Iron Eyes Cody Biography (1904?-1999)



See index for CTFT sketch: Born April 3, 1904(?) in Oklahoma territory; died January 4, 1999, in Los Angeles, CA. Actor, activist, consultant, author. Best known for his portrayal of the Crying Indian in a 1970 television commercial against pollution, Cody appeared in nearly two hundred films and television programs over the course of a career that spanned eighty years. The son of a Cherokee performer in Wild West shows and circuses, Cody was broughtinto show business by his father at an early age. His first film role was asan extra in the 1919 silent film Back to God's Country. While still inhigh school, Cody landed a small role in director John Ford's film The Iron Horse. As popular demand for western films grew in the 1920s, so did Cody's career; he worked in front of the camera with such stars as Errol Flynnand Gary Cooper, and behind the camera as an action sequence director. Laterhe would also serve as technical advisor on Indian matters for film and television. Cody also did occasional tours with a troupe of circus dancers in the1930s, and during World War II he left filmmaking for work in a shipyard. His film credits include starring roles in the 1954 film Sitting Bull, the 1965 film The Great Sioux Massacre, and the 1970 film A Man Called Horse. On television he could be seen on episodes of popular western series such as Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and Rawhide. In 1970 he made an ad for the Keep America Beautiful foundation in which he canoed down a polluted river past billowing smoke from nearby factories. The commercial ended with an admonition against littering in a voice-over while a close-up shot showed Cody shedding a single tear as he viewed the pollution-ravaged landscape.Not long before Cody's death, Entertainment Weekly listed this commercial as one of the fifty best of all time. Cody discusses this ad and other events of his long career in his 1982 autobiography Iron Eyes: My Life as aHollywood Indian. Cody was active in charities benefitting the AmericanIndian community, and owned what is considered one of the most extensive private collections of Indian artifacts in existence.

Gender
Male
Birth Details
April 3, 1904?
Oklahoma, United States
Death Details
January 4, 1999
Los Angeles, California, United States

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