His first name was for Montgomery's Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where his father, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had been pastor during the birth of the civil rights movement. His middle name was for his mother, long-time activist Coretta Scott King.

Dexter Scott King died Monday of prostate cancer at his home in Malibu, Calif. He was 62.

He had portrayed his father in a 2002 movie about MLK's key role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955. He bore a startling resemblance to his famous father and was thus cast for the MLK role in "The Rosa Parks Story." It told of the real-life roles played by MLK and seamstress Rosa Parks, who was arrested after refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. That arrest and black citizens' ensuing boycott of the Montgomery bus system are credited with sparking the national civil rights movement. The movie starred Angela Bassett as Rosa Parks.

Dexter King also was the voiceover, playing his father in a 1999 radio production, "Our Friend, Martin."

Coretta Scott King had been a civil rights advocate and author until her death at age 78 in 2006. She had been born in Heiberger, north of Marion in Perry County.

Dexter King was chairman of the King Center and the King Estate in Atlanta until his death.

He was the third of the King's four children. He was seven years old when his father was shot and killed while supporting striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968. Dexter learned of the killing of his father in a newsbreak interruption as he was watching TV.

Dexter King described the impact his father's killing had on his childhood and the rest of his life in a 2004 memoir, "Growing Up King."

When Dexter King and his siblings got into a dispute about whether to sell their father's Nobel Peace Prize in 2016, former President Jimmy Carter served as a mediator, and the dispute was settled in a confidential agreement.

In 1997, Dexter King met with James Earl Ray, the convicted killer of Dr. King. Dexter King publicly declared that he believed James Earl Ray, who had pleaded guilty in 1969 to murdering Dr. King, was innocent. Ray died from liver failure the following year.

Dexter King is survived by his wife as well as an older brother, Martin Luther King III, and his younger sister, the Rev. Bernice A. King.

The Kings' oldest child, Yolanda Denise King, died in 2007.

A memorial service will be announced later.

"Anybody here seen my old friend Martin? Can you tell me where he's gone? He freed a lot of people, but it seems the good, they die young. I just looked around, and he was gone." - Dion DeMucci

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].

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