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August Schellenberg, Actor: Black Robe. August Schellenberg was born on July 25, 1936 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada as August Werner Schellenberg. He was an actor and director, known for Black Robe (1991), The New World (2005) and Free Willy (1993). He was married to Joan Karasevich. He died on August 15, 2013 in Dallas, Texas, USA.
August Werner Schellenberg (July 25, 1936 – August 15, 2013) was a Canadian theatre, film and television actor. He played Randolph in the first three installments of the Free Willy film series (1993–1997) as well as characters in Black Robe (1991), The New World (2005), and dozens of other films and television shows.
Oct 22, 2015 · This year, the festival will present the first annual August Schellenberg Award of Excellence initiated by the late actor’s wife, Joan Karasevich, and spearheaded by Métis artist, Jani Lauzon. August Schellenberg, of Mohawk ancestry, grew up in the foster home of a Métis woman and her ten children in Montreal.
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Schellenberg and his wife, actress Joan Karasevich, moved to a home near White Rock Lake in 1994, around the time Schellenberg was cast as Billy Gray Wolf in a couple of “Walker, Texas Ranger” episodes. Dallas is like Winnipeg, Karasevich says — without the harsh winters.
Mar 19, 2010 · August was born in Montréal, and later moved to Toronto, Ontario, and finally Dallas, Texas, U.S. August was married to actress Joan Karasevich, until his death. He had three children, including two with Joan. August’s paternal grandfather was named August Schellenberg (the son of Friedrich Schellenberg and Elisabeth Wirth).
- Early Years and Career
- Personal Life and Legacy
Schellenberg was born in Montréal to a Swiss-German father and a Mohawk-English mother. A boxer and champion diver, he grew up in a foster home and dropped out of high school to support himself, working as a delivery boy, waiter, bouncer and dockworker. In 1963, at age 27, he read a Time magazine article about the NTS. He applied, auditioned and was accepted, even though he had never seen a play and had to lie about his age to meet the requirements. He graduated from the NTS in 1966 and spent six months performing at high schools around Ontario with Toronto's Crest Theatre Hour Company. In 1967, he joined the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and received the coveted Tyrone Guthrie Awardfor Most Promising Young Actor.
Schellenberg performed in hundreds of stage productions across Canada and the US, with credits ranging from Shakespeare and Beaumarchais to Robertson Davies, George Bernard Shaw and Tennessee Williams. He worked with the Charlottetown Festival in Charlottetown, the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, the Centaur and Saidye Bronfman theatres in Montréal, The St. Lawrence Centre, Young People’s Theatre and Theatre Plus in Toronto, Rainbow Stage in Winnipeg and the Bastion Theatre in Victoria. In the US he appeared at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, the Dallas Shakespeare Theatre in Dallas and the 66th Street Armory in New York, among many others. One of his signature roles was the doomed Jaimie Paul in George Ryga’s groundbreaking drama, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, about racial prejudice faced by Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Schellenberg starred in the 1967 premiere at the Vancouver Playhouse and the 1969 production at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, the first play performed there. He f...
Schellenberg appeared in numerous Canadian films, beginning with Rip-Off in 1971. Other notable titles include Between Friends (1973), One Man (1977), Robin Spry’s Drying Up the Streets (1978), Heavy Metal (1981), Cross Country (1983), Don Shebib’s Running Brave (1983) and the Oscar-nominated NFB short, The Painted Door (1984). He received Genie nominations for best lead actor for L'Affaire Coffin (1980) and Latitude 55 (1984), and won a Genie Award for best supporting actor for his portrayal of the philosophical Algonquin Chief Chomina in Black Robe (1991). The success of that film led Schellenberg to Hollywood and the role of Randolph Johnson, the Haida handyman at an ocean aquarium in the popular Free Willy (1993) and its two sequels. In 2005 he played Powhatan in Terence Malick's The New World.
Schellenberg won the Gemini Award for best actor for The Prodigal (1983) and was nominated in 1996 for best guest actor for North of 60. He appeared in numerous series in both Canada and the US, including The Littlest Hobo, Road to Avonlea, Lonesome Dove: The Series, Walker: Texas Ranger, Due South, Saving Grace and Grey's Anatomy. His many made-for-television movies include Riel (1979), The Return of Ben Casey (1988), Geronimo (1993), Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee (1994), Dreamkeeper (2003) and Crazy Horse (1996), his second portrayal of Sitting Bull. His third, in Yves Simoneau’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee(2007), earned him an Emmy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Mini-Series.
Schellenberg taught acting seminars at Toronto’s Centre for Indigenous Theatre and York University, and held motivational workshops at schools and community centres across North America. He also supported such charities as The American Indian College Fund and The National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. He moved to Toronto from Montréal in 1967 and relocated to Dallas, TX, in 1995 with his wife, actress Joan Karasevich, to be close to their daughter. In 2005, Schellenberg was one of five inaugural inductees at the Aboriginal Walk of Honour Awards in Edmonton. He died in 2013 at age 77 after a long battle with lung cancer. The National Arts Centre in Ottawa lowered its flag to half-mast in his honour. Following his death, the tributes poured in. Jesse Wente, head of film programmes at TIFF Bell Lightbox and a culture critic for CBC Radio, called him “one of Canada’s finest actors.” Free Willyproducer Lauren Shuler Donner noted, “there was something otherworldly about Augie that dr...
Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Single Dramatic Program (The Prodigal), Gemini Awards(1986) Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Black Robe), Genie Awards(1991) Best Supporting Actor (Black Robe), American Indian Film Festival Eagle Spirit Awards (1991) Civic Honours Award of Merit, City of Toronto(1994) Outstanding Performance (Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee), First Americans in the Arts Awards (1994) Outstanding Performance (Free Willy III: The Rescue), First Americans in the Arts Awards (1997) Best Actor (Dreamkeeper), American Indian Film Festival Eagle Spirit Awards (2003) Outstanding Performance (The New World), First Americans in the Arts Awards (2005) Inductee, Aboriginal Walk of Honour (2005) Gascon-Thomas Award for Lifetime Achievement, National Theatre School (2007) Dr. Bernard-Chagnan-Assiniwi Prize, Land InSights (2009)