Results 1 to 12 of 12

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

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,597

    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
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    CA, USA
    Posts
    4,889
    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
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,597

    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
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,597

    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,597

    Minnesota's

    From 'Chinatown' to 'Kung Fu Panda': Minnesota's James Hong looks back at his prolific career
    James Hong, Minnesota's most prolific actor of all time, looks back on his storied career.
    By Neal Justin Star Tribune NOVEMBER 13, 2020 — 10:36AM


    James Hong in his Warner Bros. trailer: “Even if I was playing a part that simply said ‘Chinaman’ or ‘Villain,’ I would put my heart and soul into that being.” Provided

    James Hong may be the most accomplished actor to ever call Minnesota home. But chances are you don’t know his name.

    Some of today’s most popular Asian American actors are working to change that, launching a campaign to get the 91-year-old veteran a star next year on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

    “James Hong just might be the most prolific actor in Hollywood history,” said “Lost” star Daniel Dae Kim when he started a crowdfunding effort to raise money for the long overdue recognition. “This man epitomizes the term ‘working actor,’ and that’s not even taking into account all he’s done to help further representation for actors of color.”

    Hong, whose body of work includes over 600 film and TV credits, couldn’t be more pleased.

    “When Daniel told me how many people have contributed, it was hard to believe,” said Hong by phone from California this fall. “Because of the coronavirus, money is hard to come by, so I’m very thankful.”

    Hong, who was born in Minneapolis in 1929 and attended Central High School, got the performance bug while doing comedy sketches as a child at Westminster Presbyterian Church and practicing impressions of stars like James Cagney in his bathroom mirror. His mimicry skills got him booked on WCCO Radio’s “Stairway to Stardom,” hosted by Cedric Adams, and Groucho Marx’s “You Bet Your Life.”


    ELLIOTT MARKS • PARAMOUNT
    Mike Myers spars with James Hong in 1994’s “Wayne’s World 2.”

    “Groucho wasn’t interested in people who impersonated him, but he got interested when one of his writers told him that it was a Chinese boy,” Hong said. “The audience roared when I used my pen as a cigar. Then Groucho gave me a spare one. I wish I had kept that cigar.”

    That 1954 appearance led to two decades of steady work on television, including the role of “Number One Son” on “The New Adventures of Charlie Chan.”

    But despite almost immediate success in Hollywood, Hong found it difficult to land juicy parts.

    “There were no opportunities for Asian Americans to portray non-cliché roles,” he said. “All the leading roles were given to white actors who pasted their eyes up and heightened these accents. Even on ‘Charlie Chan,’ J. Carrol Naish was playing Chan. He’s obviously not Asian. The eyepieces were hurting his eyes.”

    But Hong never considered hanging it up.

    “What could you do? Stop working?” he said. “You had to take the roles that were given to you and do the best you can. So even if I was playing a part that simply said ‘Chinaman’ or ‘Villain,’ I would put my heart and soul into that being.”

    The landscape improved slightly in the mid-1970s, when Hong graduated to feature films. But he still had to fight.

    “When I got to Hollywood, too many minority actors were happy with what they were getting from white producers. They had become too complacent,” he said. “I wasn’t happy with that. I’m from Minnesota. I wasn’t treated like that. I considered myself a principle person in this walk of life and I brought that attitude to Hollywood.”

    We won’t know until next June whether Hong will be among the next class to join the Walk of Fame. In the meantime, we can celebrate some of his most iconic work:

    ‘Chinatown’ (1974)


    Evelyn Mulwray’s fiercely loyal butler doesn’t appear in too many scenes, but he plays a major part in the tragic ending. Many consider Roman Polanski’s detective tale to be among the greatest films of all time. Hong would also star in the 1990 sequel, “The Two Jakes.”

    “I didn’t even have a name in the script. I was just there to take care of my boss. Just before we shot, Faye Dunaway asked, ‘What should I call him?’ I came up with Kahn, one of my Chinese names. Faye treated me like a human being and I felt that. I became that character. I wanted to protect her. I think people saw that.”

