A member of the Ojibwa Nation, Adam Beach was born a Saulteaux, on November 11, 1972, in Ashern, Manitoba, Canada, and spent his first 8 years on the Dog Creek Indian Reserve. His mother, who was 8 months pregnant at the time, was hit and killed by a drunk driver. Two months later, his father drowned in a boating accident, forcing Adam and his two brothers to be relocated to Winnipeg where they were adopted by an aunt and uncle, before being passed to another aunt and uncle 6 years later.
This earth shattering series of events, along with the extra added burden of supporting his brothers, lead Beach into a time of anger and resentment. As an outlet for his anger, he became a teenage gang member. But another event would soon change his direction. Adam signed up for a high school drama and found out he was a natural. Instead of causing trouble, Beach could now express his extremes of emotion through acting. A help to him during this time was the inspiration he received from Johnny Depp, who is part Cherokee. Adam points to Depp as helping him decide to go into acting full time.
Beach began taking parts in local theatre and left school for a lead role at the Manitoba Theatre For Young People. His first major break came when at 18, he landed a role in the mini-series Lost In The Barrens starring Graham Greene. Within a few years, he was seen on TV shows such as Touched By An Angel, Walker, Texas Ranger and Lonesome Dove. After landing the lead role in Squanto: A Warrior's Tale for Disney, he appeared in the film My Indian Summer, winning "Best Actor from the First Americans In The Arts". Other roles began to come in quickly. He did several series for Canadian TV, followed by feature films Coyote Summer and Song Of Hiawatha.
1996 also saw a very special event. Adam's first son Noah was born, and would be followed in 1998 with the birth of Luke. This same year, Adam starred in the first film completely written, produced, directed and acted by Native Americans, Smoke Signals. Directed by Chris Eyre, "Signals" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, winning the "Audience Award" and the "Filmmaker's Trophy", with a third nomination for the "Grand Jury Prize".
With the success of Smoke Signals, Beach was now very visible. And in demand. His next role was in the Disney film Mystery Alaska, a hockey film featuring Russell Crowe. Adam's favorite pastime is hockey so the movie was perfect for him. Next came The Last Stop, Joe Dirt and The Art Of Woo. But his most visible role was just around the corner.
John Woo's action war epic, Windtalkers, starring Nicolas Cage, focused on the little known fact that Native Americans were used during World War II as codetalkers. American forces came up with the idea of developing a secret code, using the extremely complex Navajo language as it's base, to send sensitive information back and forth by radio. This code turned out to be unbreakable by the Japanese and is credited today with helping to win the war in the Pacific theater. Beach's role was that of a Navajo who is taught the code and then assigned someone to protect him from being caught by the enemy at all costs. His protector is played by Cage, as the war weary Sgt. Joe Enders. Adam was co-lead in the film, which eventually grossed over 77.6 million dollars worldwide. He had to study the Navajo language six months for that film and the following series of PBS Mystery movies based on the best selling Tony Hillerman novels about Navajo Tribal Policeman Jim Chee.
Another movie, Dance Me Outside, and another award, "American Indian Film Festival Best Actor", soon followed. More Recent roles include Posers, Cowboys and Indians: The J.J. Harper Story, The Big Empty, Sawtooth, Johnny Tootall and projects Flags Of Our Fathers, Bottom's Up, and as a regular on the hit TV series Law and Order: SVU.
The handsome actor has appeared in Vanity Fair's Hollywood issue and was on E! Entertainment's 2002 Sizzling Sixteen list.
Adam splits his time living in both California and in Ottawa.