Ivan Dixon, an actor and director who was best known for playing Sgt. James Kinchloe on the 1960s sitcom Hogan’s Heroes, died earlier this week in Charlotte, N.C. from complications of kidney disease. He was 76. Mr. Dixon directed television shows, including episodes of The Waltons, The Rockford Files, Magnum, P.I., Quincy and In the Heat of the Night. But he was most proud of the 1964 movie Nothing but a Man, in which he starred, and of the 1973 film The Spook Who Sat by the Door, which he directed.
In “Nothing but a Man” Mr. Dixon played a young black railroad worker who gives up his job to marry a minister’s daughter, played by Abbey Lincoln, and then runs into trouble for not knowing his place in the Deep South. In a 1991 article on the history of black films, Vincent Canby wrote in The New York Times that “Nothing but a Man” was “way ahead of its time.”
“Ivan Dixon and Abbey Lincoln give tough, moving performances as a couple making their way in a white world without apologies to anyone,” he wrote. “No thoughts of integration for them. They demand their own lives and are willing to fight for them.”
“The Spook Who Sat by the Door,” based on the novel by Sam Greenlee, tells the tale of Dan Freeman, the first black officer in the Central Intelligence Agency. After five years of menial assignments, Freeman quits, takes what he has learned about terrorist tactics and goes to Chicago, where he tries to put together a black guerrilla operation.