Dr. Haing S. Ngor



Dr. Haing S. Ngor (March 22, 1940 - February 25, 1996) was a Cambodian American physician, actor and author who is best known for winning the 1985 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the movie "The Killing Fields", in which he portrayed journalist and refugee Dith Pran in 1970s Cambodia, under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. His mother was Cambodian and his father was Chinese.

Life in the Khmer Rouge

Ngor was born in Samrong Young, Cambodia, Ngor trained as a surgeon and gynecologist (Doctor). He was working in the capital at Phnom Penh. In 1975 when Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge seized control of the country and proclaimed it Democratic Kampuchea. As an ethnic Chinese he faced persecution and he was compelled to conceal his education and medical skills (He also wore eyeglasses) to avoid the new regime's intense hostility to intellectuals and professionals. He was expelled from Phnom Penh, along with the bulk of its two million people there, as part of the Khmer Rouge's "Year Zero" social experiment and imprisoned in a concentration camp along with his wife, My-Huoy, who subsequently died during childbirth in the camp. Although a gynecologist, he was unable to treat his wife who required a Cesarean section as he would have been exposed and both he and his wife would very probably have been killed. After the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979, Ngor worked as a doctor in a refugee camp in Thailand and left with his niece for the United States on August 30, 1980. Ngor was not able to resume medical practice in the U.S. He never remarried.

In 1988, he wrote Haing Ngor: A Cambodian Odyssey, describing his life under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. In the second edition of Survival in the Killing Fields, Roger Warner, Ngor's co-author, adds an epilogue telling the story of Ngor's life after winning the Academy Award.

The "Dr. Haing S. Ngor Foundation" was founded in his honor in 1997 to assist in raising funds for Cambodian aid. As part of his humanitarian efforts, Ngor built an elementary school and operated a small sawmill that provided jobs and an income for local families. Ngor's niece, Sophia Ngor Demetri, who testified at the trial of his murderers and with whom he arrived to the U.S., is the current President of the Foundation.

Dr. Ngor an Actor

Ngor acted in a movie as Dith Pran in "The Killing Fields", A role for which he later won three awards, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Ngor also appeared in other movies and TV shows. He also guest-starred in an episode of Miami Vice called "The Savage; Duty and Honor".


On February 25, 1996, Ngor was shot to death outside his home in Chinatown, which is located in downtown Los Angeles, California. Ngor was buried at the Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, Los Angeles.

Charged with the murder were three reputed members of the Asian street gang. They were tried together in the Superior Court of Los Angeles, though their cases were heard by three separate juries.

All three were found guilty:

- Tak Sun Tan was sentenced to 56 years to life;

- Indra Lim to 26 years to life;

- Jason Chan to life without parole.

After the release of The Killing Fields, Ngor had told a New York Times reporter , "If I die from now on, OK! This film will go on for a hundred years."

Dith Pran, whom Ngor acted in The Killing Fields, said of Ngor's death, "He is like a twin with me...He is like a co-messenger and right now I am alone."


Click To See Dr. Ngor's Acting in T.V. and Movies


Television (T.V.)

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