Saginaw Grant, the esteemed Native American character actor known for turns in The Lone Ranger, The World’s Fastest Indian and more, died on Wednesday at a private care facility in Hollywood, California. He was 85.
Grant’s publicist and longtime friend, Lani Carmichael, confirmed his death to the Associated Press, saying that he died peacefully in his sleep of natural causes.
The actor was born July 20, 1936, in Pawnee, Oklahoma, amassing nearly 60 credits in film and TV, starting in the late 1980s. The first film he appeared in was Franc Roddam’s 1988 action drama War Party, which starred Billy Wirth, Kevin Dillon and more.
Grant was perhaps best known on the film side for turns in Roger Donaldson’s The World’s Fastest Indian, on which he worked with Anthony Hopkins, and Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger, which had him sharing the screen with Johnny Depp. He also appeared in Netflix’s Adam Sandler starrer The Ridiculous 6 and more.
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Grant’s early TV credits included The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Harts of the West, The Lazarus Man, The Last Frontier, Nash Bridges, Baywatch. He appeared, more recently, in many of TV’s most acclaimed comedies, including My Name Is Earl, Shameless, Community, The League, Workaholics, Baskets, and Veep. Other acclaimed shows he appeared include Breaking Bad and American Horror Story.
Outside of film and TV, Grant was known as the hereditary chief of Oklahoma’s Sac & Fox Nation. He was also a motivational speaker who traveled around the world to speak about Native American culture, and an award-winning musician, whose album “Don’t Let the Drums Go Silent” won Record of the Year at the 2018 Native American Music Awards.
Grant was also an influential member of the San Diego International Film Festival’s American Indian Advisory Board, who first got involved with the fest in 2012, and was awarded its American Legacy Award. He was also the recipient of the Native American Music Awards’ Living Legend Award and the Oceanside Cultural Arts Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
A U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in the Korean War, Grant was active in the Native American veterans community, taking part for years in the National Gathering of American Indian Veterans.
Carmichael told AP that a memorial for Grant will be held in the Los Angeles area. But specific details on a time and place have not yet been disclosed.