Jay Silverheels, 62, who costarred in the long-running "Lone Ranger" television series as the faithful Indian Tonto, died Wednesday at the Motion Picture and Television Country House.
A spokesman at the home said he died of complications from pneumonia. He had been hospitalized there since Jan. 25, suffering from the effects of a stroke he suffered 5 1/2 years ago.
Mr. Silverheels, a full-blooded Mohawk, was born on the Six Nations Indian Reservation in Ontario, Canada, and moved to the United States with his family in the 1930s.
He said the Canadian government insisted on calling him Harold J. Smith when he immigrated to the United States, and years later he legally changed his name back to the original.
The athletic actor, who was once a Golden Gloves boxer and an amateur wrestling champion in Buffalo, N.Y., was a member of a touring lacrosse club in 1938, when he was spotted on a trip to Hollywood by comedian Joe E. Brown, who persuaded him to try acting and guided his early movie career.
Mr. Silverheels, starred as the Indian chief Geronimo in three 1950s movies: "Broken Arrow," "Battle at Apache Pass" and "Walk the Proud Land."
But he was best known for his portrayal of Tonto in all 221 episodes of ABC television's "Lone Ranger" series, a spin-off from the radio serial of the same title created in 1933 by Fran Striker, and the comic strip created in 1935.
The ABC series, which costarred Clayton Moore as the masked hero, ran for nine years from 1949 to 1957, was rerun on CBS and NBC through 1961 and is still being widely syndicated.
Mr. Silverheels' movie credits included roles in "Key Largo" "True Grit," "The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing" and "The Will Rogers Story." He also appeared in more than a dozen Western films -- "Fury at Furnace Creek," "Red Mountain," "Drums Across the River" and "Santee" in 1973.
Last August, Mr. Silverheels became the first Indian to have his star set in Hollywood's Walk of Fame along Hollywood Boulevard.
He founded the Indian Actors Workshop in Hollywood in the late 1960s to help get Indian people on the screen and to try to change the image of the Indian people, a friend said.
His commitment to his people included clauses in his own acting contracts.
"He created the atmosphere for us to get into the industry," an actress, Lois Red Elk, said. "Before that, Indian people had to play props, extras, background. There just weren't any Indian people with speaking parts."
Mr. Silverheels is survived by his wife Mari, and four children, Marilyn, Pamela, Karen and Jay Anthony.