Iron Eyes Cody

Iron Eyes Cody

Original Name Espera Oscar DeCorti
Birth
Kaplan, Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, USA
Death 4 Jan 1999 (aged 94)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Abbey of the Psalms, Sanctuary of Memories, crypt 3301, corridor H-4-1
Memorial ID 5094 · View Source
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Actor. Born Espera Oscar DeCorti in Kaplan, Louisiana, the second child of Italian immigrants Antonio DeCorti and Francesca Salpietra. DeCorti Senior abandoned the family in 1909, and ten years later his three sons followed him to Texas where they adopted his altered surname of Corti. In 1924, the brothers moved to Hollywood, and changed their name once again, from Corti to Cody, and began working as movie extras. It was the first time Cody presented himself as of Cherokee/Cree ancestry. He made his un-credited film debut in 1930's ‘The Big Trail' and remained without credit as a film extra for another ten years. He married Bertha Parker, an Abnaki-Seneca archaeologist and ethnologist in 1936, and adopted her culture and ancestry. His first screen credit was as Black Eagle in 1941's ‘Saddlemates," followed by the credited role of Chief Iron Eyes in 'The Paleface' in 1948. He was first billed as Iron Eyes in 1951's ‘Fort Defiance.' Over all he appeared in over 150 films, often un-credited, and as a guest in numerous television shoes such as ‘Bonanza,' ‘How the West Was Won,' ‘The Quest,' ‘Fantasy Island,' and ‘The A-Team.' He is perhaps best remembered as the iconic weeping Indian of the ‘Keep America Beautiful ad campaign that ran from 1971 through 1980. His last film appearance was in ‘Ernest Goes to Camp' in 1987. In 1996, Cody's half sister exposed his past in a New Orleans newspaper interview, which reported that he was of Italian ancestry, Cody denied the report. He was completely dedicated to his adopted culture; he maintained his fictional roots faithfully throughout his life and denied all rumors that he was not an American Indian. Hollywood's Indian community honored Cody for his longstanding contribution to native causes. Although he was not Cherokee, they acknowledged that his charitable deeds were more important than his heritage. He succumbed to a stroke at the age of 94.

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 5 Apr 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5094
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Iron Eyes Cody (3 Apr 1904–4 Jan 1999), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5094, citing Hollywood Forever, Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .