Gil Birmingham (born July 13, 1953, Comanche) is an American actor best known for his portrayal of Billy Black in The Twilight Saga film series.
Early life and education
Birmingham was born in San Antonio, Texas. His family moved frequently during his childhood, due to his father's career in the military. He learned to play the guitar at an early age and considers music his "first love". After obtaining a Bachelor of Science from the University of Southern California (he graduated from the School of Policy, Planning and Development), he worked as a petrochemical engineer for some time. He changed fields and became an actor.
In the early 1980s, a talent scout spotted Birmingham at a local gym, where he had been bodybuilding and entering bodybuilding contests. He was recruited for his first acting experience, in a music video for Diana Ross, for her 1982 hit song "Muscles".
After appearing in Ross' music video, Birmingham began to pursue acting as his primary career. He studied acting with Larry Moss and Charles Conrad. He portrayed the character of Conan the Barbarian in Universal Studios Hollywood's theme park attraction The Adventures of Conan: A Sword and Sorcery Spectacular.
In 1986, Birmingham made his television debut on an episode of the series Riptide. By 2002, he had a recurring role as the character Oz in the medical drama Body & Soul, starring Peter Strauss. In 2005, he was cast as the older Dogstar in the Steven Spielberg six-part miniseries Into the West.
He has appeared in a number of television series, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars, 10 Items or Less, Nip/Tuck, Castle, The Mentalist, House of Cards and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. He has also had roles in several television films, such as Gentle Ben (with Dean Cain) and Gentle Ben 2, Dreamkeeper, The Lone Ranger, and Love's Long Journey (with Erin Cottrell and Irene Bedard).
In 2001, Birmingham appeared in his first feature film, The Doe Boy, in which he portrayed Manny Deadmarsh.
In 2008, Birmingham was cast as the character Billy Black in The Twilight Saga film series. He performed in all four of the films.
The Twilight series has led to roles in other major film roles, including that of Sheriff Johnny Cortez in Love Ranch (with Joe Pesci and Helen Mirren), and Cal Bishnik in Shouting Secrets (with The Twilight Saga: New Moon castmate Chaske Spencer). In September 2011, Birmingham appeared in the film Crooked Arrows, cast in the role of Ben Logan.
Birmingham voiced Wounded Bird in the animated film Rango and has provided voice work for the television series The Wild Thornberrys (in which he voiced an Inuit elder) and the film Night at the Museum.
He played the partnering Texas Ranger to Jeff Bridges' character in the bank robbery film Hell or High Water (2016).
In the Chickasaw Nation production of Te Ata, Birmingham plays Thomas Benjamin 'T.B.' Thompson, Mary Frances 'Te Ata' (Thomoson) Fisher's father. Birmingham attended the film's premiere in Moore, Oklahoma on September 13, 2016.
He was featured in The Space Between Us as Shaman Neka, which was released on February 3, 2017. He was featured as the father of a girl who dies on an Arapaho reservation in Wind River (film) (2017).
|1987||House II: The Second Story||Featured Warrior|
|2001||The Doe Boy||Manny Deadmarsh|
|2002||Skins||Sonny Yellow Lodge|
|2005||End of the Spear||Moipa||Uncredited|
|2007||Cosmic Radio||Tribal Council Leader|
|2008||Turok: Son of Stone||Nashoba (voice)|
|2008||No Man's Land: The Rise of Reeker||Eaglesmith|
|2009||The Twilight Saga: New Moon|
|2010||The Twilight Saga: Eclipse|
|2010||Love Ranch||Sheriff Johnny Cortez|
|2011||Rango||Wounded Bird (voice)|
|2011||Shouting Secrets||Cal Bishnik|
|2011||The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1||Billy Black|
|2011||California Indian||Charles "Chi" Thomas|
|2012||Crooked Arrows||Ben Logan|
|2012||The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2||Billy Black||Credited only|
|2013||The Lone Ranger||Red Knee|
|2016||Hell or High Water||Alberto Parker|
|2017||Wind River||Martin Hanson|
|2017||The Space Between Us||Shaman Neka|
|2017||Transformers: The Last Knight||Chief Sherman|
|1986||Ripture||Cop||Episode: "Chapel of Glass"|
|1987||Falcon Crest||Deputy||Episode: "Desperation"|
|1997||The Legend of Calamity Jane||Additional voices||13 episodes|
|1997||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Peru Man||Episode: "Inca Mummy Girl"|
|1997||Night Man||Vargas||Episode: "I Left My Heart in San Francisco"|
|1997||Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman||Brave #1||Episode: "Safe Passage"|
|1999||The Wild Thornberrys||Jim's Dad (voice)||Episode: "Tamper Proof Seal"|
|2001||Family Law||Bernard||Episode: "Americans"|
|2001||V.I.P.||Roland||Episode: "Uncle from V.A.L."|
|2002||Gentle Ben||Pete||Television film|
|2002||Body & Soul||Oz||Recurring role, 8 episodes|
|2003||Gentle Ben 2||Pete||Television film|
|2003||The Lone Ranger||One Horn||Unsold television film|
|2005||Medical Investigation||Walter Shephard||Episode: "Tribe"|
|2005||Into the West||Older Dogstar||Television miniseries, 4 episodes|
|2005||Love's Long Journey||Sharp Claw||Television film|
|2006||Charmed||Indian Chief||Episode: "Payback's a Witch"|
|2006||Veronica Mars||Leonard Lobo||2 episodes|
|2009||Nip/Tuck||Shaman||Episode: "Budi Sabri"|
|2009||10 Items or Less||John Greene||Episode: "Dances with Groceries"|
|2010||Castle||Cacaw Te||Episode: "Wrapped Up in Death"|
|2010||The Mentalist||Markham Willis||Episode: "Aingavite Baa"|
|2012||The Lying Game||Ben Whitehorse||3 episodes|
|2012||Wilfred||Red Wolf||Episode: "Questions"|
|2012||Vegas||Don Simmons||2 episodes|
|2014||Banshee||George Hunter||5 episodes|
|2014||House of Cards||Daniel Lanagin||4 episodes|
|2015–2017||Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt||Virgil||7 episodes|
|1999||Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun||Ghostalker (voice)|
- 2001: The Doe Boy (in which Birmingham starred as Manny Deadmarsh) wins the Sundance International Filmmaker's Award
- 2002: First Americans in the Arts (FAITA) award for an Outstanding Performance in a Recurring Role as Oz in Body & Soul
- 2005: American Indian LA Film and Television Award for Outstanding Supporting Role as Sam in Dreamkeeper