    ‘Blade Runner’ (1982)

    In this sci-fi classic, Hong played Hannibal Chew, a genetics engineer who designs replicants’ eyes. He would reprise the role for a 1997 “Blade Runner” video game, and would go on to contribute voices to such console classics as “Call of Duty: Black Ops” and “World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria.”

    “It’s hard to predict what’s going to be a classic. But the minute I stepped on that set, I said, ‘Wow, this is something new.’ It wasn’t digital. Ridley Scott built that set. You just get a feeling in your toes that this could be an iconic movie.”

    ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ (1986)


    Hong in ‘Big Trouble in Little China’
    Hong got to show off his comedy chops as David Lo Pan, a sorcerer who must marry a green-eyed Earthling to break an evil curse. Kurt Russell’s truck-loving maverick stands in his way. John Carpenter’s film initially tanked, but its nonstop action and offbeat sense of humor has since made it a cult classic.

    “Even when a script is very cliché, you try to find a real person in there. That’s why Lo Pan became an iconic character. He had heart and soul. All he wanted was a girlfriend. I put that aspect into the role.”

    ‘Seinfeld’ (1991)

    The Season 2 episode “The Chinese Restaurant” is considered the sitcom’s first genuine classic. Hong plays the unflappable head waiter who keeps promising the gang a table. It’s a masterful deadpan performance.

    “You might call that a cliché role — the maître d’ — but I think the audience saw that I brought my craftsmanship. Whatever so-called type of comedy ‘Seinfeld’ had, I blended into that. It didn’t really make sense, but for some reason it really worked.”

    ‘Kung Fu Panda’ (2008)

    It’s the franchise that keeps on giving. This animated film has spawned two sequels and a pair of TV series, as well as numerous video games and shorts. Hong’s character, the panda’s father, Mr. Ping, has appeared in almost all of them.

    “That role finally got me an Emmy nomination. I just love that character. He made love for the panda real. That’s hard to do in animation. A lot of people who have adopted children or were adopted themselves tell me they really identify with that character.”


    @nealjustin

    Neal Justin covers the entertainment world, primarily TV and radio. He also reviews stand-up comedy. Justin is the founder of JCamp, a non-profit program for high-school journalists, and works on many fronts to further diversity in newsrooms.
    Never did find one of those old Tiger Claw pamphlets but since our office was closed, I have no idea where anything is anymore.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,597

    Asian Hall of Fame

    No pic with this article, just a vid.

    James Hong arrives at the world premiere of "Kung Fu Panda 3" at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
    ENTERTAINMENT
    Legendary Actor James Hong to Be Inducted Into Asian Hall of Fame
    BY TARA LYNN WAGNER LOS ANGELES
    PUBLISHED 3:34 PM ET NOV. 20, 2020
    LOS ANGELES — You know his face from…everything. Chinatown. Bladerunner. Big Trouble in Little China. Even Seinfeld. After more than 600 credits – the most of any actor in history – James Hong seems most comfortable when he’s slipping into a character.

    “Would you like to hear a few impersonations,” he asked, before launching into some of his favorite from back in the day.

    What You Need To Know
    James Hong has more credits than any other actor in history

    The 91-year-old has appeared in hundreds of TV shows and movies

    His credits include Blade Runner, Big Trouble in Little China, Chinatown, and Seinfeld

    A campaign is underway to get him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
    “You dirty, dirty rat,” he says as James Cagney, before switching to Jimmy Stewart, Peter Lorre, even Elmer Fudd. He once did an impersonation of Groucho Marx on The Groucho Marx Show – and was a hit.

    “The emcee told me I got the second biggest fan mail ever on Groucho Marx Show,” he said.

    Clearly Hong is a born entertainer, with a resume that’s more than six decades long, although he wasn’t always satisfied with the parts he was getting. After a few years of working in film and television, he met with fellow actor Mako Iwamatsu and the two started talking about their careers.

    “We were saying, well, ‘what we can we do, you know?’” he recalled. “We’re not getting any roles that are non-cliché and we’re not being accepted. We were only getting the so-called gimmick roles.”

