advice to young people, young Asian Americans, that want to get
into the film industry
is to prove that you are worth it. I constantly get phone calls/faxes/letters
Asian American actors /filmmakers that want me to help them.
When I take a look at their films or things that they have written,
THEY ARE TERRIBLE!
First of all, you've got to be GOOD. . . then you have
a chance to make it.
Terrance Chang (From "The Slanted Screen")
TSURU AOKI - Perhaps the first Asian actress to appear in American
cinema, lovers of silent cinema have forgotten the name Tsuru Aoki,
whereas her husband, Sessue
Hayakawa, remains a legend. Aoki's film career in fact preceded
her husband's rise to fame in Cecil B. DeMille's The
SAMANTHA BECKER - Actress (who is of Filipino, American Indian,
Spanish and others heritage) starred as Maria Lopez in the NBC Saturday
morning show, "Saved By The Bell: The New Class". She started in commercials
at the age of 10. She co-starred in "A Pig's and guest starred on the
"Sunset Beach" and "Moesha".
TIA CARRIERE - this girl from Wayne's World" is seeking more
PHOEBE CATES - This actress' (whose
mother is a Filipina and father is White) career began as a child
dance prodigy and model. Her film credits include Paradise (1982), Fast
Times at Ridgemont High (1982) and Gremlins (1984). Her TV credits include
a lead role in the TV miniseries Lace (1984). In 1989 she married actor
Kevin Kline and took a four-year break from her career.
CAMILLE CHEN - Camille Chen went from commercials and guest
roles to landing a coveted re-occuring spot on Studio 60 on the Sunset
Strip, where she plays a featured player on the show-within-a-show
and gets to share screentime with such TV veterans as Matthew Perry,
Bradley Whitford, and DL Hughley. Born in Taipei, Taiwan and raised
in Houston, Texas, Chen began perfoming since she was very young,
a love which began with a passion for singing. In college at the University
of Texas at Austin, she enrolled as a Business major but changed to
Theater her sophomore year without telling her mother.
MAGGIE CHEUNG - Cheung has been a fixture of Asian
superstardom for 21 years and has won more acting awards in China
than any other woman. She
has morphed over the years from Audrey Hepburn to Greta Garbo. Read
her interview at HERE
MAGGIE Q - The actress (aka Maggie Quigley) whose father is
American and her mother Vietnamese) starred in the comedy "Rush Hour
2" and Jackie Chan's "Around the World in 80 Days."
CHINA CHOW - She spent several years as a model, posing for
Shiseido cosmetics in Japan, was seen on billboards for Tommy Hilfiger
and Calvin Klein, was named one of Harper's Bazaar's "It Girls" in 1996,
and was named in the December 1996 edition of Vogue magazine's "The
Next Best-Dressed List." "The Big Hit" was the last major picture from
the daughter of Michale and Tina Chow with the ethnic heritage of being
DEBORAH CRAIG - Korean (adopted) actress seen in the music
video "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" w/ Prince
AYESHA DHARKER - she is Queen Jamillia of Naboo in Star Wars:
Episode II Attack of the Clones
LEXA DOIG - Actress (whose mom is a Filipina and her father
is of Scottish ancestry) plays the title role in Gene Roddenberry's
Andromeda in 2004. One of her movie roles include Jason X.
SANDRA HOLT - This model-turned actress (whose father is Chinese
and mother is French) has appeared in films such as Once a Thief: Family
Business (1998), Once a Thief: Brother Against Brother (1998), Once
a Thief (1996), Pocahontas: The Legend (1995), Rapa Nui (1994), Legends
of the North (1994), and Black Robe.
DIANA LEE INOSANTO - Actress and Martial Artist (Bruce Lee
is her uncle and Dan Inosanto is her father)
JAK&RAE - Stacia Diamond and Joe Pham have quickly built a
hot-selling women's line in 560 boutiques
KIM - featured cast member
"Lost" - a continuing success
with an usually beginning. The first Korean to appear on the cover
of TV Guide, one of the U.S.'s most highly-circulated magazines, in
the late August edition, she is also featured on the cover of the
September-October edition of Golf for Women (U.S.) and the October
edition of the English men¡¯s monthly Arena. There, she
not only appears on the cover but is also featured in a sexy six-page
spread on the inside. Click HERE
to read more about her career.
YOUKI KUDOH - Award-winning actress has appeared in Memoirs
of a Geisha, The Wind Carpet, Blood: The Last Vampire, Snow Falling
on Cedars (w/Rick Yune), Heaven's Burning (w/Russell Crowe) and Picture
LUCY LIU - Star first came to fame in the tv show "Ally McBeal."
Helm in 2004. They broke up in 2005. She
is also the first (and only) Asian-American woman to host Saturday
Night Live. Liu
has said about her background, "when you grow up Asian-American it's
difficult because you don't know if you're
Asian or you're American. You get confused" and that "You need
to recognize where your background is from. I think it's important.
