May 26, 1912 – Mar 5, 1980 (age 67)
Jay Silverheels (born Harold Preston Smith, May 26, 1912 – March 5, 1980) was a Mohawk actor and athlete. He was well known for his role as Tonto, the faithful Indian companion of the Lone Ranger in the long-running American western television series The Lone Ranger.
Life for Jay Smith Silverheels – that is the name he legally adopted later – began on the Six Nations Indian Reserve in Ontario on May 26, 1912, according to his family records. It is not unusual for actors to change their birthdays and the Screen Actors Guild and other sources say he was born in 1919. He was a superb athlete and it was his running style that led his uncle to nickname the young Harold “Silverheels.” As a young man, he was also one of the finest boxers and a top lacrosse player on the reserve. Had fate not intervened, Harold Smith may have gone on to be one of Canada`s greatest athletes.
Jay Silverheels went on to work in more than 30 movies and became a star of television just as it exploded across North American in the early 1950s. His role as Tonto, the ever-present sidekick to the Lone Ranger is the role he is most associated with. The success of the early series led back to the big screen for two Lone Ranger films in 1956 and 1958.
Active in sports all of his life his most important contribution to film may be the founding of Indian Actors Workshop, which he started in 1963, personally getting involved in helping other aspiring actors to get their start in Hollywood.
In 1993, more than a decade after his death, Jay Silverheels was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
He was a young man who was determined to escape what he believed would be a dead-end life on the Six Nations Reserve in Oshweken, Ontario. He left behind seven brothers and two sisters, with the dream of making a life as a professional boxer and lacrosse player in Buffalo, New York. In the midst, of a successful lacrosse career in the late 1930s, the handsome Silverheels was told he could make it in movies by comedian Joe E. Brown. Silverheels moved to Hollywood, bussing tables by day and studying Shakespeare at night in his tiny apartment.
But as the years went by, Silverheels never got to use any of the Shakespearean monologues he memorized. He was continuously cast as an “Indian” extra in Western movies, which led to speaking parts and finally the coveted role of Tonto, in the first Western series to be shot for TV, “The Lone Ranger.” While Silverheels had mixed feelings about the character he played, it was a steady job, he was newly married, and the part would eventually lead to something even better, he rationalized. But after Silverheels’s five-year stint on the hit series, he found himself forever typecast as the “stoic Indian.” Playing the “Indian warrior” or “squaw” were the sort of limited roles all Indigenous actors faced. Silverheels helped train the next generation of crews and actors, but was partially paralyzed in 1975 by a series of strokes that would eventually kill him in 1980. It was an especially unjust illness, hitting just as Silverheels was finally beginning to get large parts in films like Santee that allowed the public, and Silverheels himself, to see what a fine actor he truly was.
-“Me do, kemo sabe.” Historica Canada-
The Huffpost – by Dawn Moore
Jay understood Tonto’s relationship to the Lone Ranger was one of mutual respect and
brotherhood. Sometimes what was necessary put Tonto’s life in danger; sometimes John Reid’s. He also understood the tremendous power he had as a role model to Native peoples, and he led by example.
If one wants to look for negative stereotypes, they are easily found. Certainly, in the insensitive decades during which the scripts for The Lone Ranger were written, it is bitingly evident. However, endless tributes from Native Americans about the lessons of tolerance and pride of heritage prove that Jay Silverheels made a difference. By conducting his life with a strong grace and profound nobility, he walked the walk.
SHIP OF FOOLS was released July 25th, 1965. For me it is one of the most hauntingly brilliant movies of our time. It is filled with tender love stories, lost hope, lost love, crueltry, hate and bigotry. It is stacked with brilliant Actors, giving brilliant performances via an amazing script and book by Katharine Anne Porter and Abby Mann. It’s tone is set by wonderful soundtrack written by Ernest Gold and directed by Stanley Kramer. One would conclude from this that I am totally enthrawlled with this movie. Yes.It is electrically charged with diverse characters who suspend our belief by the “Wink of an eye.” I first saw it on a Valentine’s date with Bobby Bates. It was one half of a double feature. I think he liked the other half which was The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. Ah Well! “Boys will be boys.” On that note I will now quote some notes, present some photos, quote some quotes and leave you to watch some video clips. @J.E.Goldie
Ship of Fools is a 1965 drama film directed by Stanley Kramer, which recounts the stories of several passengers aboard an ocean liner bound to Germany from Mexico in 1933. It stars Vivien Leigh, Simone Signoret, José Ferrer and Lee Marvin. It also marked Christiane Schmidtmer’s first U.S. production. Ship of Fools was highly regarded, with reviewers praising the cast’s performance but also noted the movie’s overlong runtime. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards in 1966. -Wikipedia-
The characters board a German ocean liner in Veracruz, Mexico, for a voyage to Germany, along with 600 displaced workers in steerage, being deported from Cuba back to Spain, and a not-so-exotic band of entertainers, for whom the voyage is just a job.
The ship’s doctor, Schumann, takes a special interest in La Condesa, a countess from Cuba who has an addiction to drugs and is being shipped to a Spanish-run prison. Her sense of certain doom is contrasted by the doctor’s determination to fight the forces of oppression, embodied by his insistence that the people in steerage be treated like human beings rather than animals. The doctor himself has a secret, a terminal heart condition, and his sympathy for the countess soon evolves into love.
Several passengers are invited to dine each night at the captain’s table. There, some are amused and others offended by the anti-Semitic rants of a German businessman named Rieber who – although married – is beginning an on-board affair with Lizzi, a busty blonde. The Jewish Lowenthal is invited instead to join a dwarf named Glocken for his meals, and the two bond over their exclusion: the character Glocken sometimes speaks to the audience, more often at the beginning and the end of this film. Eventually a passenger named Freytag seems shocked to find himself ostracized when Rieber learns that his wife is Jewish.
Others aboard include a young American couple, David and Jenny, who bicker because David is unhappy at his lack of success with painting. A divorcée, Mary Treadwell, drinks and flirts, on a quest to recapture her youth in Paris. Bill Tenny is a former baseball player disappointed in the way his career never quite took off. They are distracted by the music and the professional dancers, whose flirtations seem to skirt the edges of solicitation.
The ship stops in Spain where the displaced workers and La Condesa disembark. The doctor dies before the ship reaches Germany. Upon the arrival in Germany, everyone leaves the ship, but the Nazis have taken over.
Addressing the audience, Glocken asks how important the appearance of the Nazis are to him and the others, to which he says the word “Nothing”. -IMdB-
Mary Treadwell: Everybody on this ship is in love. Love me whether or not I love you. Love me whether I am fit to love. Love me whether I am able to love. Even is there is no such thing as love. Love me.
La Condesa:To think, isn’t it wonderful: two strangers on a ship – we will never meet again. We can talk – we can talk like friends, or even lovers… we can talk like two people who meet on the other side of the grave. Wilhelm Schumann: Keep talking.
[walks up to the ship’s railing] My name is Karl Glocken, and this is a ship of fools. I’m a fool, and you’ll meet more fools as we go along. This tub is packed with them: emancipated ladies, ball players, lovers, dog lovers, ladies of joy, tolerant Jews, dwarfs – all kinds. And who knows, if you look closely enough, you may even find yourself on board.
Hopefully I have given you enough encouragement to further investigate this film. If not you may have been entertained a little.