    They decided to break from those stereotypical offerings and do a play. In 1965, they founded East West Players, which today is considered the nation’s premiere Asian American theater company.

    “Definitely I did not think it would last this long,” Hong said, pointing out over the past 55 years, hundreds if not thousands of students have studied acting with EWP and countless audience members have seen shows there.

    Hong has made a name for himself as a prolific character actor. His roles aren’t always big but they are always memorable and he pours himself into each one, like Hannibal Chew, the eye designer in Bladerunner.

    “I just treated those eyeballs as if they were my children,” he remembered, examining his gloved fingers as if returning to the role. “I made my life as that eyeball maker and I said to myself, if I spent my whole life making eyeballs then they are my children.”

    It’s performances like that that lead to this weekend. On Saturday Hong is being inducted into the Asian Hall of Fame, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.

    “Actually I don’t know exactly what I’ve done to deserve it but I’ve arrived,” he smiled.

    The organization is using the 2020 season to “increase Asian representation and inter-racial narratives” at a time when a UN report finds hate crimes against Asian Americans has reached “an alarming level.”

    Hong is no stranger to racism. When he was born in Minneapolis in 1929, the Chinese Exclusion Act was still in place. He recalls looking to buy a home shortly after moving in Los Angeles. It was 1954 in a neighborhood not far from where he lives now.

    He and his father were walking up to inquire about the house when suddenly, he says, the next door neighbor emerged. “And shouted, ‘hey, hey, we don’t want Chinese in this neighborhood!” he remembered. He and his father got in their car and left, but, he adds, “if they said that to me now, wow would they get an earful.”

    Lately, he sees prejudice seeping back in, especially during the pandemic, and feels the Asian community needs to address it.

    “I think it’s very important that we become a people that will speak up and also be seen, because you need that relationship with one another in order to understand each other,” Hong explained. “It’s like me to you. How can I understand you or you understand me unless I talk to you, right? Unless we discuss things.”

    Over the course of his career, he doesn’t think the types of roles he’s been offered have changed that much. “When I first started it was almost all 99% cliché roles,” he said. “Inserted only because they wanted an Asian.” Over the past 10 years he thinks the needle has moved slight. Maybe 10% of the jobs he gets now are what he considers “non-gimmick roles.”

    But that’s just his own experience, he stresses. He does see progress. He points to other Asian actors, like Daniel Dae Kim, who he says are breaking the mold.

    “He’s probably the symbol of what can happen,” Hong explained.

    In August, Kim launched a gofundme campaign to get James Hong a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

    “This man epitomizes the term ‘working actor,’” Kim wrote of the 91-year-old, “and that's not even taking into account all he's done to help further representation for actors of color.”

    Hong hopes he’ll eventually see his name on that sidewalk, but regardless, he continues working and has no intention of stopping anytime soon.

    “I shall never retire,” he scoffed. “I shall die with my boots on and with my SAG card in my pocket.”

    The 16th-Annual Asian Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will stream live on YouTube on November, 21, at 6:00PM PST. Other inductees include Congressmember Judy Chu, Masaharu Morimoto, Noel Lee, Cheryl Burke, Masi Oka, and Wally Yonamine.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,597

    It's happening

    James Hong Is Finally Getting His Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
    James Hong will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame following a successful fan campaign for it to happen led by Daniel Dae Kim.

    JEREMY DICK — June 18, 2021

    James Hong will finally be getting his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. With a career dating back to the 1950s with over 600 movie and TV credits to his name, Hong can be recognized from any number of places by his fans, from Airplane! And Big Trouble in Little China to Wayne's World 2 and the Kung Fu Panda movies. James Hong is certainly more than deserving, and this week, the 92-year-old actor was listed among a group of fellow Hollywood legends as one of the newest recipients to be given his own star.

    This is fantastic news, as it follows a campaign of Hong supporters for the actor to be honored on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Last year, Hawaii Five-0 star Daniel Dae Kim launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for Hong's Walk of Fame Star installation. The campaign successfully surpassed its goal of $55,000, which must have certainly helped the Walk of Fame selection panel make their decision.

