Wesley "Wes" Studi (born December 17, 1947) is a U.S. actor who has earned notability for his portrayals of Native Americans in film. He has appeared in well-received films, such as Michael Mann's The Last of the Mohicans, the award-winning Geronimo: An American Legend and Academy Award-nominated The New World (2005). He most recently portrayed General Linus Abner (an analogue to the biblican Abner) in the NBC series Kings.
Studi was born in Nofire Hollow, Oklahoma of Cherokee Native American descent, the son of Maggie, a housekeeper, and Andy Studie, a ranch hand. Studi was schooled at Chilocco Indian Agricultural School in Northern Oklahoma. Until he attended grade school, he spoke only Cherokee. In 1967, he was drafted into the Army and served 18 months in Vietnam. After his discharge, Studi studied at Tulsa Junior College.
Studi became an actor, best known for roles as both brave and harsh Indians, such as the Pawnee warrior in Dances with Wolves, and Magua in The Last of the Mohicans (1992).
A year later, he was cast with Eric Schweig for TNT's film The Broken Chain which was shot in Virginia. In 1994 Studi had the lead in Geronimo: An American Legend.
In 2002, Studi brought to life the legendary character Lt. Joe Leaphorn, for a series of PBS movies based on Tony Hillerman's novels and produced by Robert Redford.
In 2005, Studi portrayed a character based on Powhatan chief Opechancanough in The New World. The 2005 Academy Award-nominated film was directed by Terrence Malick. The historical adventure is set during the founding of the Jamestown, Virginia settlement. Lead characters were based on historical figures, such as Captain John Smith (played by Colin Farrell) and Pocahontas. Much of the film was shot at Virginia locations in James City County and Charles City County, not far from where the first permanent English colony in the New World was established at Jamestown beginning on May 14, 1607.
On April 20, 2009 Studi appeared as Major Ridge in Trail of Tears, the third episode of We Shall Remain, a ground breaking mini-series that establishes Native history as an essential part of American history from PBS's acclaimed series American Experience. He spoke his native Cherokee throughout the performance.
In addition to acting, Studi is a stone carver and an author of two children's books. He also plays bass in a local band called The Firecat.