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Saginaw Grant, prolific Native American actor, dies at 85

Muri Assuncao, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

Saginaw Grant, a prolific Native American actor who won a lifetime achievement award at the Oceanside International Film Festival in 2014, has died. He was 85.

“It’s with heavy hearts we announce a warrior has been called home,” read a note shared Wednesday on his official Facebook page.

Grant, the hereditary chief and medicine man of the Sac and Fox tribe, “traveled the world speaking of his traditions, his experiences, his sobriety and his faith as both a Native American and a Christian,” the note added.

He attended Ponca Military Academy and served with the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War.

Grant died Wednesday peacefully in his sleep of natural causes at a private care facility in Hollywood, California, his publicist and longtime friend Lani Carmichael told The Associated Press.

“He loved both Oklahoma and L.A.,” Carmichael said. “He made his home here as an actor, but he never forgot his roots in Oklahoma. He remained a fan of the Sooner Nation.”

According to Grant’s IMDb’s page, his acting debut was in the 1998 drama “War Party.”

He went on to work alongside Anthony Hopkins in 2005′s “The World’s Fastest Indian” and Johnny Depp in 2013′s “The Lone Ranger.”


He also appeared on a number of hit television shows, including AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” HBO’s “Veep,” NBC’s “My Name Is Earl,” and FX’s “American Horror Story.”

Grant was born in 1936 at the Pawnee Indian Hospital in Pawnee, Oklahoma, and was raised on a farm in nearby Cushing with two brothers and one sister.

He was especially influenced by his grandfather Kirvin, who was a strong medicine man, and his other grandfather Saginaw (whom he is named after), also a very spiritual man, according to his IMDb bio.

For years he was active in the powwow circuit in California, traveling around the globe to speak to people about Native American culture.

“His motto in life was always respect one another and don’t talk about one another in a negative way,” Carmichael told the AP.

A memorial for the late actor will be held in the Los Angeles area, but details haven’t been finalized, she added.


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