    "This man epitomizes the term 'working actor,' and that's not even taking into account all he's done to help further representation for actors of color," the GoFundMe page description read. "Let's show this man the respect and love his career has merited by getting him a Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame! We all know what an important part of Hollywood lore the Walk of Fame has been over the years. 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 in some very good company. The Walk of Fame Class of 2022 also includes fellow Hollywood stars Carrie Fisher, Michael B. Jordan, Francis Ford Coppola, Macaulay Culkin, Willem Dafoe, Salma Hayek, Helen Hunt, Regina King, Ray Liotta, Ewan McGregor, Adam McKay, Jason Momoa, and Tessa Thompson. TV honorees include Byron Allen, Greg Berlanti, Ricky Gervais, Peter Krause, Bob Odenkirk, Holly Robinson Peete, Norman Reedus, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jean Smart, Ming-Na Wen, and Kenan Thompson.

    Representing the music side of the new honorees include DJ Khaled, Nipsey Hussle, George Clinton, Jr., Ashanti Douglas, Avril Lavigne, Los Huracanes del Norte, and Martha Reeves. Richard Blade will get his own star as the only honoree in the radio category, while Michael Strahan will be the first name added for the new category of sports entertainment. Among the live performance honorees are Patti LuPone, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr., and Angelica Vale.

    "The Panel did an amazing job choosing these very talented people," said Ellen K, chair of the Walk of Fame selection panel, per Variety. "We can't wait to see each honoree's reaction as they realize that they are becoming a part of Hollywood's history with the unveiling of their star on the world's most famous walkway!"

    Huge congrats go out to Hong and everyone else getting the honors on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for the Class of 2022. For more from Hong, he recently provided the voice of O-Sensei in the animated DC movie Batman: Soul of the Dragon and will appear in the upcoming sci-fi movie Everything Everywhere All at Once with Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis. The new list of honorees comes to us from Variety.
    Congrats to the Man of a Thousand Faces!
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,597

    I've interacted with James Hong so many times, but regret we never took a selfie...

    LIVING LEGENDS
    James Hong Really Is Everything, Everywhere, All at Once
    The 93-year-old vet has more than 450 credits under his belt—and, as of this week, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
    BY DONALD LIEBENSON

    MAY 9, 2022

    AMANDA EDWARDS/GETTY IMAGES.

    There’s an old Hollywood joke that encapsulates the supposed five stages of an actor’s career: Who is X? Get me X. Get me an X-type. Get me a young X. And finally, coming full circle: Who is X?

    But after seven decades and more than 450 film and television credits, directors are still saying, “Get me James Hong.” Hong is the quintessential character actor; his name may be unfamiliar, but you’re likely to respond, “Oh, that guy!” if someone tells you he was the maître d’ in the classic Seinfeld episode “The Chinese Restaurant.” Evelyn Mulwray’s butler in Chinatown, or the unfortunate airline passenger seated next to oversharing, stuck-in-the-past Ted Striker in Airplane!

    His most recent film, Everything Everywhere All at Once, is the year’s sleeper hit, a bonkers metaverse fantasia in which Hong portrays several variations on the same character, Michelle Yeoh’s disapproving dad. Even he can’t quite get a handle on the film. “I didn’t know whether I wanted to do it or not because the script is so crazy,” he says. “It’s like if you had a nightmare and you woke up and tried to write it down and make a movie out of it. I hope they do a sequel.”

    On May 10, 93-year-old Hong will become the oldest actor yet to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—an honor with deep resonance for a once fledgling performer who came to Hollywood roughly seven decades ago, at a time when roles for Asian American actors were mostly limited to stereotypical characters. But he persevered to carve out his own cinematic universe.

    The breadth and depth of his acting credits is staggering. Hong has been a voice artist for Disney (Mulan), Pixar (Turning Red) and DreamWorks Animation (the Kung Fu Panda series). His TV credits range from Hawaiian Eye to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He has shared the screen with Clark Gable, Lauren Bacall, and Jack Nicholson, and been directed by John Ford and Roman Polanski, to name just a few.

