Legendary Vietnam War propagandist 'Hanoi Hannah' dies at 87

Legendary Vietnam War propagandist 'Hanoi Hannah' dies at 87
Trinh Thi Ngo, better known as Hanoi Hannah, the voice of North Vietnamese propaganda during the Vietnam War, in with foreign experts in a file photo.

Vietnamese radio personality Hanoi Hannah, who is best known for her English-language broadcasts for North Vietnam during the Vietnam War, died on Friday at her home in Ho Chi Minh City at the age of 87.

The former radio announcer for the Voice of Vietnam, whose real name is Trinh Thi Ngo, was known to many American soldiers during the war for broadcasting a nostalgic mix of folk songs, lists of U.S. soldiers who had been killed or captured and news on anti-war protests back home.

She started working for VOV in 1955 and was famous long before the war ended in 1975. Robin Williams referenced her in Good Morning Vietnam, the 1987 comedy loosely based on U.S. Armed Forces Radio Service DJ Adrian Cronauer.

Sometimes she made the soldiers laugh, but other times they threw empty beer cans at the radio, Newsweek quoted Don North, an ABC newsman in Vietnam during the war, as saying. There were actually several Hanoi Hannahs at the time, but Ngo, who had received private lessons in English, was the most frequently heard, and most recognizable.

“Her job was to chill and frighten, not to charm and seduce,” North wrote years after the war. “Her voice was as smooth as silk, her English impeccable, and as North Vietnam’s premier propagandist, ‘Hanoi Hannah’ tried to convince American G.I.’s that the war was immoral, that they should lay down their arms and go home.”

“The message I wanted to deliver to the U.S. soldiers was that they were fighting an unjust war and would die in vain,” the now-defunct English-language Thanh Nien News quoted Ngo as saying in 2008.

Ngo has been laid to rest in Long An Province neighboring HCMC.

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