Mohawk actor August Schellenberg dies at 77
Mohawk actor August Schellenberg died Thursday night in his home at Dallas after a battle with lung cancer. He was 77.
The actor’s agent, Jamie Levitt, said Schellenberg died Thursday surrounded by his family.
She described Schellenberg as a loving family man and an iconic Canadian actor. He was married to Canadian actress Joan Karasevich and is the father of three daughters.
Born in Montreal to a Mohawk-English mother and Swiss-German father, Schellenberg was a champion diver and boxer in his youth. He graduated from Montreal’s National Theatre School of Canada in 1966. He lived in Toronto from 1967 until 1995, and later moved to Dallas.
His extensive list of appearances in theatre, film and television include Black Robe, Free Willy and CBC’s North of 60. He received three Genie award nominations, winning once for his role in Black Robe.
In 2007, he was nominated for an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for his role as Chief Sitting Bull in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.
In 2012, Schellenberg played the titular role in an all-First Nations version of Shakespeare’s King Lear at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.
“August Schellenberg had been thinking about mounting King Lear in 1967, just two years before the NAC opened its doors in Ottawa,” said Peter Herrndorf, NAC president and CEO. “Through his friendship and collaboration with our former artistic director of English theatre, Peter Hinton, that dream was realized in our theatre in 2012. It was a ground-breaking and proud production.”
“Words cannot explain how much you will be missed,” tweeted the NAC’s communications officer Sean Fitzpatrick.
“Augie had an incredible wit, and an incredible sense of humour,” said Jani Lauzon. She co-starred in Schellenberg’s Lear as both the Fool and Cordelia.
“He was such an incredible role model on the screen, but [also] an incredible actor. His performance and what he brings to every role was extraordinary.”
The National Arts Centre has lowered its flag today in his honour.