As a Buddhist, Haing S. Ngor examined his life

"Maybe in my last life before this one I did something wrong to hurt people, but in this life I paid back."
As a Buddhist, Haing S. Ngor examined his life according to principals of the cycle of life, each reincarnation a part of the struggle to perfection. He was captured by the Khmer Rouge following the 1975 takeover of Cambodia by that party, and endured four years of torture and starvation. He had to conceal his medical training to escape execution, even to the extent of being unable to offer medical help when his wife and child died in a difficult premature labor. At the time of the Vietnamese invasion he, along with his orphaned niece Ngim whose parents were slain by the Khmer Rouge, escaped to a refugee camp in Thailand, and they emigrated to the United States in 1980.
Ngor was not interested at first in the role of Dith Pran in "The Killing Fields" (1984), but after interviews with the filmmakers he changed his mind, remembering that he promised his late wife to tell Cambodia's story to the world. He was the first non-professional since Harold Russell in "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) to win an Academy Award for his performance.
"The film is real, but not real enough. The cruelty of the Khmer Rouge is not bad enough."
In February of 1996, after surviving the Killing Fields of Cambodia, he was shot while standing near his BMW in the driveway of his home. At first it was thought that he was killed by Khmer Rouge agents, but police investigation found that he was shot by three members of the Oriental Lazyboy street gang when he resisted a robbery attempt to get loot for purchase of rock cocaine. It is speculated that he was probably shot during the robbery for resisting giving up a cherished gold watch and chain bearing the picture of the wife who died in childbirth in 1975. (IMDb)
Happy Birthday, Haing S. Ngor!

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