Jay Silverheels was born on a reservation in Canada to a Mohawk chief. He was a star lacrosse player and a boxer before he entered films as a stuntman in 1938. He worked in a number of films though the 1940s before he gained some notice as the Osceola brother in Humphrey Bogart's film Key Largo (1948). Most of his roles consisted of bit parts as "Indian." In 1949, he would work in a movie called The Cowboy and the Indians (1949) with another "B movie" actor named Clayton Moore. It was later that same year that Jay would be hired to play the faithful Indian companion, Tonto, in the television series "The Lone Ranger" (1949). This role, while still playing the "Indian," would bring Jay the fame that his motion picture career never did. As Tonto, on his horse Scout, Jay could show up where the Ranger could not and some of the time he would be shot at or beat up for his trouble. Jay would play Tonto in all the episodes except for those that he missed when he had his heart attack. In those episodes, he was replaced by the Ranger's nephew, Dan. However, Clayton Moore would miss the third season when he was replaced by John Hart. Jay would reprise the role of Tonto in two big-screen color movies with Moore, The Lone Ranger (1956) and The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold (1958). After the series ended in 1957, Jay could not escape the typecasting of Tonto. He would continue to appear in an occasional film and television show, but he would become a spokesman to improve the portrayal of Indians on TV.IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Familiar Canadian Indian actor who shot to fame as Tonto, the faithful Indian companion of the masked man on the US television series "The Lone Ranger" (1949). A member of the Mohawk tribe, he excelled at wrestling, horse racing, football, boxing, and hockey, and became a renowned lacrosse player. With the help of actor Joe E. Brown, Silverheels obtained work as a stuntman and extra in Hollywood films. Following military service in World War II, Silverheels returned to film work and began landing small, often stereotypical roles as Indian warriors in Westerns. John Huston used him as one of the fugitive Osceola brothers in Key Largo (1948), and Silverheels followed this with the two roles that would define his career, Tonto and the Apache leader Geronimo, whom he would play several times beginning with the Western classic Broken Arrow (1950). His enormous fame as Tonto overshadowed everything else he did, though it did not prevent him from playing other parts to noticeable effect. Even after the end of "The Lone Ranger" (1949) series, he continued to be called upon to reprise Tonto for commercials, comic guest spots, and spoofs. He became an outspoken activist for Indian rights as well as a respected teacher within the Indian acting community. He appeared several times on talk and variety shows performing his own poetry. In later years, he played fewer parts of importance and began a second career as a harness racer. His health failed in the late Seventies and he died of a stroke in 1980, a beloved figure to the Baby Boom generation America. His son, Jay Silverheels Jr. has acted in television as well.IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
|Mary Diroma||(1946 - 5 March 1980) (his death) 4 children|
U.S. government records give Silverheels' birthdate as 26 June 1912, though virtually all cinema reference works disagree, giving instead the 1919 date listed here.
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1993.
Was an avid horse-racer when not acting. When asked if he ever thought about running Silver or Scout (who portrayed the steeds of the Lone Ranger and Tonto, respectively) in a race, Silverheels laughed: "Heck, *I* can beat Scout."
Father of Jay Silverheels Jr.
Was a full-blooded Mohawk Indian, the son of a chief.
Of the near 200 joint ventures Silverheels made with Clayton Moore, the actors co-starred in just 4 features where they did NOT play Tonto and The Lone Ranger: Perils of Nyoka (1942), The Cowboy and the Indians (1949), Cyclone Fury (1951) and The Black Dakotas (1954).
Resided in Canoga Park, Ca and used to take walks around his neighborhood. Daughter attended and graduated from Canoga Park High School.
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