    He has also served as a role model and inspiration for other actors. In 1965, he cofounded the East West Players to give opportunities and representation to other Asian American actors. It was this, in part, that inspired actor Daniel Dae Kim to launch the campaign to get Hong a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

    “I started the campaign simply because many of us in the Asian American community have known about James’s work for decades,” Kim said in an email to Vanity Fair. “I’d learned that he’d actually been rejected for a star in the past, so I thought a more grassroots campaign might help the decision-makers see how worthy he truly is. I posted the idea on social media and started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for the cost of the star. It ended up being fully funded in a matter of days, which to me was an affirmation that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way about his body of work. It was heartwarming to know how much love there was for him, and what was notable was that the support wasn’t just from the Asian American community. It spanned every demographic…. In fact, I hope that James’s recognition improves the prospects for actors from all underrepresented groups whose work may have been traditionally overlooked.”

    In anticipation of his Walk of Fame ceremony, Hong spoke with Vanity Fair about how an engineering major decided to pursue acting—and, in the process, built one of Hollywood’s most enduring and admired careers.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,597

    continued from previous

    .
    Hong in Everything Everywhere All at Once. COURTESY OF A24.

    Vanity Fair: What does this honor mean to you?

    James Hong: The star is going to be in front of Madame Tussauds Hollywood, next to the TCL Chinese Theatre [formerly Grauman’s Chinese Theatre]. I’m happy with the location. When I first came to Hollywood, I used to go to that theater and put my feet in those celebrity footprints in the cement. I thought, “Maybe someday I’ll have something here.” It’s a great honor. That it was funded by my fans means a great deal to me.

    I speak for your fans when I say that you are one of those character actors who make whatever you’re in better, just because you’re there.

    I look at every role as something special. Something happens when that camera turns on. Three days ago, I did a relatively low-budget film called Give Me My Money. The director was giving me instructions on how to do a scene. After the take, he said, “My goodness, when that camera turns on, you really give it all you’ve got.”

    You studied civil engineering at the University of Minnesota. What was your career plan?

    My parents obviously wanted me to be something other than an actor. I said, “I’ll be an engineer,” because I like to build things. I went into the Army for the Korean War. After two years of that, I didn’t know what to do. I came out to San Francisco to see if there was an opportunity to do comedy with my comedy partner, Don Parker (a Minneapolis Central High classmate). Then we headed down to Hollywood. I did impressions and a writer took an interest in me. He went to Groucho Marx and told him there was a Chinese comedian who impersonated him. He said, “Bring him on.” So I went on You Bet Your Life. I got the second biggest fan mail ever on this program. So then I thought, Maybe I’d better stay here instead of finishing college at the University of Minnesota. I transferred all my credits to USC and finished my engineering degree as a safety catch in case I failed.

    You Bet Your Life was your first big break and got you an agent, Bessie Loo, who worked with Asian American actors. What was your attitude toward taking stereotypical roles?

    In those days, it was almost all cliché roles. We were villains, busboys, waiters, and shoeshine boys. If you didn’t want to act in a yellowface role, you didn’t get any work at all. I averaged about 10 roles a year, but I put the best I could in each role, so even a clichéd role became human beings. Once in a while there was a colead, but the leading roles were all played by white guys with eye-piece disguises. I was in The New Adventures of Charlie Chan, but Charlie Chan was played by J. Carrol Naish. That was a horrible experience. He was not a nice person. He cursed me and told the producers to fire me [after Hong missed a cue].

    I’d like to ask about a few roles for which you may be most recognized, like the maitre d’ on the classic Seinfeld episode “The Chinese Restaurant.” Do people yell Seinfeld to you when you are out in public?

    Even my dentist. It was a skeleton script in a way; you didn’t know where the punch lines were. For instance, Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) says, “We would really like a table” and throws $5 on my table as a tip. I didn’t know what to do. Why wouldn’t this maître d’ take that tip? So I instinctively turned the page on the reservation book to cover the $5. That was just out of the blue. The situation grew because of what I know to do as a comedian. Whether it’s Seinfeld, Big Trouble in Little China, or even Blade Runner, you have to know what style they’ve created. You have to investigate all those facets.

