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Chief Thunderbird / Richard Davis Thunderbird (AKA 'Chick' Davis)
Sometimes spelled as Thunder Bird



(Courtesy of Ken Jones)

Above is Chief Thunderbird, (1866-1946), sometimes billed as 'Chick Davis', real name: Richard Davis Thunderbird.  Biographical sketches note that he was Cheyenne, attended the Carlisle Indian School, and also worked on the Miller Bros. 101 Ranch show.

The Southwest Museum in Los Angeles is the repository of much of the regalia that Chief Thunderbird wore in films, and that material was donated by his wife. 

His first film credits begin around 1915 in Pearl White serials.  Among his roles was that of 'Sitting Bull' in ANNIE OAKLEY (1935).

Chief Thunderbird appeared in features such as: FOR THE SERVICE, WHITE EAGLE, NORTHWEST MOUNTED POLICE, LAUGHING BOY, SILLIE BILLIES, CYCLONE OF THE SADDLE, FIGHTING PIONEERS and SINGING VAGABOND; and serials: BATTLING WITH BUFFALO BILL, HEROES OF THE WEST, THE INDIANS ARE COMING, RUSTLERS OF RED DOG, WHITE EAGLE, WILD WEST DAYS and OVERLAND WITH KIT CARSON.

You may want to go to the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral, and then to the California Death Records database.  There you will find a record for: Richard Davis Thunderbird, born 8/6/1866 in Montana, Mother's maiden name of Wallo, Father's last name of Bear, and he passed away 4/6/1946.




(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Chief Thunder Cloud, Francis Walker, Edward Keane (cavalry uniform), Jack Ingram, Buck Jones, Beth Marion, and Chief Thunderbird (billed 8th as 'Chief Big Bear') in a scene from FOR THE SERVICE (1936).



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above are Autry, Frankie Marvin, Alan Sears and Chief Thunderbird in the title lobby card from THE SINGING VAGABOND (Republic, 1936).  Autry is on the right wearing buckskins.


  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Chief Thunderbird/Chick Davis:
Chief Thunderbird: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0862083/
Chick Davis: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0204352/


Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has a photo of the marker for Chief Richard Davis Thunderbird at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=11461


There's an 1898 photo of "Richard Davis, Interpreter (Cheyenne)" at the Omaho Public Library website: http://www.omaha.lib.ne.us/transmiss/research/cleanhtml/tmi00443.html


Tom Driebe has a website devoted to Carl Moon, who was a prominent photographer in the early 1900s that specialized in photographing Native Americans, and his work included Chief Thunderbird.  A biographical profile on Chief Thunderbird as well as the Carl Moon photo is at: http://www.carlmoon.com/Thunderbird.htm


The Southwest Museum of the American Indian at the Autry National Center has dozens of photos online showing Chief Thunderbird: http://collections.theautry.org/mwebcgi/mweb.exe?request=keyword;keyword=chief%20thunderbird;dtype=d



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