni. In 2012, the couple divorced following Bedard's allegations of Wilson abusing Bedard.[18][17][19] Denny however, denied all these accusations.[17]

Legal issues[edit]

In 2020, Bedard was arrested twice in three days. The first arrest was for alleged domestic violence, assault, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and criminal damaging; the second was for alleged disorderly conduct.[20] In 2022 she was again arrested for disorderly conduct in Xenia, Ohio.[21]



Year Title Role Notes
1994 Squanto: A Warrior's Tale Nakooma
1995 Pocahontas Pocahontas (voice)
1996 Navajo Blues Audrey Wyako
1997 Song of Hiawatha Minnehaha
Det store flip Oglala AKA, Wild Flowers
1998 6/29 Laura Cooper
Naturally Native Tanya Lewis
Smoke Signals Suzy Song
Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World Pocahontas (voice) Direct-to-video
12 Bucks Babe
1999 Wildflowers Ruby
2000 Pussykat Un-produced
2001 Your Guardian Katherine 'Kat' Damon
2003 Paris Sandy
Greasewood Flat Abbey
Edge of America Annie Shorty TV movie
2005 Planting Melvin Billie Lawrence
Miracle at Sage Creek Sunny
Love's Long Journey Miriam Red Hawk McClain TV movie
The New World Pocahontas's Mother (Nonoma)
2007 Cosmic Radio K.C.
Tortilla Heaven Liberata
The Red Chalk Eve
2008 Turok: Son of Stone Catori (voice) Direct-to-video
2011 The Tree of Life Messenger
Timberwolf Eleni Pre-Production
2013 Vertical Lucy Mills
2014 Ron and Laura Take Back America Mrs. Alma
2015 Songs My Brothers Taught Me Lisa Winters
2017 Spreading Darkness Marci Gippolin
2018 Ralph Breaks the Internet Pocahontas (voice)
2019 The Bygone Mrs. Call
2022 The Harbinger Floating Hawk Also executive producer
How to Blow Up a Pipeline Joanna
Mending the Line Mrs. Redcloud
2023 On Sacred Ground Mary Singing Crow
Hey, Viktor! Irene


Year Title Role Notes
1994 Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee Mary Crow Dog TV movie
1995 The Marshal Melissa Carey Episode: "Twoslip"
1996 Grand Avenue Reyna TV movies
Crazy Horse Black Buffalo Woman
Adventures from the Book of Virtues Morning Light and Sharp Eyes / Chief's Daughter (voice) Episodes: "Honesty" and "Perseverance"
The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest Alice Starseer (voice) Episodes: "Return of the Anasazi"; "Trouble on the Colorado"
1997 Profiler Maddy Duvall Episode: "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"
True Women Tobe TV movie
1998 Two for Texas Sana TV movie
1999 Blood Money Naomi Lister TV movie
1999–2001 Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles General Miriam Redwing (voice) 4 episodes
2000 The Lost Child Grace TV movie
2001 The Outer Limits Callie Whitehorse Landau Episode: "In the Blood"
The Agency Diah Siagian Episode: "The Year of Living Dangerously"
House of Mouse Pocahontas (voice) Episode: "Thanks to Minnie"
2004 What's New, Scooby-Doo? Cody Long (voice) Episode: "New Mexico, Old Monster"
2005 Higglytown Heroes Forest Ranger Hero (voice) Episode: "Fran Takes a Hike/Mystery at Kip's House"
Into the West Margaret Light Shines Episodes: "Hell on Wheels"; "Casualties of War"; "Ghost Dance"
2008–2009 The Spectacular Spider-Man Jean DeWolff (voice) 4 episodes
2012 Young Justice: Invasion Shelly Longshadow (voice) 1 episode
2012–2015 Longmire May Stillwater 3 episodes
2017 The Mist Kimi Lucero 9 episodes
2018 Westworld Wichapi Episode: "Kiksuya"
2020 FBI: Most Wanted Mary Lou Skye 8 episodes
2020–2021 The Stand Ray Brentner Television miniseries
2022–2023 Alaska Daily Sylvie Nanmac 6 episodes
2024 Avatar: The Last Airbender Yagoda 2 episodes[22]