    Japanese General, Airplane!

    There’s another example of how to do a cliché role and make it your own. I’m sure you’ve had the experience of sitting next to somebody who just keeps jabbering away and you wish you could just shout, “Why don’t you shut up?” The more he talks, the more you want to kill yourself. That’s what happens to my poor character. [As an actor,] you have to make sense out of nonsense.

    Wealthy Passenger, “The Great Race,” Taxi. I love the look you exchange with Judd Hirsch when you realize he could have cheated you, but instead returned the money that you overtipped him.

    I was playing a happy-go-lucky tourist; I’m in America and enjoying it all. My character pulls out a huge wad of money and says to take it, and then it dawns on him, wait a minute, this guy is refusing money. I’ve never seen that before. In Hong Kong they would take that money, for sure. My character is flabbergasted that there is a man in this world who would refuse a tip. In France I went to the opera, and the usher showed me to my seat and I thanked him and he put his hand out for a tip. I was shocked; whoever heard of an usher asking for a tip? So, I didn’t tip him. He was very perturbed.

    Evelyn’s Butler, Chinatown.

    I will never, ever forget that and The Two Jakes that Jack Nicholson directed. I learned so much from watching Jack Nicholson and [director] Roman Polanski together. How could you not? I admire his acting all the way back to Easy Rider. To act opposite him was a great thrill and honor.

    David Lo Pan, Big Trouble in Little China.

    This is the one that has the most avid fans. Again, it’s the same thing. How do you bring humanity to a supervillain? That’s what I put in Lo Pan: He wants a wife.

    Finally, what advice do you give to actors?

    The only advice I have is this: I came from Minnesota as a total stranger wanting to put my footprint on the sidewalk, and I finally did it after 70 years of hard, hard work. If you believe in yourself and your talent, go for it.
    threads
    A-star-for-James-Hong-on-Hollywood-Walk-of-Fame
    Everything-Everywhere-All-At-Once
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,597

    Today

    ACTOR JAMES HONG TO BE HONORED WITH STAR ON THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME
    A Traditional Chinese Lion Dance Will Be A Part Of The Festivities



    WHO:  Honoree: James Hong

    Emcee: Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Chair Lupita Sanchez Cornejo

    Guest speakers: Jamie Lee Curtis and Daniel Dae Kim

    WHAT:  Dedication of the 2,723rd Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the Category of Motion Pictures

    WHERE: 6931 Hollywood Boulevard in front of Madame Tussauds

    WHEN: Tuesday, May 10, at 11:30 A.M. PST  

    The event will be live-streamed exclusively on www.walkoffame.com

    The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce will honor actor James Hong with the 2,723rd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Tuesday, May 10, at 11:30 a.m. PT. The star will be dedicated in the category of Motion Pictures at 6931 Hollywood Boulevard.

    “What an honor to be able to celebrate such a prolific actor – James Hong is known for his historical contributions to the field of entertainment, his acting abilities and his perseverance. And at 93, he continues to prove that if you love something, you keep going. He is an inspiration for us all!” stated Ana Martinez, Producer of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

    The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which administers the popular star ceremonies, encourages, fans around the world to watch the event exclusively on www.walkoffame.com.

    Joining emcee Lupita Sanchez Cornejo for the star unveiling will be actors Jamie Lee Curtis and Daniel Dae Kim, who sponsored Hong’s star. The SHAOLIN Entertainment Group will be performing a traditional Chinese Lion Dance to bless the occasion.

    In 1953, Hong left Minnesota, where he was born and studied engineering, to drive cross country on Route 66. He began his career during an era in Hollywood, where white actors would routinely play Asian characters. Realizing that Hollywood wouldn't be able to provide the roles Asian Americans deserved, Hong set out to carve his own space. Along with actor Mako Iwamatsu, Hong helped organize an Asian American acting group in Los Angeles, which became the legendary East West Players. East West Players has nurtured great talent over its 57 years. At one point, approximately 70% of Asian American actors in Hollywood had a connection to East West Players.

