Ivan Dixon

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Ivan Dixon
Ivan Dixon.jpg
Ivan Dixon in Nothing But a Man
BornIvan Nathaniel Dixon, III
(1931-04-06)April 6, 1931
New York City, New York, US
DiedMarch 16, 2008(2008-03-16) (aged 76)
Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
Cause of deathRenal failure
OccupationActor, director, producer
Years active1957–1991
Spouse(s)Berlie Ray Dixon (m. 1954–2008)
 
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Ivan Dixon
Ivan Dixon.jpg
Ivan Dixon in Nothing But a Man
BornIvan Nathaniel Dixon, III
(1931-04-06)April 6, 1931
New York City, New York, US
DiedMarch 16, 2008(2008-03-16) (aged 76)
Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
Cause of deathRenal failure
OccupationActor, director, producer
Years active1957–1991
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 hundreds of episodes of television series. Active in the civil rights movement, he served as a president of Negro Actors for Action.[1]

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 W. 150th St. in Harlem. Living on the same block were 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 known as the Ivan Dixon Players.[3] He also became a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., while in attendance. In 1957, he appeared on Broadway in the William Saroyan play The Cave Dwellers. In 1958, he was a stunt double for Sidney Poitier in The Defiant Ones. In 1959, he co-starred in Lorraine Hansberry's groundbreaking drama A Raisin in the Sun, the first Broadway play produced by a black woman.

Dixon 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. Series character Jess Harper (Robert Fuller) pursues bank robbers, played by L. Q. Jones and Jan Merlin, who seriously wounded series character Mike Williams (Dennis Holmes). Jess' search leads him to the unfriendly town of Chloride, where he faces a corrupt sheriff, Tyler Shaw, portrayed by Claude Akins. Jess' only ally turns out to be the livery stable groom.[4] In 1963 he played the role of John Brooks, alias Caleb Stone IV, in the Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Nebulous Nephew." The real Caleb Stone IV, title character and defendant in the episode, was played by Ron Starr. As youth they had switched names to hide the fact of Stone's illegitimate birth.

In 1964, Dixon starred in the independent film Nothing But a Man, written and directed by Michael Roemer. He 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 of the hit television program Hogan's Heroes. "Kinch" was the communications specialist and default third (behind Technical Sergeant Andrew Carter) in command to Colonel Hogan (portrayed by Bob Crane). Dixon played Kinchloe from 1965 to 1970, making him one of two original actors on Hogan's Heroes not to remain for the entire series (the other was Leonid Kinskey, who played Vladimir Minsk). Hogan's Heroes ended in 1971, by which time Kenneth Washington had succeeded Dixon.

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.

Ivan 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.[5]

Ivan Dixon died on March 16, 2008, aged 76, at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, of complications from kidney failure.[6]

Selected filmography[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1957Something of ValueLathela, Loyal Gun-BearerAlternative title: Africa Ablaze
1959Porgy and BessJim
1961A Raisin in the SunAsagai

  1961  Paladin (TV Series)  "Long Way Home" (Air Date April 2, 1961)  Isham Spruce 
1962The New BreedWick2 episodes
1963Perry MasonCaleb Stone IVEpisode: "The Case of the Nebulous Nephew"
Going My WayRobin Green"Run, Robin, Run"
Stoney BurkeDr. ManningEpisode: "The Test"
1964Nothing But a ManDuff Anderson
1965I SpyElroy BrownEpisode: "So Long, Patrick Henry"
1965A Patch of BlueMark Ralfe
1965 to 1971Hogan's HeroesStaff Sergeant Ivan Kinchloe145 episodes
1966Hogan's HeroesPrince Makabanaepisode "The Prince From The Phone Company"
1969Where's Jack?Naval Officer
1970Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody CameSgt. JonesAlternative title: War Games
1971Clay PigeonSimon
1971 to 1972Nichols
Director, 4 episodes
1973The Spook Who Sat by the Door
Director
1974 to 1975The Waltons
Director, 7 episodes
1975Starsky and Hutch
Director, 1 episode
1975 to 1979The Rockford Files
Director, 9 episodes
1976Car WashLonnie
1977McCloud
Director, 1 episode
1978The Bionic Woman
Director, 1 episode
1979Wonder Woman
Director, 1 episode
1981 to 1982Bret Maverick
Director, 3 episodes
1981 to 1983The Greatest American Hero
Director, 6 episodes
1984Trapper John, M.D.
Director, 1 episode
1982 to 1986Magnum, P.I.
Director, 13 episodes
1987AmerikaDr. Alan DrummondMiniseries
1989Quantum Leap
Director, 1 episode
1989In the Heat of the Night
Director, 1 episode
1991Father Dowling MysteriesRev. JohnsonEpisode: "The Joyful Noise Mystery"

Award nominations[edit]

YearAwardCategoryTitle of work
1967Emmy AwardOutstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a DramaCBS Playhouse: The Final War of Olly Winter

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ivan Dixon: Kinchloe in 'Hogan's Heroes'". London: independent.co.uk. May 16, 2008. Retrieved October 20, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c The New York Times, "Ivan Dixon, Actor in 'Hogan’s Heroes,' Dies at 76", By Dennis Hevesi, March 20, 2008
  3. ^ a b School's starring role in an actor's life
  4. ^ "Laramie: "Among the Missing", September 25, 1962". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  5. ^ Engle, Erika (May 13, 2002). "The Buzz". archives.starbulletin.com. Retrieved October 20, 2008. 
  6. ^ 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]