Haing S. Ngor Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (3)  | Trivia (11)  | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (4)

Born in Samrong Young, Cambodia
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (homicide)
Birth NameHaing Somnang Ngor
Height 5' 6½" (1.69 m)

Mini Bio (3)

Haing S. Ngor was a native of Cambodia, and before the war was a physician (obstetrics) and medical officer in the Cambodian army. He became a captive of the Khmer Rouge during the and was imprisoned and tortured; in order to escape execution he denied being a doctor or having an education. He moved to the U.S. as a refugee in 1980, and though he had no formal acting experience, he was chosen to portray photographer Dith Pran in The Killing Fields (1984) and won an Academy Award. He went on to a modestly distinguished acting career, while continuing to work with human rights organizations in Cambodia on improving the conditions in resettlement camps, as well as attempting to bring the perpetrators of the Cambodian massacre to justice. On 25 February 1996, Ngor was found shot to death in the garage of his apartment building in Los Angeles. Relatives and friends speculated that the killing was revenge for his opposition to the Khmer Rouge.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Michael Berch <mcb@postmodern.com>

Haing Ngor was a doctor by training. As a Buddhist, he examined his life according to principals of the cycle of life, each reincarnation a part of the struggle to perfection. He was captured by the Khmer Rouge following the 1975 takeover of Cambodia by that party, and endured 4 years of torture and starvation. He had to conceal his medical training to escape execution, even to the extent of being unable to offer medical help when his wife and child died in a difficult premature labor. At the time of the Vietnamese invasion he, along with his orphaned niece Ngim whose parents were slain by the Khmer Rouge, escaped to a refugee camp in Thailand, and they emigrated to the United States in 1980. He always specified his intention to adopt Ngim (Sophia) but in fact never did so. In February of 1996, after surviving the Killing Fields of Cambodia, he was shot while standing near his BMW in the driveway of his home. At first it was thought that he was killed by Khmer Rouge agents, but police investigation found that he was shot by three members of the Oriental Lazyboy street gang when he resisted a robbery attempt to get loot for purchase of rock cocaine. He left no will, and both his niece Sophia and relatives in Cambodia laid claim to the estate.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Bruce Cameron <dumarest@midcoast.com>

Dr. Ngor's best known role was that of Dith Pran, the Cambodian assistant to New York Times correspondent Sydney Schanberg in the 'Killing Fields'. A gynecologist and surgeon, Ngor was ordered out of Phnom Penh along with the rest of the city's 2 million inhabitants after the Khmer Rouge takeover in 1975. He was sent to the country's Northwest Zone, where middle-class Cambodians were turned overnight into peasant farmers in a classless society. Fearing for his life if his level of education were revealed, Ngor constantly attempted to disguise his medical knowledge, hiding his glasses and ignoring atrocities in the Khmer camp. When a Vietnamese invasion ousted the Khmer Rouge in 1979, Ngor escaped to Thailand and in 1980 settled in the U.S. While working in various television and movie roles, Ngor continued to work for the benefit of Cambodian refugees, including co-founding two major refugee aid societies.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Trivia (11)

He lost half his right little finger to the Khmer Rouge.
He was the first non-professional since Harold Russell in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) to win an Academy award.
He was probably shot during the robbery for resisting giving up a cherished gold watch and chain bearing the picture of his wife, whom Khmer Rouge soldiers allowed to die in childbirth in 1975.
Was not interested at first in the role of Dith Pran but after interviews with the filmmakers he changed his mind, remembering that he promised his late wife to tell Cambodia's story to the world.
Was the second Asian actor to win an Oscar. Miyoshi Umeki was the first.
On April 14, 2004, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California overturned the 1998 conviction of the Oriental Lazy Boyz threesome who were jailed for the murder of Ngor. The court ruled that the original prosecutor had unfairly played on the jury sympathy in obtaining the conviction. However, on July 7, 2005, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reinstated the 1998 convictions (life without parole for the gang member who pulled the trigger, 56 years to life for his accomplice and 26 years to life for his other accomplice) rejecting claims of misconduct on the part of the original prosecutor.
The police investigation of Dr. Haing S. Ngor's murder is depicted in Price of Duty: John Garcia (2018), the third episode of the true crime series "Price of Duty".
One of six Asian actors nominated for an Academy Award in an acting category. The others are Miyoshi Umeki who won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Sayonara (1957), Sessue Hayakawa who was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Mako nominated for The Sand Pebbles (1966), Ken Watanabe nominated for The Last Samurai (2003), and Rinko Kikuchi nominated for Babel (2006).
One of eight actors of Asian descent nominated for an Academy Award in an acting category. The others are Miyoshi Umeki who won Best Supporting Actress nominated for Sayonara (1957), Sessue Hayakawa nominated for The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Mako nominated for The Sand Pebbles (1966), Ben Kingsley who won Best Actor for Gandhi (1982), Pat Morita nominated for The Karate Kid (1984), Ken Watanabe nominated for The Last Samurai (2003) and Rinko Kikuchi nominated for Babel (2006).
Was fluent in several Chinese dialects, including Mandarin, Cantonese, and Taishanese.
According to the book "Southeast Asian Personalities of Chinese Descent: A Biographical Dictionary," Dr. Haing S. Ngor also has a living younger brother, Chan Sarun (also known as Ngor Hong Srun) who was born in 1951. Most of Ngor's Cambodian assets went to him after the murder. Sarun is very active in Cambodian political life and was even the Cambodian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries at one point.

Personal Quotes (3)

Maybe in my last life before this one I did something wrong to hurt people, but in this life I paid back.
I don't want history to blame me, saying Dr. Ngor has many opportunities, why does he not help? Now I know the value of the arts. The arts can explain everything possible to tell the world.
[on The Killing Fields (1984)] The film is real, but not real enough. The cruelty of the Khmer Rouge is not bad enough.

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