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James Joseph Dresnok

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James Joseph Dresnok
BornNovember 24, 1941[1]
Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.
DiedNovember 2016 (aged 74–75)
Pyongyang, North Korea
Allegiance United States (1958–1962)
 North Korea (1962–2016)
Service/branch United States Army (1958–1962)
Years of service1958–1962 (defected)
RankArmy-USA-OR-03-2015.svg Private first class
Other workTeacher, actor, translator.

James Joseph Dresnok (November 24, 1941 – November 2016) was an American defector to North Korea, one of six American soldiers to defect after the Korean War.

After defecting, Dresnok worked as an actor in propaganda movies, some directed by Kim Jong-il,[2] and as an English teacher in Pyongyang. He was featured on the CBS magazine program 60 Minutes on January 28, 2007, as the last United States defector alive in North Korea. He was also the subject of a documentary movie, Crossing the Line which was shown at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.[3]

In April 2017, a Western news organization that focuses on North Korea reported that Dresnok had died the previous year.[4] On 21 August 2017, Dresnok's sons confirmed that he had died of a stroke in November 2016.[5][6]


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