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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Obituary: "Iron Eyes" Cody

Air Date: Week of

Living On Earth remembers an early icon of the environmental movement.


CURWOOD: And for this week that's Living on Earth. But first one more thing before we leave. We'd like to make a tribute to a man who shamed us into recognizing our roles in polluting, without saying a word. His name was Iron Eyes Cody, And he died recently at the age of 94 at his home in Los Angeles. Mr. Cody was an actor with credits on films including Sitting Bull and A Man Called Horse. But most Americans probably first met Iron Eyes Cody through a television ad on Earth Day, 1971.

(Dramatic music)

CURWOOD: The ad was produced for Keep America Beautiful, financed by packaged good companies to raise awareness about the nation's mounting litter problem. It showed Iron Eyes Cody canoeing down a dirty river flanked by billowing factory smokestacks. A single tear ran down the face of the noble Indian as a bag of litter thrown from a passing car landed at his feet.

(Voice-over: "Some people have a deep abiding respect for the natural beauty that was once this country." Dramatic music continues. "And some people don't. People start pollution. People can stop it.")

CURWOOD: The ad was reproduced in 1975 and again last year. Iron Eyes Cody's impassioned stand became a powerful symbol that helped define the modern environmental movement.



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