Wes Studi


Season appearances



Nofire Hollow, Oklahoma

Date of birth

December 17, 1947

IMDb profile

Wes Studi is an award-winning full-blood Native American actor and film producer from Nofire Hollow in the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma who has won critical acclaim for his portrayal of Native Americans in film. He plays Kaetenay in the Showtime original series Penny Dreadful.

Early life Edit

Born Wesley Studi in Nofire Hollow, Oklahoma, a rural area in Tahlequah, he was named after his mother's family. As the son of Maggie Studie, a housekeeper, and Andy Studie, a ranch hand, he spoke only Cherokee at home until grade school. He attended Chilocco Indian Agricultural School for high school and graduated in 1964, with his vocational major being in dry cleaning. In 1967, he was drafted into the United States Army and served 18 months in Vietnam. After being honorably discharged, Studi became politically active and participated in the Wounded Knee Incident at Pine Ridge Reservation in 1973. He has taught Cherokee language and syllabary in the past, and helped found a Cherokee-language newspaper before moving on to ranching. After a failed marriage, Studi left ranching and started to study acting after a friend had recommended it as a way to meet women.

Career Edit

Studi's first film appearance was in "The Trial of Standing Bear", in 1988. He is best known for his roles as ruthless Native American warriors, such as a Pawnee in "Dances with Wolves" (1990), and Magua in "The Last of the Mohicans" (1992). A year later, he was cast with Eric Schweig for TNT's film The Broken Chain, about the Iroquois League based in present-day New York state. Filmed in Virginia, it was part of a group of productions shown over 14 months on TNT as its "Native American initiative", including three television movies and several documentaries. A six-hour history series was told from a Native American perspective. In 1993 Studi landed the title role in "Geronimo: An American Legend". He displayed a talent for comedy as the superhero Sphynx in the 1999 film Mystery Men, and in 2002, Studi brought to life the character of Lt. Joe Leaphorn, for a series of PBS movies based on Tony Hillerman's novels set in the Southwest among the Navajo and Hopi. In 2009, Studi appeared in James Cameron's science fiction epic Avatar. He played Eytukan, the chieftain of a Na'vi tribe.

Personal life Edit

After an early marriage and divorce, Studi married again. He and his wife Maura Dhu Studi moved their family to a farm near Santa Fe, New Mexico in the early 1990s. They have a son, Kholan, and Studi also has a daughter, Leah, and a son, Daniel, from his first marriage. Studi and his wife perform in the band "Firecat of Discord".

References Edit

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