March 25, 1990
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With his mother's encouragement and the support of his tight-knit Native American family, Kiowa Gordon went from being a relatively unknown actor to having a featured role in one of the most successful film franchises in history. Gordon played the part of half-human/half-werewolf Embry Call in the blockbuster, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" (2009), where his onscreen charisma captured millions of teenagers' hearts worldwide. The seventh of eight children, Gordon was born in Berlin, Germany and moved to the United States when he was one. The family spent a year in McLean, VA, where his father worked for the government, before heading west to Northern Arizona. Gordon, a First Nation Descendant of the Hualapai Nation, grew up in a local reservation, where he learned about his Native American heritage and culture. The future star attended Stapley Junior High School and Mountain View High School before relocating to Cave Creek, AZ with his mother, actress Camille Nighthorse Gordon. His mother played a big role in shaping the young actor's career. Nighthorse encouraged her children to take acting classes and often accompanied them to casting calls and photo shoots.One of Gordon's first major auditions was an open casting call for Native American teens in Phoenix for a role in "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," the second installment of the hit film series. Its predecessor "Twilight" (2008) earned $408.8 million worldwide at the box office and made movie stars out of its young leads Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner. Gordon initially auditioned for the role of Paul, a wolf pack tribe member who often butted heads with Lautner's character Jacob Black. However, the actor's tall, lanky frame and mild-mannered personality made him a better fit for Jacob's best friend in the tribe - and possible half-brother - Embry. "New Moon" exceeded all commercial expectations, making $26.3 million during its midnight opening. Gordon reprised his role in 2010's "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," the action-packed third part of the series. That same year, the actor appeared alongside Mischa Barton in the sci-fi comedy, "The Science of Cool."