August Werner Schellenberg was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on July 25, 1936 to a Swiss father and an English-Mohawk mother. He lived in Montreal until moving to Toronto, Ontario, where he made his home from 1967 until 1995. Currently living in Dallas, he is married to actress Joan Karasevich and is the father of three daughters. When he’s not acting, August can be found working out, playing with his grandchildren, reading crime fiction, or enjoying music. A skilled amateur chef, August cooks frequently for his family and friends and has been a guest chef at celebrity cook-offs benefiting various organizations. August is a lifelong athlete, a champion diver and boxer in his youth who currently participates in celebrity charity sporting events. August has taught acting seminars at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre and at York University, both in Toronto. He continues to conduct motivational workshops in schools and for cultural and community organizations across North America. August's manager is Darryl Marshak of The Marshak/Zachary Company; he is represented in Canada by Jamie Levitt of Lauren Levitt & Associates Inc. and in the U.S. by Harry Gold of TalentWorks.
A 1966 graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, August began his acting career in the theatre with a six-month tour of Ontario performing for high school students with the Crest Theatre Hour Company. Work opportunities then took him to regional Canadian theatres including: the Charlottetown Festival in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, Nova Scotia; the Centaur and Saidye Bronfman theatres in Montreal and Theatre Lennoxville – all three in Quebec; the St. Lawrence Centre, Young People’s Theatre, and Theatre Plus – all in Toronto, Ontario; Rainbow Stage in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Theatre Calgary in Calgary, Alberta; the Vancouver Playhouse in Vancouver, British Columbia; and the Bastion Theatre in Victoria, British Columbia.
As well, August has appeared at Ontario’s renowned Shaw and Stratford festivals; at Stratford he received the 1967 Tyrone Guthrie Award for most promising young actor. His American theater experience includes a season at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a season at the Dallas Shakespeare Festival in Dallas, Texas, and two seasons in John Krizanc’s Tamara at the 66th Street Armory in New York, New York.
August has played a wide variety of stage roles that includes: Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire; Starbuck in The Rainmaker; Oscar in The Odd Couple; Nicky Arnstein in Funny Girl; Atahualpa in The Royal Hunt of the Sun; Faust in Faust; Moe Axelrod in Awake and Sing; John Knox in Mary, Queen of Scots; Prince Charming in Cinderella; El Gallo in The Fantasticks; Duvallet in Fanny’s First Play; Dick Dudgeon in The Devil’s Disciple; Cornwall in King Lear; Mr. Kraler in The Diary of Anne Frank; Josef Stalin in Master Class; Aldo Finzi in Tamara; and Enobarbus in Antony and Cleopatra. He has had the opportunity to be involved with the production of new plays and the creation of new characters, most notably Jamie Paul in George Ryga’s The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, a milestone in Canadian theater, and Sitting Bull in Sharon Pollock’s Walsh.
The early Canadian classic film Rip Off (1971) marks the beginning of a film career that has spanned almost four decades and includes: One Man (1977) with Len Cariou; Power Play (1978) with Peter O’Toole; Bear Island (1979) with Vanessa Redgrave and Richard Widmark; The Coffin Affair/L’Affaire Coffin (1980); Heavy Metal (1981); Death Hunt (1981) with Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin; John Juliani’s Latitude 55 (1982); Running Brave (1983) with Robby Benson; Le Ruffian (1983) with Claudia Cardinale; Bruce Beresford’s Black Robe (1991); Free Willy I, II, and III (1993, 1995, 1997); Iron Will (1994) with Kevin Spacey and Mackenzie Astin; Going the Distance (2004); Terrence Malick’s The New World (2005) with Colin Farrell and Christian Bale; Eight Below (2006); and The Green Chain (2007).
Notable television appearances include: Castle Zaremba (1970); The New Avengers (1977); Drying Up the Streets (1978); The Prodigal (1983); The Hitchhiker (1983); The Painted Door (1984); The Littlest Hobo (1980, 1982, 1984); Tramp at the Door (1985); Striker’s Mountain (1985); He Shoots, He Scores (1986); Friday the Thirteenth (1987); Champagne Charlie (1989); The Broken Cord (1992); Lonesome Dove: The Series (1994); Getting Gotti (1994); Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee (1994); North of 60 (1994-95); Walker, Texas Ranger (1994-95); West Side Waltz (1995); The Siege at Ruby Ridge (1996); Crazy Horse (1996); Scattering Dad (1998); Out of Time (2000); High Noon (2000); Dreamkeeper (2003); and Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (2004). Most recent is August’s Emmy®-nominated portrayal of Sitting Bull in Dick Wolf’s HBO production Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007), directed by Yves Simoneau and also starring Adam Beach, Aidan Quinn, and Anna Paquin.
ATAS (Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) Primetime Television Awards
2007 – an Emmy® Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for the role of Sitting Bull in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
ACTRA (Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists) Television Awards
1971 – a Nellie Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor – T.V., for the role of Ernie in One Man
1986 – a Nellie Award nomination for Best Actor – T.V., for the role of Albert in Tramp at the Door
ACCT (Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television) Television Awards
1986 – a Gemini Award for Best Actor for the role of Tom in The Prodigal
1996 – an ACCT Gemini Award nomination for Best Guest Actor for the role of Ben Montour in North of 60
ACCT (Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television) Film Awards
1981 – a Genie Award nomination for Best Actor for the role of Albert Coffin in The Coffin Affair/L’Affaire Coffin
1983 – a Genie Award nomination for Best Actor for the role of Joseph in Latitude 55
1991 – a Genie Award for Best Supporting Actor for the role of Chomina in Black Robe
American Indian Film Festival Awards
1991 – an Eagle Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor for the role of Chomina in Black Robe.
2003 – an Eagle Spirit Award for Best Actor for the role of Grandpa Pete Chasing Horse in Dreamkeeper.
First Americans in the Arts Awards
1994 – winner, Outstanding Performance, for the role of Dick Wilson in Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee.
1997 – winner, Outstanding Performance, for the role of Randolph Johnson in Free Willy III – The Rescue.
2005 – winner, Outstanding Performance, for the role of Powhatan in The New World.
August received the Civic Honours Award of Merit from the City of Toronto in 1994. In 2005 he was one of five inaugural inductees at the Aboriginal Walk of Honour Awards in Edmonton, Alberta. On October 26, in Montreal, Quebec, August will be presented with the National Theatre School of Canada’s Gascon-Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award.