August Schellenberg, 77, starred in ‘Free Willy’ movies
By URIEL J. GARCIA Associated Press August 16, 2013 6:44PM
FILE AUGUST 16: According to reports actor August Schellenberg died of cancer August 15, 2013 in Texas. He was 77. MONTE CARLO, MONACO - JUNE 11: Actor August Schellenberg attends a photocall promoting the television serie 'Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee' on the first day of the 2007 Monte Carlo Television Festival held at Grimaldi Forum on June 11, 2007 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Updated: September 19, 2013 10:01AM
DALLAS — Canadian-born actor August Schellenberg, who starred in the “Free Willy” films and appeared in numerous television roles, has died at his Dallas home after a fight with lung cancer, his agent said Friday. He was 77.
Mr. Schellenberg played the role of Randolph Johnson, a whale trainer in all three “Free Willy” movies. In 2007, he was nominated for an Emmy as a supporting actor for his role as Chief Sitting Bull in the HBO series, “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.”
Mr. Schellenberg’s big-screen work also included appearing in the 2005 film, “The New World,” alongside movie stars Christian Bale and Colin Farrell.
One of his last notable works was in 2012, when he played the lead role in an all Canadian cast of Shakespeare’s “King Lear” at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, said his agent, Jamie Levitt.
“I got a call this morning from the NAC saying they have lowered their flags to honor him,” Levitt said. “He was a loving father and grandfather and a very good husband. He was a very well-known Canadian and an iconic actor.”
Levitt said Mr. Schellenberg, with whom she had worked for the past 15 years, died at his home Thursday.
According to his personal website, he taught acting workshops in Toronto at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre and at York University. He also was a former boxer, participated in various celebrity charity sporting events and served as a motivational speaker in Canada and the U.S.
Mr. Schellenberg, who was born in Montreal, was half Mohawk and half Swiss, according to his website. He was survived by his wife, actress Joan Karasevich, and three daughters.