Charles Robert Jenkins
Highest Rated: 90% Crossing the Line (2007)
Lowest Rated: 30% Fright Night 2 (1989)
Birthplace: Rich Square, North Carolina
Charles Robert Jenkins (born February 18, 1940) is a former United States Army soldier who lived in North Korea from 1965 to 2004 after deserting his unit and crossing the DMZ. Information about Jenkins' status was unavailable outside North Korea for many years. Jenkins says he almost immediately regretted his defection. He says that he and three other U.S. servicemen, Larry Abshier, Jerry Parrish and James Dresnok, were quarantined in a one-room house with no running water until 1972, where they were made to study the Juche philosophy of Kim Il-sung. They were forced to memorize large passages of Kim's in Korean, and beaten frequently. He says that at one point in 1966, he found his way to the Soviet embassy in Pyongyang and requested asylum, which was denied. Eventually, Jenkins was placed in separate housing and began teaching English at the Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies. His very thick North Carolina accent interfered with the government's goal of teaching spies English so that they could pass as South Korean, and when the North Koreans realized this, he was fired from that job. In 1980, Jenkins was introduced to Hitomi Soga, a 21-year-old Japanese nurse who had been abducted by North Korean agents in 1978, along with her mother, during a search for Japanese citizens who could train future spies in Japanese language and culture. Soga's mother was never heard from again, and Soga was "given to" Jenkins. The North Koreans had paired a number of Asians with people of European descent, with the assumption that North Korean spies could pass more effectively as South Korean if they were of Eurasian heritage, which is not uncommon in South Korea, but almost unheard of in North Korea. Soga and Jenkins fell in love, and thirty-eight days after meeting, they were married. They had two daughters, Roberta Mika Jenkins (born 1983) and Brinda Carol Jenkins (born 1985). In 1982, Jenkins appeared in the North Korean propaganda film Nameless Heroes, which provided the first evidence to the Western world that he was alive. The U.S. government did not publicly reveal this information until 1996. As mentioned in the documentary Crossing the Line, according to Dresnok, Jenkins' acting was so bad in Nameless Heroes that, even though he'd been chosen to be the criminal mastermind behind the Korean War, his role was cut back severely, and his character was just talked about instead, and then only appeared briefly in one of the series' 20 parts. Furthermore, his English was so incomprehensible that Dresnok dubbed Jenkins' voice in in post-production.
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