Saginaw Grant, Actor in ‘The Lone Ranger,’ Dies at 85

by Jonathan Howard

Another legend in the entertainment industry has passed. Saginaw Grant, the man who played Chief Big Bear in The Lone Ranger (2013) has passed at 85 years old. Grant, a Native American of Iowa and Otoe-Missouria descent, appeared in a number of films and on television.

From tagging alongside Indiana Jones to helping Johnny Depp’s Lone Ranger, and even selling a truck to Walter White, Grant was involved in quite a few films. Not only did Grant have a long career in film, prior to that career he served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War.

Saginaw Grant passed away on Wednesday, July 28th. According to Lani Carmichael, his friend and publicist, the actor passed at a private care facility in his sleep of natural causes. Outside of acting, Grant had quite an interesting life. He was the hereditary chief and medicine man of the Sac & Fox tribe. The Sac & Fox originated from the Michigan area but were forcibly removed to Oklahoma in the 1870s.

When Grant wasn’t working on television or films, he shared his culture and experiences with others. Working as a motivational speaker, Grant would speak about his personal struggles with sobriety and broader issues of substance abuse within the Native community.

It took quite a while for Grant to get into acting. It wouldn’t be until the 1980s until he got his first acting gig. That first role would be a Chrysler car commercial. In the career he had, Grant put together quite the resume and appeared in classics both old and contemporary.

Saginaw Grant Leaves a Legacy

For a man so involved with his community there are few things that need to be said about the work he did off-screen. Lani Carmichael shared a thought, “His motto in life was always respect one another and don’t talk about one another in a negative way,” a simple and succinct way to live life.

For the great work that Saginaw Grant did in the film and otherwise, he earned a few awards in his life. The San Diego Film Festival awarded Grant the American Legacy Award. He would also earn a lifetime achievement award from the Oceanside Cultural Arts Foundation. The Native American Music Awards gave him a Living Legend Award.

For those who don’t know, Grant also played music. The Native American Music Awards gave his album Don’t Let the Drums Go Silent won Record of the Year in 2018. The album is quite the listen and is probably more modern than many would assume.

Saginaw Grant a legend in his own community. But he also impacted many others circles, even if they don’t realize it. From his activism and public speaking to his other various talents. Grant was a well-rounded and multi-purpose individual and will be missed.