'Hogan Heroes' Actor Ivan Dixon Dies
FARAI CHIDEYA, host:
The man who starred in "Nothing but a Man," a landmark film about racial injustice in America, has died. Actor, director and producer Ivan Dixon died on Sunday, March 16 in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was 76 years old.
Dixon was probably most widely known for his role as a staff sergeant on the 1960's sitcom "Hogan's Heroes," but it was his role as a railroad worker in "Nothing but a Man" that he considered the most significant.
Dixon said he felt he was reliving his life when he acted in the 1964 film about a couple grappling with race and poverty in the South.
(Soundbite of film, "Nothing but a Man")
Unidentified Woman (Actress): (As character) Where are you going to go?
Mr. IVAN DIXON (Actor): (As Duff Anderson) When I gets there, I'll send for you.
Unidentified Woman: (As character) I don't think that'll happen.
Mr. DIXON: (As Duff Anderson) You'll be better off without me. I ain't fit to live with no more. It's just like a lynching. Maybe they don't use a knife on you, but they got other ways.
CHIDEYA: He went on to act in the Broadway and film productions of "A Raisin in the Sun" with Sydney Poitier. Some of his other film credits include "Something of Value," "A Patch of Blue," and the classic '70s comedy, "Carwash."
In the 1970s, he turned to directing films and TV shows, including episodes of "The Twilight Zone," "Perry Mason," and "The Outer Limits" Throughout his career, he worked to help other black actors into the film and television industry. In 1967, he told the New York Times: Sponsors haven't wanted anything negative connected with their products. We must convince them that the negro is not negative.
His awards include four NAACP image awards, the National Black Theater Award and the Paul Robeson Pioneer Award from the Black American Cinema Society. He died of a brain hemorrhage and had suffered complications from kidney failure. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, a daughter and a son. He had two other sons who died before him.
Family members say that at his request, a memorial service is not planned. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.