Published on June 25, 2012 by Amy
Irene Bedard (born July 22, 1967) is an American actress best known for her portrayal of Native American characters in a variety of films. Bedard was born in Anchorage, Alaska. Her heritage is Inupiat Inuit and Métis.
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Irene Bedard’s first role was as Mary Crow Dog in the television production Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee, which depicted the 1970s standoff between police and Native Americans at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. She is probably best known as the voice of the eponymous heroine in the Disney animated film Pocahontas and its direct-to-video sequel Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World. Bedard was also the physical model for the character. She appeared in a different take of the story in the 2005 film The New World, as Pocahontas’ mother whose name was Nonoma Winanuske Matatiske. Bedard attended The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA where she studied Musical Theatre.
In 2005, she was cast in the television mini-series Into the West, portraying the half-Lakota, half-white adult Margaret “Light Shines” Wheeler.
Irene Bedard is known for bringing a powerful emotional presence to her characters. She was chosen as one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People for 1995.
She married singer Denny Wilson in 1993. Their son, Quinn Wilson, was born in 2003. In 2010, Bedard left Wilson, alleging physical, sexual, and mental abuse, and fled to Alaska. A letter written by Bedard’s niece, Alia Davis, alleged that during their marriage, Wilson maintained control over Bedard’s career, and that his abuse had cost her multiple jobs, as she could not work with visible bruises. Wilson responded by filing 49 motions in Greene County, Ohio, forcing Bedard to return to the state and relinquish her son to Wilson’s custody. An article on the Native Spirit PR & Entertainment website requests that fans of Bedard and those concerned for her welfare assist her by writing letters to Ohio and Alaska representatives, requesting that her son be returned to her custody, and that the court venue be transferred to Alaska. Supporters of Irene Bedard have requested financial assistance to assist with legal costs, alleging that Wilson still maintains control of her finances and image.