Ivan Dixon

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Ivan Dixon
Ivan Dixon.jpg
Born Ivan Nathaniel Dixon, III
(1931-04-06)April 6, 1931
New York City, New York, US
Died March 16, 2008(2008-03-16) (aged 76)
Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
Cause of death
Renal failure
Occupation Actor, director, producer
Years active 1957–1991
Spouse(s) Berlie Ray Dixon (m. 1954–2008)

Ivan Dixon (April 6, 1931 – March 16, 2008) was an American actor, director, and producer best known for his series role in the 1960s sitcom Hogan's Heroes, for his role in the 1967 telefilm The Final War of Olly Winter, and for directing many episodes of television series. Active in the civil rights movement since 1961, he served as a president of Negro Actors for Action.[1][2]

Early life and career[edit]

Ivan Nathaniel Dixon, III, was born in Harlem, the son of a grocery store owner. When he was young, Dixon lived in the brownstone at 518 West 150th Street in Harlem, on the same block with Josh White, Ralph Ellison, and the Hines brothers, (Gregory and Maurice).[2] He graduated from the Lincoln Academy in Gaston County, North Carolina,[3] and went on to earn a drama degree from North Carolina Central University in 1954,[2] where the theater troupe is now known as the Ivan Dixon Players.[3] While at NCCU, he joined the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

In 1957, Dixon appeared on Broadway in William Saroyan's The Cave Dwellers, following this in 1959 with an appearance in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun.[4] In 1958, he was a stunt double for Sidney Poitier in the film The Defiant Ones, and went on to television roles on The Twilight Zone (in the episodes "The Big Tall Wish" and "I Am the Night—Color Me Black"), Perry Mason, and other series.

On September 25, 1962, he portrayed Jamie Davis, a livery stable groom, in the episode "Among the Missing" of NBC's Laramie western series.[5] In 1963 he played the role of John Brooks, alias Caleb Stone IV, in the Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Nebulous Nephew."

In 1964, Dixon starred in the independent film Nothing But a Man, written and directed by Michael Roemer; it was his performance in this film he was most proud of.[2] He also appeared in an episode of ABC's The Fugitive entitled "Escape into Black".

Hogan's Heroes[edit]

In his best-known role, Dixon appeared as POW Staff Sergeant Ivan Kinchloe in the ensemble cast of the hit television sitcom Hogan's Heroes. "Kinch" was the communications specialist, a translator of French, and the default third in command. Dixon played Kinchloe from 1965 to 1970, the only one of the series' long-time cast not to remain for the entire series. Kenneth Washington succeeded Dixon for the last year of the show's run, albeit with a different character name.

Film work and directing[edit]

From 1970 to 1993, Dixon worked primarily as a television director on such series and TV-movies as Trouble Man, The Waltons, The Rockford Files, The Bionic Woman, Magnum, P.I., and The A-Team. He also directed the controversial 1973 feature film The Spook Who Sat by the Door based on a novel by Sam Greenlee, about the first black CIA agent, who takes his espionage knowledge and uses it to lead a black guerrilla operation in Chicago. The New York Times wrote in 2008:

Although The Spook caused controversy and with suppression facilitated by the F.B.I., was soon pulled from theaters, it later gained cult status as a bootleg video and in 2004 was released on DVD. At that time Mr. Dixon told The Times that the movie had tried only to depict black anger, not to suggest armed revolt as a solution.[2]

Occasionally returning to acting, he played a doctor and leader of a guerrilla movement in the controversial 1987 ABC miniseries Amerika, set in post-Soviet invasion Nebraska.

Dixon also served as Chairman of the Expansion Arts Advisory Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts in 1978.

Later life and death[edit]

After his career as an actor and director, Dixon was the owner-operator of radio station KONI (FM) in Maui. In 2001, he left Hawaii for health reasons and sold the radio station in 2002.[6]

Ivan Dixon died on March 16, 2008, aged 76, at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, of complications from kidney failure.[7]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1957 Something of Value Lathela, Loyal Gun-Bearer Alternative title: Africa Ablaze
1959 Porgy and Bess Jim
1961 A Raisin in the Sun Asagai
1961 Paladin (TV Series) "Long Way Home" (Air Date April 2, 1961) Isham Spruce
1962 The New Breed Wick 2 episodes
1963 Perry Mason Caleb Stone IV Episode: "The Case of the Nebulous Nephew"
Going My Way Robin Green "Run, Robin, Run"
Stoney Burke Dr. Manning Episode: "The Test"
1964 Nothing But a Man Duff Anderson
1965 I Spy Elroy Brown Episode: "So Long, Patrick Henry"
A Patch of Blue Mark Ralfe
1965 to 1971 Hogan's Heroes Staff Sergeant Ivan Kinchloe 145 episodes
1969 Where's Jack? Naval Officer
1970 Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came Sgt. Jones Alternative title: War Games
1971 Clay Pigeon Simon
1971 to 1972 Nichols Director, 4 episodes
1973 The Spook Who Sat by the Door Director
1974 to 1975 The Waltons Director, 7 episodes
1975 Starsky and Hutch Director, 1 episode
1975 to 1979 The Rockford Files Director, 9 episodes
1976 Car Wash Lonnie
1977 McCloud Director, 1 episode
1978 The Bionic Woman Director, 1 episode
1979 Wonder Woman Director, 1 episode
1981 to 1982 Bret Maverick Director, 3 episodes
1981 to 1983 The Greatest American Hero Director, 6 episodes
1984 Trapper John, M.D. Director, 1 episode
1982 to 1986 Magnum, P.I. Director, 13 episodes
1987 Amerika Dr. Alan Drummond Miniseries
1989 Quantum Leap Director, 1 episode
In the Heat of the Night Director, 1 episode
1991 Father Dowling Mysteries Rev. Johnson Episode: "The Joyful Noise Mystery"

Awards and honors[edit]

Year Award Category Title of work
1967 Emmy Award Nomination:Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama CBS Playhouse: The Final War of Olly Winter

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ "Ivan Dixon: Kinchloe in 'Hogan's Heroes'". London: independent.co.uk. May 16, 2008. Retrieved October 20, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Hevesi, Dennis. "Ivan Dixon, Actor in 'Hogan’s Heroes,' Dies at 76" New York Times (March 20, 2008)
  3. ^ a b Saunders, Barry. "School's starring role in an actor's life" News & Observer (April 5, 2008)
  4. ^ "Ivan Dixon" on the Internet Broadway Database
  5. ^ "Laramie: "Among the Missing", September 25, 1962". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  6. ^ Engle, Erika (May 13, 2002). "The Buzz". archives.starbulletin.com. Retrieved October 20, 2008. 
  7. ^ Stewart, Jocelyn Y. (March 20, 2008). "Actor's roles reflected life for blacks in America". articles.latimes.com. Retrieved October 20, 2008. 

External links[edit]