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Vietnamese Actor Don Duong Dies at 55

Posted: Dec 28, 2011

 One of Vietnam’s best-known actors, Don Duong — once labeled a traitor by his country’s armed forces — has died of heart failure and a brain hemorrhage at age 55, relatives said. The BBC profiled Don Duong, who appeared in Hollywood films such as the Vietnam war epic “We Were Soldiers” and the refugee drama “Green Dragon.” “We Were Soldiers” depicted the November 1965 battle of Ia Drang — the first major engagement between US troops and the North Vietnamese Army — and “Green Dragon” told the story of Vietnamese refugees housed in camps in the US in the mid-1970s. This prompted Vietnam’s army newspaper to say he had betrayed his country. In 2003, he left Vietnam under pressure for the United States and became a U.S. citizen.

The Quan Doi Nhan Dan (People’s Army) daily newspaper called Duong’s actions “unforgivable,” and the “conscience-seller and traitor must be strictly disciplined.” In 2011, after previously denying him a visa, the Vietnamese authorities finally gave him permission to make a return trip to Vietnam. But the visit was delayed and he died before it could take place. Don Duong’s funeral was held in the United States, his brother-in-law told the BBC, and his ashes will be sent back to Vietnam.

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