Rudy Youngblood

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Rudy Youngblood
Rudy Gonzalez

(1982-09-21) September 21, 1982 (age 36)
OccupationActor, musician
Years active2005–present

Rudy Youngblood (born Rudy Gonzalez, September 21, 1982), is a Native American actor, musician, dancer, and artist.[1][2] He was born in Belton, Texas. Youngblood is of Comanche, Cree, and Yaqui ancestry.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in a small town in Texas, Rudy Youngblood grew up with two younger sisters; they were supported by their mother as their father was not around.[3] At the age of ten, he started working at construction jobs and learned skills and stories from the men. He has learned carpentry, brick laying, and other skills.[3] He went to local schools and was competitive in boxing and track athletics in high school.[3] He frequently went to movies and became a fan of film. Upon graduation, he was offered Fulbright scholarships to major colleges in both art and track and field, but he chose Native dance instead. He has performed with the American Indian Dance Theatre.[3]

Following success in his role in Apocalypto, the Los Angeles Times reported that his Native American ancestry has been questioned, but Rudy has dismissed these claims.[2]

Acting career[edit]

Going to a general casting call, Youngblood was selected by the director Mel Gibson to play the leading role of Jaguar Paw in the epic film Apocalypto (2006), in which he also performed his own stunts.[3] He learned the Yucatec Maya language in order to appear as a tribesman in the film, in which all dialogue was in Maya.[3] For his work in the film, he won the Best Actor award at the 15th annual First Americans in the Arts awards.[4]

Personal life and activism[edit]

Youngblood has participated in HIV activism, engaging in AIDS walks and visiting HIV-positive children in hospitals — in particular to draw attention to the rate of HIV infection in the Native community.[3] Having seen a family-member die of AIDS-related complications, he felt it important to "give back and make a difference"[3] and has spoken out about the importance of education in combating ignorance around HIV/AIDS, alcoholism, drug abuse and child abuse.[3] Having grown up looking after his sisters as a result of his mother's struggles with alcoholism, he regained a close relationship with her subsequently.[3]


Year Film Role Notes[5]
2005 Spirit: The Seventh Fire Warrior Protector
2006 Apocalypto Jaguar Paw Won: First Americans in the Arts award for Best actor[4]
2010 Beatdown Brandon Becker
2012 Into the Americas Toowin
2015 Windwalkers Matty Kingston
2016 Crossing Point Mateo


  1. ^ "Rudy Youngblood". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b Welkos, Robert W. (28 March 2007). "Apocalypto actor's ancestry questioned". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Dulin, Dann (2 March 2013). "Undaunted Spirit". A&U — America's AIDS Magazine. Archived from the original on 2 March 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  4. ^ a b "15th Annual First Americans in the Arts Awards". Getty Images. April 14, 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2018. Actor Rudy Youngblood receives a Best Actor award from director Mel Gibson for his role in Apocalypto at the 15th Annual First Americans in the Arts Awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 14, 2007 in Los Angeles, California.
  5. ^ Rudy Youngblood on IMDb Edit this at Wikidata Retrieved February 27, 2018.

External links[edit]