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Jay Silverheels
Birth name: Harold Jay Smith
1912 or 1919 - 1980

(From Old Corral collection)

Above is the buckskin clad Jay Silverheels on two of his 'Scouts' during his days portraying Tonto in the LONE RANGER TV show and movies.

The TV program ran from 1949 - 1957, and Silverheels appeared in the film sequels, THE LONE RANGER (1956) and THE LONE RANGER AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD (1958).

His real name was Harold Jay Smith, and he was Mohawk and born in Canada in 1912 (some sources mention 1919). In his early years, he became an accomplished athlete and his specialty was lacrosse.

In the 1960s, Silverheels was one of the founders of the Indian Actors Workshop in Los Angeles.

He passed away in 1980 from a stroke.

Silverheels did THE COWBOY AND THE INDIANS and THE LAST ROUNDUP with Gene Autry, CYCLONE FURY and LARAMIE with Charles Starrett, SINGIN' SPURS with the Hoosier Hotshots and Kirby Grant, and TRAIL OF THE YUKON with Grant as part of the Mountie series.  Most of his other westerns were with George Montgomery, Jon Hall, etc., and while not part of a series, were barely above the B designation. And he was in four serials at Republic when he was still going by Harry Smith ... before he changed his name to Silverheels Smith ... and before he switched to Jay Silverheels. One of his better roles was portraying Geronimo in the Audie Murphy WALK THE PROUD LAND (Universal-International, 1956).

You may want to go to the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral, and then to the California Death Index.  There you will find a record for: Jay Silverheels, born 5/26/1912 in Canada, and he passed away on 3/5/1980.  There is a corresponding record in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Jay Silverheels:

Mary Spooner has a page with a biography and many photos of Jay Silverheels:

The 'Northern Stars - Canadian History of Hollywood' site has a page on Jay Silverheels.  Their biography mentions that he was born in 1919, his real name was Harold Jay Smith, and his legally adopted name was Jay Smith Silverheels:

Find A Grave website has info on Jay Silverheels - his birth year is listed as 1912. He was cremated and ashes scattered at the Six Nations Indian Reservation in Ontario, Canada:

Wikipedia biography of Jay Silverheels:

The Indian Actors Workshop was co-founded by Jay Silverheels in the early 1960s at the Los Angeles Indian Centre, with the support of Buffy Sainte-Marie, Iron Eyes Cody, and Rodd Redwing:

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