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Chief David Bald Eagle (1919 - 2016)

AP / Rapid City Journal / Tom Griffith

Chief David Bald Eagle (1919 - 2016)

David W. Bald Eagle, a Lakota chief and actor whose film credits include "Dances With Wolves," died July 22, 2016, according to multiple news sources. He was 97.

Bald Eagle, also known as Chief David Beautiful Bald Eagle, was born April 8, 1919, on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation in South Dakota. He was the grandson of White Bull, a famous Lakota warrior.

Bald Eagle served the United States as a veteran of World War II who fought in the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, and in the Battle of Anzio. He was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army.

After the war, he held several occupations, including musician, rodeo performer, semi-professional baseball player, and race car driver. He then turned to acting.

In addition to 1990's "Dances With Wolves" that starred Kevin Costner, Bald Eagle's other credits include the films "Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee" (1994), "Skins" (2002), "Imprint" (2007), and "Neither Wolf Nor Dog" (2016).


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In 2009, then-U.S. Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota offered a tribute to Bald Eagle.

"In 1944, he was among those brave soldiers who jumped from planes on D-day as a U.S. Army paratrooper. Chief Bald Eagle was shot four times that day, and his story is recounted in 'Blue Stars: A Selection of Stories From South Dakota's World War II Veterans,' compiled by Greg Latza.

"Upon return, Chief Bald Eagle went on to travel as a performer and has acted in at least 18 movies to date. While in Hollywood, Chief Bald Eagle worked alongside some of the most recognizable actors and actresses of that time: Clark Gable, John Wayne, and Marilyn Monroe."

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