Into the West
Zahn McClarnon is an actor who earned First Americans in the Arts (FAITA) awards thanks to his guest performances in episodes of “Dangerous Minds” (1996) and “Chicago Hope” (1997) and the TV miniseries “Into the West” (2005), from which he also jointly received a Western Heritage Award. He has also appeared in other television series, including “Baywatch,” “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman,” “Murphy Brown,” “NYPD Blue,” “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “The Shield,” “Saving Grace” and “Medium.” His feature film credits include “Silent Fall” (1994), “MacArthur Park” (2001), “Skins” (2002), “Searchers 2.0” (2007), “Not Forgotten” (2009) and “Down for Life” (2009). A few of his upcoming films are “Blood Rock” and “TimberWolf.”
Childhood and Family:
Zahn McClarnon was born Zahn Tokiya-ku McClarnon on October 24, 1996. He was raised in Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming and in 1990, relocated to Los Angeles to further pursue his acting career.
Zahn has a fraternal twin brother. He is of Native American and Irish extraction. In his free time, he enjoys hanging out with his dog at the dog park, playing racquet ball, snow skiing, and riding his Harley Davidson.
Zahn McClarnon made his television debut in the early 1990s with guest roles on the series “Tequila and Bonetti” (1992), “Baywatch” (1992), “In Living Color” (1993), “Murphy Brown” (1993), “Renegade” (1994) and “Thunder in Paradise” (1994). His first television film role was in “Lakota Moon” (1992), a western directed by Christopher Cain. In the movie, he portrayed the character Sky Walker. He went on to play young Raymond on the Humanitas Prize winning drama “Cooperstown” (TBS, 1993), which was directed by Charles Haid, written by Lee Blessing and starred Ernie Harwell, Miles Perlich and Byron Thames.
In 1994, McClarnon appeared as Walks On Cloud in the “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” episodes “The Offering” and “The Abduction: Part 1and 2.” The same year, he made his motion picture debut as Deputy Bear in the mystery “Silent Fall,” starring Richard Dreyfuss, Linda Hamilton, John Lithgow, J. T. Walsh and Liv Tyler. Helmed by Bruce Beresford, the film received a Golden Bear nomination at the 1995 Berlin International Film Festival. In addition, 1995 found the actor providing the voice of Gray Wolf in an episode of “Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child” called “Snow White” and guest starring in an episode of “Walker, Texas Ranger.”
Between 1996 and 1997, McClarnon played the recurring role of Carlos Montalvo on three episodes of the ABC short lived television series “Dangerous Minds,” which was adapted from the 1995 film of the same name. The role brought him a 1996 FAITA Award in the category of Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series. 1996 also saw the actor play Eric in the HBO Emmy Award nominated film “Grand Evenue,” starring Irene Bedard, Tantoo Cardinal and Eloy Casados, and appear as Little Big Man in another Emmy nominated television movie called “Crazy Horse,” which starred Michael Greyeyes. In addition, he guest starred as Nakai in “The Catamount” (1996), an episode of the western series “The Lazarus Man,” starring Robert Urich. McClarnon won his next FAITA award the following year thanks to his guest turn as George Burroughs in an episode of the CBS medical drama “Chicago Hope” titled “Leggo My Ego (1997). He continued to appear as a guest star in “NYPD Blue” (1997) and “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” (also 1997) and play the supporting role of Tommy Tall Bear in the science fiction TV film “A Town Has Turned to Dust” (1998), starring Stephen Lang, Ron Perlman and Gabriel Olds. McClarnon briefly revisited the big screen in 1997 when he had a small role in the action film “Dusting Cliff 7,” which was directed by William H. Molina and starred Nancy Allen, Lance Henriksen and Scott Lincoln.
Following a guest stint on “Walker, Texas Ranger” in 2000, McClarnon worked with Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Brandon Quintin Adams and Tami Roman on the Billy Wirth directed film “MacArthur Park” (2001). He also had a bit part in the big screen adaptation of Adrian C. Louis' novel “Skins” (2002), which was directed by Chris Eyre and starred Eric Schweig, Graham Greene and Gary Farmer. He next contributed his voice to the Academy Award nominated animated film “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” (2002), starring the voices of Matt Damon, James Cromwell and Daniel Studi. Between 2001 and 2002, McClarnon also appeared in episodes of “FreakyLinks” and “Strong Medicine.” In 2003, he portrayed Detective Brunette on the direct to video thriller “Blood and Roses,” which was written and directed by Paul D. Schneider. He next supported Louis Gossett Jr., Teri Hatcher and Grayson McCouch on the Sci Fi Channel original movie “Momentum.”
McClarnon guest starred as Avila in a 2004 episode of “The Shield” called “Mum,” played a Native American in the 2005 short film “The Great Lie,” by Jeremiah Comey, and costarred with Saginaw Grant and Cody Lightning in Steven Edells' short “Hanbleceya” (2005). It was also in 2005 that McClarnon landed the high profile role of Running Fox on the TV miniseries “Into the West,” which was produced by Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks. For his good acting, the actor picked up a 2005 FAITA Award in the category of Best Actor on a TV Show and a Western Heritage's Bronze Wrangler for Outstanding Television Feature Film, which he shared with costars Matthew Settle, Skeet Ulrich, Rachael Leigh Cook, Michael Spears and the show's producers.
Next up for McClarnon, the actor portrayed Tommy Yellow Hawk on the TNT film “The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines” (2006), starring Noah Wyle, Gabrielle Anwar and Bob Newhart, supported Del Zamora, Andres Carranza and Juan Leyva on the film “Searchers 2.0” (2007) for director/writer Alex Cox, guest starred in “The Shield” and “Saving Grace” (both 2007) and appeared in the 2008 miniseries “Comanche Moon.” In 2009, he appeared in the history series “Freedom Riders,” which received a Grand Jury Prize nomination for Best Documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, played the role of Calvo on “Not Forgotten,” a thriller directed by Dror Soref, was reunited with director/writer Alex Cox for the comedy “Repo Chick,” and worked with Jessica Romero, Danny Glover, and Snoop Dogg in Alan Jacobs' dramatic film “Down for Life.” He also appeared as Tomas Shasta in an episode of “Life” called “Evil... and His Brother Ziggy” (2009). He then guest starred in an episode of “Medium” (2010).
Recently, in 2011, McClarnon completed filming “Bloodline” (2011), which starred and was directed by Matt Thompson, and the Tanner Beard directed/written film “The Legend of Hell's Gate: An American Conspiracy” (2011), starring Eric Balfour, Lou Taylor Pucci and Henry Thomas. He is also set to play roles in the upcoming films “Yellow Rock” (2011), starring Michael Biehn and James Russo, and “TimberWolf” (2012), starring Cloris Leachman, Wes Studi and James Russo. On television, McClarnon will play Bodaway Macawi on the dramatic series “Ringer” (2011), opposite Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nestor Carbonell and Tara Summers, and Mathias in the TV film “Longmire” (2011), with Katee Sackhoff, Lou Diamond Phillips and Cassidy Freeman.
Western Heritage: Bronze Wrangler, Outstanding Television Feature Film, “Into the West,” 2006
First Americans in the Arts (FAITA): Best Actor on a TV Show, “Into the West,” 2005
First Americans in the Arts (FAITA): Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series, “Chicago Hope,” 1997
First Americans in the Arts (FAITA): Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series, “Dangerous Minds,” 1996