Ivan Dixon

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Ivan Dixon
Ivan Dixon.jpg
Ivan Nathaniel Dixon III

(1931-04-06)April 6, 1931
DiedMarch 16, 2008(2008-03-16) (aged 76)
OccupationActor, director, producer
Years active1957–1991
Berlie Ray Dixon (m. 1954⁠–⁠2008)
L–R: Ivan Dixon, Steven Perry and Kim Hamilton in "The Big Tall Wish", a 1960 episode of The Twilight Zone

Ivan Nathaniel Dixon III (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 television film 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 (NCCU) 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. He was cast in two episodes of The Twilight Zone: "The Big Tall Wish" – as the lead, in a then-rare instance of a primarily black cast in a TV drama – and a key supporting role in "I Am the Night—Color Me Black". In 1962, Dixon co-starred with Dorothy Dandridge in the "Blues for a Junkman" episode of Cain's Hundred, which was the highest-rated episode of the series. An expanded version was released as a feature film in Europe entitled The Murder Men, and became Dandridge's last screen appearance.[citation needed]

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 Dixon's 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 James "Kinch" Kinchloe in the ensemble cast of the television sitcom Hogan's Heroes. "Kinch" was the communications specialist, a translator of French, and Hogan's default second 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 replaced Dixon for the last year of the show's run, as a different character filling a similar role.

Film work and directing[edit]

From 1970 to 1993, Dixon worked primarily as a television director on such series and TV movies as The Waltons, The Rockford Files, The Bionic Woman, The Eddie Capra Mysteries, Magnum, P.I., and The A-Team. Dixon's first feature film as director was the blaxploitation thriller Trouble Man.[6] He also directed the controversial 1973 feature film The Spook Who Sat by the Door, based on Sam Greenlee's 1969 novel of the same name, 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, Dixon played a doctor and leader of a guerrilla movement in the 1987 ABC miniseries Amerika, set in post-Soviet invasion Nebraska.

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

Personal life[edit]

In 1954, the same year Dixon graduated from North Carolina Central University, he married theater student Berlie Ray. The couple had four children, including two sons who died prior to Dixon's death, daughter Doris Nomathande Dixon, and son Alan Kimara Dixon.[7]

Later life and death[edit]

After his career as an actor and director, Dixon was the owner-operator of radio station KONI (FM) on Maui. In 2001, he left Hawaii for health reasons and sold the radio station in 2002.[8]

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

Berlie Ray Dixon, born on April 5, 1930, in Badin, North Carolina, died on February 9, 2019, in Charlotte, at age 88.[9]


Year Title Role Notes
1957 Something of Value Lathela, Loyal Gun-Bearer Alternative title: Africa Ablaze
1959 Porgy and Bess Jim
1960 The Twilight Zone Bolie Jackson TV series, Episode: "The Big Tall Wish"
1961 Have Gun – Will Travel Isham Spruce TV Series, "Long Way Home" (air date April 2, 1961)
1961 A Raisin in the Sun Asagai
1961 Battle at Bloody Beach Tiger Blair
1961 Too Late Blues Party Guest Uncredited, Directed by John Cassavetes
1962 Laramie Jamie Davis TV series, "Among the Missing" (Sept 25 1962)
1962 Cain's Hundred Joe Sherman TV series, "Blues for a Junkman" (February 20, 1962), co-starring Dorothy Dandridge
1962 The New Breed Wick TV series, 2 episodes
1963 Perry Mason Caleb Stone IV TV series, Episode: "The Case of the Nebulous Nephew"
1963 Outer Limits Major Harold Giles TV series, Episode: "The Human Factor"
1963 Going My Way Robin Green TV series, "Run, Robin, Run"
1963 Stoney Burke Dr. Manning TV series, Episode: "The Test"
1964 Nothing But a Man Duff Anderson
1964 The Fugitive Dr. Towne Episode: "Escape Into Black"
1964 The Outer Limits Sgt. James Conover Episode: "The Inheritors"
1964 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Jean Francis Soumarin TV series, Episode: "The Vulcan Affair"
1964 The Twilight Zone Reverend Anderson TV series, Episode: "I Am the Night—Color Me Black"
1965 I Spy Elroy Brown TV series, Episode: "So Long, Patrick Henry"
1965 A Patch of Blue Mark Ralfe
1965-1970 Hogan's Heroes Staff Sergeant James Kinchloe TV series, 145 episodes
1967 The Fugitive Ambassador Unawa TV series, Episode: "Dossier on a Diplomat"
1967 CBS Playhouse Olly Winter TV play, The Final War of Olly Winter
1968 It Takes A Thief General Kristoff TV series, Episode: "Get Me to the Revolution on Time"
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
1971-1972 Nichols TV series, Director, 4 episodes
1972 Trouble Man Director
1973 The Spook Who Sat by the Door Director
1974-1975 The Waltons TV series, Director, 7 episodes
1974 Claudine Wedding Guest Uncredited
1975 Starsky & Hutch TV series, Director, 1 episode
1975-1979 The Rockford Files TV series, Director, 9 episodes
1976 Car Wash Lonnie
1977 McCloud TV series, Director, 1 episode
1977 Quincy, M.E. TV series, Director, 1 episode
1978 The Bionic Woman TV series, Director, 1 episode
1979 Wonder Woman TV series, Director, 1 episode
1981-1982 Bret Maverick TV series, Director, 3 episodes
1981-1983 The Greatest American Hero TV series, Director, 6 episodes
1984 Trapper John, M.D. TV series, Director, 1 episode
1982-1986 Magnum, P.I. TV series, Director, 13 episodes
1987 Amerika Dr. Alan Drummond TV miniseries, 7 parts
1989 Quantum Leap TV series, Director, 1 episode
In the Heat of the Night TV series, Director, 1 episode
1991 Father Dowling Mysteries Rev. Johnson TV series, Episode: "The Joyful Noise Mystery", (final appearance)
1993 Percy & Thunder Director

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



  1. ^ Hayward, Anthony (May 16, 2008). "Ivan Dixon: Kinchloe in 'Hogan's Heroes'". The Independent. London, UK. Retrieved October 20, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e Hevesi, Dennis. "Ivan Dixon, Actor in 'Hogan’s Heroes,' Dies at 76", The New York Times (March 20, 2008).
  3. ^ a b Saunders, Barry. "School's starring role in an actor's life"[permanent dead link], The 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. ^ Canby, Vincent (November 2, 1972). "'Trouble Man' Arrives". The New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Stewart, Jocelyn Y. (March 20, 2008). "Actor's roles reflected life for blacks in America". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 20, 2008.
  8. ^ Engle, Erika (May 13, 2002). "The Buzz". archives.starbulletin.com. Retrieved October 20, 2008.
  9. ^ "Berlie Dixon". The Charlotte Observer. February 18, 2019. Retrieved February 18, 2019.

External links[edit]