For his debut film performance in 1984’s historical drama, The Killing Fields, actor and physician Haing S. Ngor took home an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, becoming the first Asian-American to win in the category and an overnight household name in entertainment. Having survived the genocidal horrors that plagued his native Cambodia during the mid-to-late 1970s, Ngor immigrated to the United States and, in addition to his career in film and television, became a prolific and outspoken critic of his home country’s brutal Khmer Rouge government and its tyrannical leader, Pol Pot. But on February 25, 1996, Ngor’s life was cut tragically short at age 55 when he was murdered outside his Los Angeles home. While his death was ultimately deemed the result of a botched robbery, more details eventually emerged suggesting the possibility of more powerful and shadowy forces at play.
Haing S. Ngor became a household name overnight when he won an Oscar for his debut performance in The Killing Fields, but then catastrophe struck.