Wednesday, March 19, 2008

In Memorium: Ivan Dixon

Actor, director and producer Ivan Dixon, best known for his role as Sgt. Kinchloe on the 1960s television series "Hogan's Heroes," has died in Charlotte, NC at the age of 76. Dixon passed away Sunday at Presbyterian Hospital following a hemorrhage and complications from kidney failure.

Dixon began his acting career on Broadway in plays including "The Cave Dwellers" and "A Raisin in the Sun." On film, he appeared in "Something of Value," "A Raisin in the Sun," "A Patch of Blue," "Nothing But a Man" and the 1970’s cult favorite "Car Wash."

But he was known primarily as Staff Sgt. James Kinchloe on "Hogan's Heroes," a WWII satire set in a German prisoner-of-war camp. Kinchloe,in charge of electronic communications, could mimic the voices of German officers on the radio or telephone. Dixon did have some personal issues with the somewhat stereotypical role, but he appeared in 145 episodes between 1965-1970 and it also launched him into directing.

Dixon earned an Emmy nomination for his performance in the CBS Playhouse special "The Final War of Olly Winter." He also directed hundreds of episodic TV shows, including "The Waltons," "The Rockford Files," "Magnum, P.I." and "In the Heat of the Night."

His honors include four NAACP Image Awards, the National Black Theatre Award and the Paul Robeson Pioneer Award from the Black American Cinema Society. He was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Directors Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild of America and the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.

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