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Dr. Haing S. Ngor

Haingsngor.jpg

Miami Vice Character
Born
March 22, 1940, Samrong Yong, Cambodia
Died
February 25, 1996, Los Angeles, California (age 55, homicide)
Active (Acting)
1985-1995
Spouse/Child
My-Huoy Ngor (died 1975 in childbirth along with their unborn child)


Dr. Haing S. Ngor (March 22, 1940 - February 25, 1996) was a Cambodian doctor and actor who appeared as a North Vietnamese soldier disguised as Nguyen Van Trahn, a friend of Martin "Marty" Castillo in the episode "Duty and Honor" of the series Miami Vice.

Career

Ngor was a practicing doctor and gynecologist in Cambodia. In 1975 during the Communist-backed Khmer Rouge takeover of the country, Ngor decided to conceal his true identity (including not wearing glasses) to avoid suspicion by the regime due to their hostility toward intellectuals and professionals. This stance cost his wife's life as she and her unborn child died in childbirth while Ngor watched helplessly (all knowing if he assisted all three would be killed immediately). After the Pol Pot regime was defeated by the Vietnamese in 1979, Ngor moved to Thailand as a doctor in the refugee camp there, finally emigrating to the United States in 1980.

In 1985, Ngor was cast as Dith Pran, a Cambodian journalist who survived the Pol Pot genocide in the movie The Killing Fields, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, making him one of only two non-professional actors in history to do so, as well as the second Asian to win the award. He made his television debut in the series Hotel, and made several other appearances, including The Iron Triangle, China Beach, The Commish, and four Vanishing Son TV movies and two episodes of the Vanishing Son series, his final TV appearance. His final acting appearance was in the 1996 movie Hit Me (with Philip Baker Hall and J.C. Quinn). He also wrote his book Haing Ngor: A Cambodian Odyssey in 1988 describing his life during the genocide, and established the Dr. Haing S. Ngor Foundation to keep Ngor's achievements alive as well as promote Cambodian culture and history.

Death

Ngor was murdered on February 25, 1996, shot dead beside his car by a group of three men who were members of the Oriental Lazy Boyz gang. They took a gold locket that contained a picture of his family, but left behind $2300 in cash and other valuables. Ngor's family originally thought the murder was payback by the Pol Pot regime, but this theory has never been proven. All three men were convicted of Ngor's murder on April 16, 1996 (ironically the same day Pol Pot died) and sentenced to lengthy prison sentences. Though their convictions were temporarily overturned by a federal court in 2004, they were quickly reinstated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2005. They remain incarcerated to this day.

When family members began clearing Ngor's house after his murder, they found his Best Supporting Actor Oscar was badly damaged, with much of its gold plating rubbed away; the award had meant so much to Ngor that he had handled it virtually every day since winning it, with some sources claiming he would often carry it with him when he was at home.

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