Just for yourself. It makes you more whole. It does."
TRUDIE LONG (AKA KIMIYE TSUNEMITSU - She was the only girl
of five children born in Portland, Oregon to Issei Japanese parents.
Her father immigrated to the United States in 1900 and her mother
was a picture bride who followed 15 years later. After Pearl Harbor
was bombed during WWII, while one son was fighting Germans in the
European Theater, the Tsunemitsu family was relocated to the Minadoka
Internment Camp in Idaho. After a year, Kimiye, with the help of a
sponsor, was released from the camp and made her way to NYC. After
working as a clerk at the American Bible Society, she got a job as
a dancer at The China Doll Nightclub and changed her name to Trudie.
It was here that she met Larry Long and embarked on a career as part
of the night club act "Larry and Trudie Leung." Once their daughter
started school, she retired from show biz and went back to work as
an administrator at the American Bible Society.
MING NA - Beautiful actress from the films Mulan, Joy Luck
Club, ER and others.
ANISHA NAGARAJAN - she made her Broadway debut as leading actress
(Priya) in Bombay Dreams. Stage credits include: Anything Goes (Reno
Sweeney), Fiddler on the Roof (Fruma Sarah), and To Kill a Mockingbird
(Jean Louise Finch).
MINAE NOJI - Her TV credits include a recurring role on the
CBS daytime series The Bold and the Beautiful, General Hospital, etc.
In film, she played the sexy singer, "Miss Bangkok," in Be Cool (MGM),
the sequel to Get Shorty, starring John Travolta and Uma Thurman and
in Memoirs of a Geisha.
FRANCIS NUYUN - seen in "South Pacific" and a famous episode
in the show "Star Trek."
MERLE OBERON - famous Anglo-Indian actress who was born
in February 19, 1911 and starred in films such as Wuthering Heights,
Dark Angel, Men of Tomorrow and The Private Lives of Henry VIII -
among many others
BRENDA SONG - Disney star's TV/Film credits include Wendy Wu:
Homecoming Warrior, That's So Raven, George Lopez, The Bernie Mac Show,
7th Heaven, Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Judging Amy, Leave It To Beaver
and Santa With Muscles with Hulk Hogan.
SHANNYN SOSSAMON - Actress (whose mother is Filipino-Hawaiian
and father is of Anglo-German descent) appeared in the part of Lady
Jocelyn; the love interest in 2001's quasi-medieval hit, A Knight's
Tale - along with roles in movies like 40 Days and 40 Nights and The
Rules of Attraction.
PAT SUZUKI - In 1948, Pat (a non-conformist Nisei) took off
for Mills College near San Francisco and worked as a typist, did odd
jobs at school, was a receptionist in a Chinese restaurant. She bounced
on to Modesto Junior College, then to San Francisco City College and
to San José State. She studied voice, biology, philosophy, art, art
history, woodworking. During her two years at San José State she sang
in a small nightclub on weekends, and she began to develop a style.
At Seattle's Colony, an offbeat supper club, she found great success.
R&H did not quite write Flower Drum Song for Pat, but at times it seemed
close to becoming her show. As Linda Low—hymning "Grant Avenue, San
Francisco" with all the fire-cracking verve of Chinatown itself—Pat
worked with so much authority that by the time the show opened in Boston,
she was practically in command.
YUKA TAKARA - upcoming actress received rave reviews when she
starred in the touring production of the David Henry Hwang's "Flower
JENNIFER TILLY - Actress seen on TV in Boone (1983) and Hill
Street Blues. She's been in movies such as No Small Affair, Fabulous
Baker Boys, Made in America The Getaway and Woody Allen's Bullets Over
MEG TILLY - Tilly was born Margaret
Chan in Long Beach, California in 1960, the third of four children
Chan, a Chinese-American businessman and Patricia Tilly, an Irish-Canadian
schoolteacher. Following her parents divorce when she was three, she
was raised by her mother and stepfather in her mother's native British
Columbia, Canada. Tilly attended Esquimalt High School in Victoria,
British Columbia. She
has two sisters: Rebecca, and actress Jennifer Tilly (born 1958).
has been seen in movies such as The Big Chill, Psycho II, Agnes in
God, Leaving Normal, Body
Snatchers and others.
TAMLYN TOMITA - Seen in Joy Luck Club, Karate Kid 2, hundred
percent and others
NOEL TOY - Known as Noel Toy (born Ngun Yee), this outspoken
and rebellious person was the nation’s first Chinese American
fan dancer and one of the most famous women to practice the art in
places such as Charlie Low's "Forbidden City Night Club."
She (hailed as the "Chinese Sally Rand") dazzled audiences
and raised eyebrows in the 1940’s with her seductive nude fan
dances in sell-out performances across the county appearing on stage
wearing nothing more than ostrich plumes that broke the stereotypes
of the prim, reticent
and submissive Asian female stereotype. She appeared in various
American pictures till 1954.
