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August Schellenberg dies

Steve Betts

LOS ANGELES -- Actor August Schellenberg, seen here in 2007, died Aug. 15 in Dallas at 77. Photo: Image by Charley Gallay/Getty Images

August Schellenberg dies

CREATED Aug. 16, 2013

DALLAS -- Emmy-nominated actor August Schellenberg, perhaps best known for his role as a mentor to young character Jesse in the "Free Willy" film franchise, died Thursday in Dallas after a lengthy battle with lung cancer. He was 77. The Associated Press reports that Schellenberg was surrounded by family at the time of his passing.

Born in Montreal, the actor, who often played Native American roles, appeared on Canadian television as early as 1970. According to IMDB, he had more than 100 roles to his credit, scoring an Emmy nomination for his supporting role as Sitting Bull in the 2007 miniseries, "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee." It was, in fact, the third project in which he had portrayed the famed chief.

Other films in which he was featured included 2005's "The New World," starring Christian Bale and Colin Farrell. His most recent IMBD credit, appropriately, was a 2012 project titled "The Last Movie." That same year, he also played the title role in a Canadian stage production of "King Lear."

The home page of the actor's official website includes inspirational quotes from Chief Sitting Bull, Chief Dan George and George Washington Carver. There is a note from the actor about some of the charities he supported. The note is signed "Sincerely, Augie."