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The Biography of Graham Greene

Graham Greene Biography

Philip Caputo Paper.

Graham Greene is an indigenous Canadian actor and voice actor born on June 22, 1952, in the Six Nations Reserve, Ohsweken, Ontario, Canada. He has worked in numerous TV and movie productions in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, which have earned him an Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in law by Wilfrid Laurier University in 2008. In 2015, he was named a Member of the Order of Canada (The Canadian Press, 2015).

Graham was raised in the Six Nations Reserve and lived with his parents, John and Lilian Greene. He went to school at Toronto’s Centre for Indigenous Theatre’s Native Theatre School, where he assisted in running it as an executive director of a school-supporting local arts organization. Graham left the Reserve at the age of 16 and tried different careers such as welding, being a drafter and a roadie (Eugenia Griffith DuPell, n.d.). In the 1970s, he worked for rock bands based in Labrador and Newfoundland as a sound engineer under the moniker ‘Mabes’.  He stumbled upon acting by mistake when one of his friends suggested that he would be a good actor, and after discussing it over a week, he decided to give it a try. 

He found employment at a London stage in England, where after years of hard work, he landed his first significant role in a sports drama named “Running Brave”. The film was biographical of the life of the Native American  Olympic athlete, Billy Millis, and was received with critical acclaim due to the accurate and representation of Native culture. Graham again landed another role in the movie “Dances With Wolves”, for which he won an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his character “Kicking Bird”. The film was an adaptation of a novel by the same name and was the fourth highest-grossing movie of 1990, surpassing all expectations. The film was highly praised due to the actors’ efforts to speak in Native tongue despite differences in accents and dialects. The film also portrayed a positive image of Native Americans, specifically the Sioux Nation, which proceeded to adopt the producer and lead actor as an honorary member. Following his success, Graham featured in many other films such as Thunderheart (1992), Benefit of the Doubt (1993) and Maverick (1994). In 1992, he starred in the HBO drama film “The Last of His Tribe”, where he played Ishi, a man who was believed to be the last of the Yahi tribe, following the Native-American genocide in California between 1849 and 1870. His work saw him make appearances in the children’s series, “The Adventures of Dudley the Dragon”, which earned him a Gemini award in 1994. In 1995, he featured in the third instalment of the Die Hard series, “Die Hard With a Vengeance”, alongside Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jason, which became the highest-grossing film of that year. He later moved on to host a documentary show, “Exhibit A: Secrets of Forensic Science”, a Canadian crime documentary series that emphasized the importance of forensic science in solving crime. In 1999, he starred in the Oscar-nominated film “Green Mile”, where he played the role of a Native American on death row in jail. He featured in other minor roles in television drama series such as Wolf-lake and Beachcombers, short-lived (David Godkin, 2012).

Greene provided narration for “The War that Made America” in 2006, a documentary series on the French and Indian War of 1754-1763. He then portrayed Shylock in a production of the Merchant of Venice in 2007 in the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. He made a special guest appearance on “Numb3rs”, a popular crime drama television show, as a native chief. He then appeared as a supporting character for the 2009 movie adaptation, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” of the novel of the same name. Greene proceeded to voice Rains Fall, a Native American elder in the acclaimed video game, “Red Dead Redemption II”, one of the bestselling games. Greene appeared in 2019 for the third season of the Netflix Series “Goliath” as the character “LittleCrow”. In 2020, he reprised the role of Cliff McGrath in the INSP movie “Blue Ridge”. 

Despite having numerous levels of success, Graham had suffered a bout of depression in 1997 due to some differences between himself, family and friends. Actors Samuel L Jackson and Bruce Willis are among those who assisted him in working through his depression (Brown, 1997).

In almost four decades, Graham’s acting career has attracted him twelve wins and twelve nominations. As highlighted earlier, he got his big break after his Oscar Nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 1991. In 1994, he won the Gemini award for Best Performance in a Children’s or Youth Program Series. He won a Grammy Award in 2000 for Best Spoken Word Album for Children, two-lifetime awards from Gemini and Reelworld Film Festival, and the RNCI RedNation award for an outstanding supporting character. In 2015, he was awarded the Order of Canada membership, the top award for a civilian Canadian, for “achievements as a pioneering and versatile actor” (The Canadian Press, 2015). He has won other awards for different categories in the Barcelona Planet Film Festival, Best Actor Award, American Indian Film Festival, First American in the Arts Awards, Golden Boot Awards and Tokyo International Film Festival. He has been nominated numerously for awards in different categories in the Awards Circuit Community, Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards, Film Independent Spirit Awards, Gemini Awards, Prism Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Utah Film Festival and Awards, and the Viewers for Quality Television Awards (IMDb, 2021).

 Graham is married to his wife, Hillary Blackmore, and both currently live in Ontario, Canada. He has no children on public record.




David Godkin. (2012). One of Canada’s most gifted, iconic actors. Playback Hall of Fame.

Eugenia Griffith DuPell. (n.d.). Greene, Graham (1952—). Encyclopedia.Com. Retrieved May 31, 2021, from

IMDb. (2021). Graham Greene – Awards.

The Canadian Press. (2015, July 1). Order of Canada honourees include Bob Rae, Graham Greene, Lawrence Hill . CBC News.

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Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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