LOS ANGELES (AP) — Iron Eyes Cody,
the “Crying Indian” whose tearful face in
1970s television commercials became a
powerful symbol of the anti-littering
campaign, died Monday. He was in his 80s
or early 90s.
Cody died of natural causes at 1:30 p.m.
PST in his home in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles, police spokesman
Ed Funes said.
Cody, whose acting credits date back to silent movies and include dozens of
films and television shows, was best known for the ads from the group Keep
America Beautiful that showed him shedding a single tear as he watched
He was born in Oklahoma, but the exact date of birth wasn’t known.
Reference books give various dates, from 1904 to 1915. Based on his
credits, his most likely date of birth was 1907.
Cody followed his Cherokee Indian father, Thomas Long Plume, as a
performer in circuses and Wild West shows and made his first film
appearance as an extra in the 1919 silent “Back to God’s Country.”
Cody went on to appear in more than 80 films in Indian roles; often his
character was listed as simply “Indian,” “Indian Chief” or “Indian Joe.” In one
film, “Perils of Nyoka” in 1942, he had an uncredited role as “Arab.”
His other credits included “Sitting Bull” in 1954, “The Great Sioux
Massacre” in 1965, “Nevada Smith” in 1966, “A Man Called Horse” in
1970 and “Ernest Goes to Camp” in 1987.
Cody also served as a technical adviser on Native American matters in films.
In television, he had guest appearances on “Bonanza,” “Gunsmoke” and