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Thread: A star for James Hong on Hollywood Walk of Fame

  1. #1
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    A star for James Hong on Hollywood Walk of Fame

    Aug 6, 2020 3:52pm PT
    Daniel Dae Kim Launches Fundraiser to Nominate James Hong for Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
    By Janet W. Lee


    James Hong

    UPDATE: The GoFundMe to raise money to get James Hong a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has reached its goal of more than $55,000 in just three days.

    Daniel Dae Kim won’t rest until Hong has a Hollywood star. The actor launched a GoFundMe page on Wednesday to campaign for Hong’s nomination to the Walk of Fame. The goal is to raise $55,000 to pay for the “creation and installation of the star.”

    Ken Jeong retweeted Kim’s call to action.

    “We all know what an important part of Hollywood lore the Walk of Fame has been over the years,” Kim wrote on the fundraising page. “Tourists from around the world flock to these star-studded blocks stretching across Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. If you’re reading this you probably agree that James deserves to be among them.”

    Hong is one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood history, with 672 credits — 469 TV shows, 149 feature films, 32 short films and 22 video games. He voiced Po’s father, Mr. Ping, in the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise, and starred in several notable films, including “Blade Runner,” “Big Trouble in Little China” and “Chinatown.”

    Kim highlighted the significance of Hong’s career to other actors of color. The “Hawaii Five‑0” alum wrote that his predecessor opened several doors, especially for younger Asian American artists.
    James Hong was very supportive of Tiger Claw for many years. He was the MC at our 10 Year Anniversary. I had the unique opportunity to join him for a Miss Chinatown reception many years ago (before selfies sadly). He's a true industry veteran and has such enthralling tales once you get him talking.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #2
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    James Hong definitely deserves his star on the Walk of Fame. He should have gotten it years ago.

    I saw James Hong once in person, at the 1997 Tat Wong International tournament in SF. The only reason I found out was Tat Wong announced his presence in the audience over the speaker system, and he stood up to applause. Then he sat back down to continue spectating. Apparently, he enjoyed watching CMA competitions. I never went up to meet him, though. I tend not to approach people like that unless we’re being introduced by someone else.

  3. #3
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    I was probably at that tournament too.

    I don't remember that however. I've been to so many tournaments that they get hazy and I've crossed paths with James so many times that it doesn't stick out anymore, although I haven't seen him in years.

    He was an avid CMA fan and practiced some Tai Chi and Qigong but never made a fuss about that, not like he ever proclaimed to be a master or anything. He just enjoyed the practice.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #4
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    672 credits

    Aug 26, 2020 1:07pm PT
    Why a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Isn’t Enough to Honor James Hong
    By Janet W. Lee


    Amanda Edwards/Getty Images
    James Hong is everywhere.

    No, really — at the spry age of 91, he is one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood history, with 672 credits to his name. He’s starred in several notable films, including “Blade Runner” and “Big Trouble in Little China,” and voiced Po’s father, Mr. Ping, in the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise. His TV resume includes a slew of classics such as “Seinfeld,” “Friends” and both versions of “Hawaii Five-0.” He also has an upcoming movie, “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” in which he plays father to Michelle Yeoh’s character.

    “I could just relax and tour the world, but I don’t want to do that,” Hong tells Variety in his third Zoom call ever. “My occupation is an actor, producer and I’m a little too old to be a director, but that’s tempting.”

    The longtime actor is in the spotlight after Daniel Dae Kim launched a GoFundMe campaign on Aug. 5 to get Hong a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Nomination for the Class of 2022 honorees isn’t until spring, but Kim told Hong he wanted to start fundraising in advance, to allow ample time to secure the $50,000 price tag required to apply for a star. Kim and fellow actors Randall Park, Ming-Na Wen and Ken Jeong even promised a virtual conversation with anyone who donates $5,000 or more.

    Hong was unaware of the campaign until Kim emailed him, days before it launched. And before Hong could reach out to his relatives for donations, the grassroots fundraiser ended, in three days, collecting more than $55,000 from 1,700 donors.

    “When Daniel told me, ‘James, don’t do anything, it’s over,’ I thought he could be fibbing. Can you imagine someone just giving $55,000 or even donating $10, $50, $100 in a pandemic to boost my star on the Walk of Fame? Can’t even imagine that,” says Hong.

    “I worked hard — comedy, drama, in all fields — and there isn’t a role I can think of that I didn’t work hard on,” he continues, playing coy about his popularity online. “I can’t say how gratifying it is to have this support, because I haven’t received an Academy Award or anything, and people support me as if they know me — like I’m the guy next door.”

    But Hong’s rise to stardom did not come easily — it took him nearly 70 years.

    The first-generation Chinese American actor grew up in Minneapolis, where he perfected his impressions in front of the mirror. Hiding his acting aspirations from his parents, he studied civil engineering at the University of Minnesota, until he was drafted to serve in the Korean War. When he returned in 1953, Hong moved to Hollywood with a friend, under the guise of finishing his degree at the University of Southern California.

    While he couldn’t escape the stereotypical roles assigned to AAPI actors at the time, namely “villains, immigrants being rescued by the white guys or gimmicky, ch–ky roles with heavy accents,” Hong didn’t let the industry’s narrow lens limit his talent. “I took those roles because they were the only ones available. But I did the best as an actor to overcome the clichéness, tried to show what makes the person really that person.”

    The following year, he had a breakthrough performance on Groucho Marx’s quiz show, “You Bet Your Life,” with his Marx impression. Then after starring in small roles in films with John Wayne and Clark Gable, both of whom Hong looked up to at the time, he began asking himself, “When will James Hong get to play main roles?”

    Hong didn’t settle with Hollywood’s response, but set out to carve his own path. Joined by Japanese-American actor Mako Iwamatsu, in 1965, he founded East West Players — the Asian-American theater company in Los Angeles — to advocate for AAPI actors and to produce “not just Asian stories, but stories that speak to the community.” The company has since then nurtured other Asian-American actors, including George Takei and John Cho, paving the way for today’s Hollywood landscape.

    “I’m obviously very happy, very proud of the progress Asian Americans have made during my lifetime, but there’s still a far way to go,” he says. “It took me too long to go from nothing to where I am now, because there was no one, no producer, director to help me. But now, we must keep advancing to the highest level and share our talent with the world — because now, you can find help if you have talent.”

    Hong has one advice for AAPI actors making their mark in the industry. “I say follow Daniel Dae Kim’s example,” he says with a laugh, then adds he’s very serious. “To advance from being a great actor, to being a producer with 12 projects in line, like ‘Good Doctor’ — that’s amazing. I’m so proud of Daniel Dae Kim. In fact, I think I’ll campaign to get him a star.”
    James actually modeled for an old Tiger Claw pamphlet. I wonder if there are any of those still floating around.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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