Cambodian-born doctor who, after escaping from war-torn Southeast Asia to the US, came to be cast in a co-starring role in "The Killing Fields" (1984). This fact-based feature depicted events which pa...
The Cambodian was shot and killed in 1996 in Los Angeles and his death was ruled a gang-related murder.
Police officials closed the investigation after arresting three members of an Asian-American gang and charging them with the murder.
But, 14 years after the tragedy, Ngor's family want the case re-opened because they believe a leading member of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge had ordered a hit on the actor, who was an outspoken critic of dictator Pol Pot.
The Los Angeles Police Department launched an international investigation regarding the theory, but ruled Ngor was killed during a random street robbery.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the testimony of a former Khmer Rouge prison chief last year (09) sparked requests for a reinvestigation into the murder.
Kang Kek Ieu told a United Nations tribunal in Phnom Penh that Pol Pot and his supporters were behind the incident, explaining, "Haing Ngor was killed because he appeared in the film The Killing Fields."
The slain actor's cousin, Thommy Nou, tells the Times, "I believe this 100 per cent. This was a homicide set up by the communists or possibly the Khmer Rouge. That’s what I had thought all along."
But police officials who worked the case insist they found no links to tie the murder to the Khmer Rouge and maintain Ngor was killed by teenage members of the Oriental Lazy Boyz.
During the 1998 trial, prosecutor Craig Hum argued the trio robbed Ngor for money to buy cocaine and shot him after he refused to part with a locket because it held the photo of his dead wife.
Speaking to the Times, Hum admits he's skeptical about the international hit theory: "I’m sure that people in the regime weren’t sorry to see him go, but I’m not sure if that equates to having a prominent critic murdered in the U.S."
Acting debut in co-starring role, "The Killing Fields"; won Best Supporting Actor Oscar
Born and raised in Cambodia
Captured and tortured for four years by the Khmer Rouge
Escaped to Thailand and finally settled in the US
Trained as a doctor and began practice in Cambodia
TV debut as guest on episodic TV, "Hotel"
Had recurring role in sydicated TV series, "Vanishing Sun"
Worked various jobs and tried to resume medical career
Killed in an apparent robbery
Made first TV-movie, "In Love and War"
Cambodian-born doctor who, after escaping from war-torn Southeast Asia to the US, came to be cast in a co-starring role in "The Killing Fields" (1984). This fact-based feature depicted events which paralleled many of Ngor's own experiences. A practicing doctor, Ngor was captured, and tortured for years, by the Khmer Rouge following their takeover of Cambodia. He eventually escaped to Thailand and then to the US where he worked at various jobs until director Roland Joffe cast the non-professional as Dith Pran, translator and assistant to <i>The New York Times</i> reporter Sidney Schanberg (played by Sam Waterston), upon whose memoirs the drama is based. It was Ngor's acting debut and garnered him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.<p> Apart from a couple of action adventure features like the Hong Kong produced "Eastern Corridors" (1987) directed by and starring Jackie Chan-collaborator Samo Hung, Ngor has frequently found himself cast in roles that could not help but revive troubling national memories. He was featured in "The Iron Triangle" (1989) about the relationship between a US Army captain and his 17-year-old Vietcong captor, and set in 1969 Vietnam, "Vietnam, Texas" (1990), a true story about Vietnam vets who live by their own rules in a small Texas town, and Oliver Stone's box-office disappointment "Heaven & Earth" (1993) as the father of a Vietnamese woman whose life evolves from peasant to American housewife.<p> Ngor made his TV-movie debut in "In Love and War" (1987), another fact-based story about American POWs held by the North Vietnamese. He has had roles in several other fact-based TV dramas and guest shots drawing on the Vietnam experience. Ngor was featured as a Vietnamese general turned organized crime kingpin in a recurring role on the syndicated action series "Vanishing Son" (1994). He was shot to death outside of his home in Los Angeles on February 24, 1996.