Misty Upham

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Misty Upham
Born Misty Anne Upham
(1982-07-06)July 6, 1982
Kalispell, Montana
Died October 5, 2014(2014-10-05) (aged 32)
Auburn, Washington
Occupation Actress
Years active 2002–2014

Misty Anne Upham (July 6, 1982 – October 5, 2014) was a Native American actress best known for her role in the 2008 film Frozen River, for which she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female. She also appeared in Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian and August: Osage County.


Misty Upham was born on July 6, 1982, in Kalispell, Montana, and raised in Auburn, Washington, about 28 miles south of Seattle. She was Native American, a member of the Blackfeet Nation.[1]

Upham was sexually abused and gangraped as a child and suffered from depression.[2]


Upham's film credits include Expiration Date, Edge of America, Skins and Skinwalkers. In 2010, she appeared on HBO's Big Love. In 2013, she played a major supporting role in Arnaud Desplechin's Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian, selected in competition for the Palme d'Or at the 66th Festival de Cannes.[1] She played housekeeper Johnna in August: Osage County. She also played Liz in Cake with Jennifer Aniston.


On Sunday, October 5, 2014, Upham left her sister's apartment on the Muckleshoot Reservation in Auburn, Washington, on foot. The following weekend, her family announced via Facebook and other media that she had not been heard from since then and that they were concerned for her welfare, citing past mental health problems.[3][4][5][6] A spokesman for the Auburn Police Department told CNN that police had not opened an investigation and were not regarding Upham as a missing person at that time. He confirmed that family members had contacted police on several occasions in the past year to report Upham missing but that she had been located and determined to be safe within a few days in each previous case.[7]

On October 16, 2014, Misty Upham's body was found by a small search party organized by her family and other members of the Muckleshoot Tribe.[8] She was found at the bottom of a cliff in a wooded area,[9][10] just a short distance from where the family had previously searched.[8] Members of the search party believe her death was an accident; that she fell off the cliff in the dark and that her life could have been saved had there been a prompt and thorough search.[8] Citing lack of action on the part of the Auburn police, and alleging past abuse of Misty Upham by members of the Auburn Police Department, Upham's family released a statement that reads in part:

"But the real tragedy is this could have been prevented on a lot of levels. We pleaded with the Auburn Police to help us find Misty but Commander Stocker made the decision that Misty did not fit the criteria of the Washington State Endangered Missing Persons Plan. This became a point of contention between us and the Auburn PD. In a statement he gave to the press he said Auburn PD doesn't have any evidence that Misty is actually missing. He went to say that Misty packed her belonging and left her apartment. This was an inaccurate statement. We believe that Commander Stocker had animosity against Misty due to a previous encounter."[8]

"Now press reports are saying that Auburn police department found Misty. The truth is the Native American community formed a search party and found her after several days of searching without the help of the Auburn PD".[8]

On December 3, 2014, the King County Medical Examiner revealed Misty Upham had died of blunt-force injuries to her head and torso on October 5, 2014, the day she disappeared.[11] The examiner could not determine whether the manner of her death is by foul play, suicide or accident.[12]


Year Title Role Director Notes
2002 Skins Mrs. Blue Cloud Chris Eyre
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet Dawn Paul Seed TV Series (2 episodes)
Skinwalkers Nina Chris Eyre TV movie
2003 Dreamkeeper Chief's Daughter Steve Barron TV movie
Edge of America Shirleen Chris Eyre TV movie
2006 Expiration Date Charlie's Mother Rick Stevenson
2008 Frozen River Lila Littlewolf Courtney Hunt American Indian Film Festival for Best Supporting Actress
Alliance of Women Film Journalists for Best Newcomer
Nominated–Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
Nominated–Central Ohio Film Critics Association for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated–Utah Film Critics Association for Best Supporting Actress
2010 The Dry Land Gloria Ryan Piers Williams
Big Love Leila Stilwell Adam Davidson
David Petrarca
TV series (2 episodes)
2011 Mascots Karen Scott Aaron Hartmann Short
2012 Django Unchained Minnie Quentin Tarantino
Every Other Second Nurse Kelly Harrison Sanborn Short
2013 Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian Jane Arnaud Desplechin
August: Osage County Johnna Monevata John Wells Hollywood Film Festival - Ensemble of the Year
Capri Ensemble Cast Award
Nominated–Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated–Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Without Fire May Eliza McNitt Short
2014 Cake Liz Daniel Barnz
2015 Within Tina Walsh Phil Claydon


  1. ^ a b Schmidt, Rob. " Blackfeet Actress Misty Upham On Filming 'Jimmy P.' with Benicio Del Toro." Indian Country Today Media Network. 30 Sept 2013. Accessed 1 Feb 2014.
  2. ^ Anderson, Rick. "The Painful Life and Mysterious Death of Misty Upham". Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  3. ^ "August: Osage County Actress Misty Upham Missing". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "Actress Misty Upham still missing in Seattle area". Native Times. Associated Press. October 15, 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Actress Misty Upham Missing; Last Seen in Muckleshoot, WA". Indian Country Today Media Network. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "Family: Actress Misty Upham missing in Washington". 10 October 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  7. ^ Griggs, Brandon (October 13, 2014). "Actress' disappearance baffles family". CNN. Retrieved October 13, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Misty Upham's Father Says Her Death Was an Accident, but Alleges Mistreatment by Police". Indian Country Today Media Network. 17 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  9. ^ Miletich, Steve; Cornwell, Paige (October 16, 2014). "Body found in Auburn believed to be missing actress". Seattle Times. Retrieved October 16, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Misty Upham Found Dead: Family Of 'Frozen River' Actress Says Police Uncooperative In Search". Deadline Hollywood. October 16, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Misty Upham Cause of Death Revealed: Actress Died of Blunt-Force Injuries". uk.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2015-12-27. 
  12. ^ Seattle, Kristen Millares Young in. "Misty Upham: the tragic death and unscripted life of Hollywood's rising star". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-12-27. 

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