MIYOSHI UMEKI - As a teenager in her native Japan, Miyoshi Umeki
began her show business career as a singer and dancer on radio programs
and in nightclubs. In the 1950s, she landed a spot on "Arthur Godfrey
and His Friends." In 1957, Umeki was cast as the Japanese woman who
falls in love with an American soldier (Red Buttons) despite the US
government's policy banning interracial marriage in "Sayonara". Despite
winning an Oscar, Umeki was unable to land a suitable follow-up and
instead turned to Broadway where she starred in the 1958 Rodgers and
Hammerstein musical "Flower Drum Song", playing Mei Li, an illegal Chinese
immigrant who arrives in the USA searching for a husband. Although she
acquitted herself in the 1961 film version of "Flower Drum Song", Umeki
still found additional roles scarce. In fact, the actress was to appear
in only three additional movies, "Cry for Happy" (1961), "The Horizontal
Lieutenant" (1962) and "A Girl Named Tamiko" (1963). She played the
wise and dependable housekeeper Mrs. Livingston on the ABC sitcom "The
Courtship of Eddie's Father" (1969-72). After the series ran its course,
she operated a dance studio in North Hollywood for close to 20 years.
Presently, Umeki has retired to Hawaii. In November 2004 - she moved
to a a small town in Missouri to be near her son and family.
from its stars, what also makes this musical number of special
interest is that it was directed by Jorn H. Winther, a five-time
Emmy nominee for ABC TVs All My Children, and director of
the now legendary, original, David Frost--Richard Nixon TV
Interviews, in 1977, and choreographed by Wakefield Poole,
who began his career as a dancer on Broadway, became Assistant
Director/Choreographer to Tony and Emmy Award-winner Joe Layton
[No Strings on Broadway; The Barbara Streisand Specials on
TV] and subsequently went on to revolutionized the adult film
industry when he produced and directed the landmark male-adult
film Boys in the Sand  and its sequels. The song Gotta
Dance! by Hugh Martin is from the 1948 Broadway musical Look
Ma, I'm Dancin! [book by Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee];
I Wont Dance has music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Oscar
Hammerstein II, Jimmy McHugh, Otto Harbach and Dorothy Fields.
WING - She was a well-known actress, singer and (during the
60s) the award-winning face of Guerlains Mitsouko perfume that allowed
her to earned a place in The Breck Girls Hall of Fame for her Breck
Crème Rinse commercials and print ads, photographed by Richard Avedon,
Bert Stern and Mel Sokolsky. She was a favorite guest on the Tonight
Show and Today Show in the 60s while accumulating TV credits such
as Route 66, That Was The Week That Was, Hawaii Five-O, Emergency!,
Love, American Style, Diffrent Strokes, Law & Order, Third Watch,
and films Savage Intruder, Charley Varrick, The Billion Dollar Hobo,
Good Guys Wear Black, I Oughta Be in Pictures, Falling For Grace,
Anamorph starring William Dafoe, and The Guitar directed by Amy Hart
Redford, daughter of Robert Redford . Her theater credits on
Broadway, Off-Broadway and around the US includes Mitch Leigh's Chu
Chem, directed by Albert Marre, costarring Broadway icons Menasha
Skulnick and Mollie Picon, Lady Macbeth in Sleep No More for which
she was nominated for a NAACP Image Award for Best Actress, Lindo
Jong in the Pan Asian Repertory Theatres acclaimed 2007 production
of The Joy Luck Club by Susan Kim, directed by Tisa Chang and she
produced Back Alley Tales for the Los Angeles Inner City Cultural
Center, written and directed by George C. Wolfe.
MICHELLE YEOH - Malaysian-born Michelle Yeoh has teamed up
with Pierce Brosnan in the latest James Bond movie. At first, the
producers thought they were getting just another Bond Girl -- a bimbo
in a bikini. But Yeoh quickly proved to be a mighty match for the
legendary agent 007
FRANCOISE YIP - This Chinese/French-Canadian (father is Chinese
and mother is French-Canadian) was educated in North Vancouver British
Columbia's Windsor Secondary School. Her skills include stunt/wire
work, martial arts, piano, dancing, ice/roller skating and speaks
English, French and basic Cantonese. She was considered to play a
role in The Matrix (2003). Along with numerous Chinese films, she's
played in American programming such as Blood Ties, Men in Trees, Edison,
The Deal (2005), Andromeda (2 episodes, 2001-2005), Alone in the Dark,
Blade: Trinity (2004), A Beachcombers Christmas, The Dead Zone, Smallville,
Jeremiah, Flatland Li (6 episodes, 2002), Mindstorm, Witness to a
Kill, Earth: Final Conflict, Millennium and Futuresport.
NANCY YOON - Currently hosts "Tribal Media," an international
pop culture show covering music, film and politics that affect young
Americans and Asian Americans today.