Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Hogan's Heroes" co-star Ivan Dixon Dies At the Age of 76

Ivan Dixon, with Diana Sands, in a scene from a 1967 episode of "The Fugitive"

Ivan Dixon, perhaps best known for his role as Sgt. James Kinchloe in the long-running sitcom "Hogan's Heroes", has died at the age of 76. According to his daughter, Dixon died Sunday after a hemorrhage. He had also been suffering from kidney failure.

Dixon began his career in the late 1950s, appearing on Broadway in 1957's "The Cave Dwellers" and in playwright Lorraine Hansberry's groundbreaking 1959 drama of black life, "A Raisin in the Sun." In the latter, he played a Nigerian student visiting the United States, a role he repeated in the 1961 film version. He also starred in the 1964 drama "Nothing But A Man" (a film that has been deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry). Some of his other film credits include "Something of Value", "A Patch of Blue", and "Car Wash".

Although Dixon guest starred on such TV series as "The Twilight Zone", "I Spy", "Love, American Style", "Ironside", "The Mod Squad", and "The Name of the Game", it was his role on "Hogan's Heroes" that brought him the greatest fame. As Sgt. Kinchloe, Dixon was the team's level-headed communications officer who was also adept at imitating German officers on the phone or radio. During his time on "Hogan's Heroes", Dixon also starred in the 1967 CBS Playhouse drama, "The Final War of Olly Winter," about a veteran of World War II and Korea who decided that Vietnam would be his final war. The role brought Dixon an Emmy nomination for best single performance by an actor.

After leaving "Hogan's Heroes" in 1970, Dixon mainly focused on working behind the camera. Along with directing films such as "Trouble Man" and "The Spook Who Sat by the Door", he also helmed episodes of several TV series. These include "The Bill Cosby Show", "Julia", "The Waltons", "The Rockford Files", "Magnum P.I.", "The A-Team", and "Quantum Leap".

Dixon is survived by his wife of 53 years, a son, and a daughter.


pjazzypar said...

Wow! Believe it or not I just saw "Nothing But A Man" less than a month ago on one of those HD stations I was telling you about. The movie is very socially significant because the character he portrayed was not one that you readily saw during the 60's, especially in the south.

You didn't see very much or him over the last few decades as he had turned to directing. Actually the last time I really remember seeing him was as Lonnie in one of my all time favorites "Car Wash". Do you recall him confronting Abdulla (Bill Dukes)?

Well anyway thanks for posting this. Otherwise I might not have know until next year when one of the award shows does a retrospective on the actors who passed away last year.

Thembi said...

I absolutely didn't hear about this and I bet anymore I hear will be something buried in Jet. He was a great actor and so handsome in that old school way.

X. Dell said...

Sad. His Twilight Zone episodes are two of my favorite.

Malcolm said...

Pjazzy: I rented "Nothing But A Man"
back in the 1990s. I would love to see it again because I only watched it that one time. I don't know if TCM has it in their library, but I wouldn't be surprised if they showed it at some point in the future. Yes, I do remember Ivan's scenes with Bill Dukes in "Car Wash". That is one movie that TCM does show.

Thembi: I was somewhat disappointed in the coverage of Ivan Dixon's death compared to Paul Scofield's passing. I am interested to see how much space Ivan's death gets in the next issue of Entertainment Weekly.

X. Dell: I saw both of the TZ eps you mentioned, but it's been awhile. I remember that the actor who played the boy in the ep "The Big Tall Wish" was quite good.

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