Oskie Iron Eyes Cody, 94, had 80-year film career

Deaths Elsewhere

January 05, 1999

Veteran American Indian actor and environmentalist Oskie "Iron Eyes" Cody, famed for playing braves, medicine men and warrior chiefs in an 80-year film career, died yesterday in Los Angeles, associates said. He was 94.

Mr. Cody died at his home in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles after returning from a visit to a doctor's office, a close friend, Belen Escarano, said.

Although he appeared in such films as a "A Man Called Horse" and "Wild Bill Hickok," it was a television commercial that won him the most fame. He was the Indian who sheds a tear for a blighted American environment in "Keep America Beautiful" ads that ran from 1971 into the 1980s.

The organizers of the campaign give an annual "Iron Eyes" Cody award to volunteers who help combat littering and the ad he made recently was listed by Entertainment Weekly as among the 50 best TV commercials of all time.

Part Cree and part Cherokee and born in the Oklahoma Territory, Mr. Cody began his show-business career as a child in Wild West shows with his father, Thomas Long Plume. He even worked for a while with the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey circus.

The author of an autobiography called "My Life as a Hollywood Indian," and a volume on Indian hand signs, Mr. Cody began his film career as an extra in 1919 in the film "Back to God's Country."

He appeared in "The Covered Wagon" in 1923 and graduated to talkies in 1931, playing Crazy Horse in the 1954 film "Sitting Bull."

He played himself in his last film, 1990's "Spirit of '76," three years after he appeared as an old Indian chief in "Ernest Goes to Camp."

Cody appeared in more than 200 films and TV shows.

Alfred R. Mathewson, 90, who photographed everything from Igor Sikorsky's first helicopter flight to feature images for Post Publishing Co. during his half-century career there, died Thursday in South Carolina.

He photographed the presidential campaigns of Wendell L. Willkie and Franklin D. Roosevelt; the 1944 Hartford, Conn., circus fire; and the launching of the atomic submarine USS Nautilus in New London, Conn., in 1954.

John D. McDonald, 92, who co-wrote the classic business strategy volume "My Years With General Motors," died Dec. 23 in New York City of respiratory failure. Mr. McDonald wrote "General Motors," which has been used as a college text for 35 years, with Alfred P. Sloan Jr., who ran GM from 1923 to 1956.

Marshall Perlin, 79, a civil-liberties lawyer who worked on the Rosenberg atomic-bomb spy case, died Thursday in New York City after a brief illness. Mr. Perlin represented the sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and Morton Sobell, the Rosenbergs' co-defendant. The Rosenbergs were electrocuted in 1953 after their conviction on charges of plotting to deliver atomic-bomb secrets to the Soviet Union. Mr. Perlin, who entered the case after the sentencing, argued court motions that resulted in hundreds of thousands of pages of Rosenberg documents being publicly released.

James Herbert Taylor, 82, who made notable contributions to the science of molecular genetics, died Dec. 29 in Tallahassee, Fla.

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