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Actor Iron Eyes Cody Dies

January 5, 1999 GMT

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 in his Los Angeles home, 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 people litter.

``It was more than advertising,″ said Roger Powers, who was president of Keep America Beautiful in 1970, when a California advertising agency discovered Cody. ``What we found _ it was a stroke of luck _ was a man who lived it and believed in it.″

Cody filmed three more public service announcements and spent the next 25 years making public appearances and visits to schools on behalf of the movement, Powers said.

``He galvanized so many people who really questioned whether individually they could make a difference,″ Powers said.

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 ``Rawhide.″

Cody’s wife died in 1978. He is survived by a son; three grandchildren; and a niece.