    Hong is one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood history, having amassed a total of 700 credits, which include 469 TV shows, 149 feature films, 32 short films, and 22 video games, from iconic films like "Blade Runner” and “Chinatown” to animated features like "Kung Fu Panda,” “Mulan” and classic television shows like "Seinfeld." His latest credits are “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” “Turning Red” and soon to be released “Gremlins,” “Wendell and Wild” and his own feature “Patsy Lee and the Five Kingdoms.” Hong is the oldest honoree to receive a star on the Walk of Fame and the only living actor to have worked with Clark Gable and Groucho Marx.

    In addition to acting, Hong is involved with many philanthropic groups including the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics, The Variety Charity Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project, Chinese Chamber of Commerce Golden Dragon Parade, and much more.
    Congrats! Well Deserved!
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,597

    Gimme My Money

    ‘Gimme My Money’ Female-Led Kung-Fu Comedy Getting Cannes Market Launch by OMG (EXCLUSIVE)

    By Patrick Frater

    Organic Media Group

    Taiwan- and Los Angeles-based Organic Media Group will launch rights sales in Cannes for “Gimme My Money,” a female-led, kung-fu action comedy.

    The film, which completed principal photography last week in Los Angeles, stars Marci Miller, Raymond J. Barry and veteran Chinese-American actor, James Hong. Hong will receive his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Tuesday.

    Written and directed by Bill Vigil, “Gimme My Money” is about a tough, mysterious woman who calls on the mob to collect and makes sure that this time, crime is going to pay.

    Production is by OMG and GPS and Silver Streak Entertainment, with Jane Austin’s Hollywood Stuntworks providing the action crew. Austin (“Star Trek: Insurrection,” “Avatar: The Way of Water”) takes producer and stunt coordinator credits alongside producer Shari Hamrick. She led the on-set production and will now oversee post-production to ensure delivery by the third quarter of 2022.

    Other credits go to Jesse Aragon as cinematographer, Jason Stewart as film editor, Morgan Jordan as costume designer, Kelly de la Cerda and Breeanne Marie in make-up.

    The picture is the third to pair OMG with film funding partner GPS’s executive
    Mick S. Grewal, Sr.

    Attending Cannes, sales agent Jay Joyce from Level 33 Entertainment, will be selling OMG’s TV titles mentioned above. OMG principal, Steve Chicorel, will lead foreign and domestic sales for “Gimme My Money.”

    “When Steve and I asked buyers what works best in their market, the answer was smart, fun, wall-to-wall action movies and that’s what we have in ‘Gimme My Money’,” said Grewal.

    “Combining comedy and action in this smart script that Bill Vigil created is going to result in an action-packed crowd-pleaser,” said Austin.
    Threads
    A-star-for-James-Hong-on-Hollywood-Walk-of-Fame
    Gimme My Money
    Cannes
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    45,597

    The Star

    May 10, 2022 9:15am PT
    Why It Took Six Decades for James Hong to Get a Star on the Walk of Fame

    By Jenelle Riley

    Courtesy Image

    When the petition to get James Hong a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame began, the response was immediate and overwhelming. Recognizing the groundbreaking body of work from the 93-year-old actor, who has more than 650 credits to his name, actor-producer Daniel Dae Kim started a crowdfunding campaign in 2020 to raise the $55,000 necessary for the star. The goal was met within four days.

    The only person who didn’t respond right away was Hong himself. “In actuality, I didn’t hear a thing,” Hong says with a laugh. “Somehow the internet wasn’t quite working or I didn’t get the email. The next thing I hear, they had the money already.”

    Hong, who will receive his star in a ceremony on May 10, is still somewhat overwhelmed by the honor. “I want to thank all the fans and friends who donated their money. It boggles my mind to think that there’s enough people out there who would do that,” he says. “And I don’t know who they are, so I’ll just have to thank them through your article.”



