Elaine Miles

Most Popular
7, 1960
Birth Sign
7, 1960 (age 61)


Most well known for her portrayal of Marilyn Whirlwind in the 1990s CBS series Northern Exposure, she is also notable for her appearances in the films Tortilla Heaven (2007) and Fishing Naked (2015). In addition, she pursued careers as a dancer and stand-up comedienne.

Before Fame

She spent her childhood learning the traditional tribal arts of dance and storytelling and the crafts of weaving, beading, and pottery. She auditioned for and was cast in Northern Exposure by accident; she had never acted before and was at the audition site only because she had driven her mother to the casting call.


Her accurate portrayal, in Northern Exposure, of a character of the Pacific Northwestern Tlingit indigenous group earned her a 1993 Native American Woman of the Year honor.

Family Life

A native of Pendleton, Oregon, and a descendant of members of the Cayuse and Nez Perce Native American tribes, Miles spent the first three years of her life on the Umatilla Reservation in Oregon and the remainder of her childhood in Renton, Washington.

Associated With

She and Sheila Tousey are both well known Native American actresses.