Jay Silverheels Movies and Career Information

Jay Silverheels profile image
Gemini
May 26, 1912
Six Nations 40, Ontario
Actor

Jay Silverheels (May 26, 1912 – March 5, 1980) was a Canadian Mohawk Indian actor. He was well known for his role as Tonto, the faithful American Indian companion of the Lone Ranger in a long-running American television series. Silverheels was born Harold J. Smith on the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation, near Brantford, Ontario, Canada, the son of a Canadian Mohawk Chief and military officer, A. G. E. Smith. Silverheels excelled in athletics and lacrosse as a boy before leaving home to travel around North America, competing in boxing and wrestling tournaments. In the 1930s he played indoor lacrosse under the name of Harry Smith with the Rochester, NY "Iroquois" of the North American Amateur Lacrosse Association. He lived for a time in Buffalo, New York. In 1938 Silverheels placed second in the middleweight section of the Golden Gloves tournament. Silverheels began working in motion pictures as an extra and stunt man in 1937. During the early years of his screen career, he was billed variously as Harold Smith or Harry Smith, and appeared in low-budget features, westerns, and serials. He adopted his screen name from the nickname he had had as a speedy lacrosse player. From

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