Music video[edit]

Year Title Artist(s) Role
2017 "Family Feud" Jay-Z featuring Beyoncé Madam President

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role
1995 Animated Storybook: Pocahontas Pocahontas (voice)
1996 Disney's Pocahontas Pocahontas (voice)
2021 Cookie Run: Kingdom Pocahontas Cookie (voice)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Film Result
1995 Golden Globe Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee Nominated
1999 Western Heritage Awards Bronze Wrangler - Television Feature Film Two for Texas Won
2004 First Americans in the Arts Awards Best Lead Actress in a Feature Film Greasewood Flat Won
2002 First Americans in the Arts Awards Outstanding Guest Performance by an Actress in a TV Drama Series The Agency Won
2006 NAMIC Vision Awards Best Dramatic Performance Into the West Won
Western Heritage Awards Bronze Wrangler - Television Feature Film Won


  1. ^ Smith, Lydia (November 9, 2021). "Native American Heritage Month Screening No. 2: 'Smoke Signals'". The Post. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  2. ^ "Irene Bedard, Iñupiaq-Cree Actress". February 18, 2017.
  3. ^ Byrne, Bridget (July 7, 1996). "COVER STORY;Crazy Horse, Warrior and Mystic". The New York Times. Retrieved April 4, 2024.
  4. ^ Aleiss, Angela (August 5, 2021). "From The Squaw Man to Rutherford Falls: The Rise of Hollywood's Contemporary Native American Woman". Bright Lights Film Journal. Retrieved August 7, 2021.
  5. ^ "Winners & Nominees 1995". Golden Globe Awards.
  6. ^ People Staff (May 8, 1995). "Irene Bedard". People. Retrieved December 6, 2022.
  7. ^ "First American in the Arts Awards". Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  8. ^ "first american in the arts awards 2002". Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  9. ^ Marill, Alvin H. (2010). Movies Made for Television: 2005-2009. Scarecrow Press. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-8108-7659-0.
  10. ^ Kell, Jason (September 5, 2003). "Bedard sinks native roots into creative projects". OnMilwaukee.
  11. ^ Kimball, Tracy (May 5, 2016). "Catawba Indians and 'Pocahontas' star announce film production partnership". The Herald.
  12. ^ Fredette, Meagan (December 29, 2017). "Jay-Z's New 'Family Feud' Video Reminds Us The Future Is Female". Refinery29. Retrieved December 6, 2022.
  13. ^ Carlin, Shannon (December 30, 2017). "Everyone Wants To Know Who Played Madam President In Jay-Z's 'Family Feud'". Refinery29. Retrieved December 6, 2022.
  14. ^ Colburn, Randall (August 25, 2020). "The apocalypse arrives this winter, CBS All Access confirms". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 7, 2022.
  15. ^ Fienberg, Daniel (December 15, 2020). "'The Stand': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  16. ^ Fields, Sarah (October 14, 2022). "Alaska Daily Season 1 Episode 3 – IRENE BEDARD". Tell-Tale TV. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  17. ^ a b c "About Denny".
  18. ^ Rob (November 21, 2010). "Irene Bedard abused". Newspsaper Rock. Retrieved December 6, 2022.
  19. ^ Samantha Agate (July 24, 2022). "'Pocahontas' Star Irene Bedard's Son Begs For Help After She Is Arrested TWICE In 3 Days". Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  20. ^ Crowley, James (December 3, 2020). "'Pocahontas' Voice Actor Irene Bedard-Wilson Arrested Twice Earlier This Week".
  21. ^ Parkel, Inga (August 25, 2022). "Voice of Disney's Pocahontas arrested for disorderly conduct". The Independent.
  22. ^ Williams, Caleb (August 21, 2022). "'Pocahontas' Voice Actress Irene Bedard Joins 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' on Netflix". Knight Edge Media. Retrieved August 25, 2022.

External links[edit]