Ottawa Citizen

Acting became way to hide, Adam Beach tells audience

Lost both parents at young age

- BY TONY LOFARO

Actor Adam Beach knows about the heartache of losing both parents at an early age and says their spirit guides him now as he carries on raising three children as a single father.

“For me, alcohol basically changed my life forever,” said Beach, 37, told an audience of about 100 people Thursday at Carleton University.

The actor who appeared in Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers and the TV series Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and Big Love has been in Ottawa filming a TV movie, The Stepson.

“When I lost my parents, I lost my support. My mom was hit by a drunk driver when I was eight years old. She died in a ditch, she was eight-months pregnant. And then two months later, my dad drowned,” said Beach, adding his father was believed to have been drunk at the time.

Beach and his two brothers were sent from the Dog Creek First Nations to live with their grandmothe­r in Winnipeg, and afterwards with his aunt and uncle.

He said in time he was able to take the loss of his parents and turn it into something good.

“ In some weird way I always thanked my parents when I got older for passing because before their death, I was involved in sexual abuse growing up.

“Losing a parent who is supposed to teach you, guide you and is supposed to be a reflection of you, I didn’t have that. So, my only reflection was the people I met, people who would tell me informatio­n and then I would make my choices on what I wanted to do.

He said some of those choices in his early life involved joining a gang and doing drugs.

He said he turned to acting as a way to hide the harsh reality of his troubled youth.

“Acting for me was a gateway to disguise what I was actually living.”

He said he overcame the barriers society and Hollywood threw up. “Nobody was going to stop me so I used the loss of my parents that made me as hard as a rock to blast everyone away who was stopping me from my journey.”

Beach was accompanie­d on his visit to Carleton by his two sons, Noah and Luke. He also has a daughter, Phoenix Beach. He said he’s trying to be the best father possible giv- en the time constraint­s of being a full-time actor and often having to travel.

“ It’s our responsibi­lity to learn how to parent ourselves but also be a parent out in the world to make those choices for the younger generation.”

Beach said while he’s basically an actor, he adds that it’s still important to speak out on the rights of Aboriginal people and act as a role model for Aboriginal youth.

“A lot of people forget and don’t want to acknowledg­e our part that we played in the existence of North America. All I want to do is educate people about those treaty rights and land claims, but not to point any fingers at anybody.

“But look at how much we lost to gain the little that we have. Just to be able to stand here and say I’m Indian and I’m proud, I get so emotional.”

 ?? JEAN LEVAC, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN ?? Adam Beach says the spirit of his parents guides him as he tries to be the best father possible to three children while being a full-time actor and having to travel often.
JEAN LEVAC, THE OTTAWA CITIZEN Adam Beach says the spirit of his parents guides him as he tries to be the best father possible to three children while being a full-time actor and having to travel often.

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