Iron Eyes Cody

Birth Name: Espera Oscar de Corti

Date of Birth: April 3, 1904

Place of Birth: Kaplan, Louisiana, U.S.

Date of Death: January 4, 1999

Place of Death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: Italian/Sicilian

Iron Eyes Cody was an American actor. He portrayed many Native American characters. He is specifically known for playing a Native American, shedding a tear about litter, in the “Keep America Beautiful” series of public service announcements.

Iron Eyes Cody was born Espera Oscar de Corti in Kaplan, Louisiana, to Italian parents, Francesca/Francis Salpietra, from Scillato, Palermo, Sicily, and Antonio de Corti/”Tony Corti.” He was also raised in Gueydan, Louisiana, and Texas. His stepfather was Alton Abshire.

By the end of his life, he wore his Hollywood Native American costume in his daily life, and denied press reports about his Italian ancestry.

He was married to archaeologist Bertha Parker Pallan, until her death. Bertha’s father was archaeologist Arthur C. Parker, who was of part Seneca Native American descent. Iron Eyes and Bertha had two children, who were adopted, including Native American musician, dancer, and educator Robert Tree Cody.

Iron Eyes’ maternal grandfather was named Jasper Saporito.

Iron Eyes’ maternal grandmother was named Mary Dore.

Sources: Iron Eyes’ mother on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Death record of Iron Eyes’ mother –

1 Response

  1. andrew says:

    His mother was born in Scillato, Palermo, Sicily, Italy. His father was Sicilian as well according to MyHeritage.

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