    It’s hard to imagine anyone who has consumed entertainment in the past seven decades who isn’t a fan of the actor. People still call out “Seinfeld, four!” when they see him, referencing an infamous “Seinfeld” episode in which Hong plays the maître d’hôtel of a Chinese restaurant who continues to tell the gang their table will be ready in five or 10 minutes. Hong says most people approach him and reference his role as the evil David Lo Pan in the 1986 cult hit “Big Trouble in Little China” or as Chew, the synthetic eyeball specialist in 1982’s “Blade Runner.”

    With that instantly recognizable face and voice, Hong’s career can be traced back all the way to 1950s TV series including “The New Adventures of Charlie Chan” and “Dragnet” to such films as his current hit, “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” That film’s directors, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — known collectively as the Daniels — say that working with Hong was everything they could have imagined.

    “There are a million things you could say about James Hong and the experience of working with him,” they told Variety via email. “But the most striking thing to us was how, after almost a century of being in this industry, he still hustles harder than anyone we know, how much he still cares about the work he is doing, and above all, how hard this man still loves to party.”


    Hong can currently be seen in the hit movie “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
    Allyson Riggs/A24
    Kim met Hong for the first time when they worked together on the TV show “Charmed” in 2001. “Of course, even then I knew who he was and all that he had accomplished,” says Kim. “Then, around five or six years ago, I was meeting some friends and we started naming all the amazing projects that he’d been a part of. We realized the number was literally in the thousands. It caused me to ask why more people didn’t know him by name, or recognized his incredible career. That’s when I decided that I would do what I could to get him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.”

    It’s been a long journey for Hong, who was born the son of Chinese immigrants in Minneapolis, before his father moved the family back to Hong Kong when Hong was 5. When the family returned to America a few years later, the shy, quiet Hong had to learn English all over again. Though he began performing on stage in junior high and high school, he opted to pursue a degree in civil engineering, first at University of Minnesota.

    The Korean War interrupted his studies and when Hong was sent to Camp Rucker in Alabama with the U.S. Army, he found his skills being used to put together performances for Special Services. Rather than be sent overseas, he jumped at the opportunity to stay and continue to organize live shows.

    After the war, he picked back up with his civil engineering studies at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. But he found it hard to go back to his studies, and now he was in the center of the filmmaking capital of the world. An appearance on Groucho Marx’s game show “You Bet Your Life” in which he did an imitation of the host garnered a huge response — Hong received tons of fan mail and nightclub offers, and it helped him land his first agent.

    Despite his impressive filmography, Hong says it wasn’t easy. “In the early days, there were no opportunities whatsoever,” he recalls. “Opportunities were very few and Asians were still looked down upon as this silent minority. In a sense I feel I was born too early, because there were no chances.”

    So the actor took it upon himself to create more opportunities and learning experiences. He started the first class for Asian Americans at the Desilu Playhouse where they trained under director Joseph Sargent (“The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.”) In 1965, he and other artists, including Mako, co-founded the East/West Players, the prestigious Los Angeles-based theater company for Asian American artists that continues to thrive today.

    “We started with a small group and now look, thousands and thousands of people pour through that door,” Hong says. “And they get trained by the best teachers in the organization.”

    Hong was also a vital voice in protesting poor representations of Asians on screen, such as the 1962 film “Confessions of an Opium Eater.” Hong says it was the first protest in Hollywood by an Asian American group.

    Asked if he ever worried about repercussions for his actions, he states: “No, not really. That really never entered my mind. I just go ahead and do what I had to do.”

    Even today, Hong says there is a still a ways to go. “I would definitely like to see what I work for become a reality,” he says. “I’d love for movies and series to have better representation, to see us playing roles like doctors and businessmen and politicians, like the reality of society.” He feels encouraged that things are improving, and cites fellow actors including Kim for taking up the effort.

    “I’ve worked for all that for 70 years and it’s just beginning as far as I’m concerned. Maybe another 10 years when I’m looking down at this world and I say, ‘Yeah, progress.’”

    And Hong is still adding to that busy filmography. “Even if I wanted to retire, I don’t think they would let me,” he says with a laugh. He’ll soon be heard in the animated series “Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight” and “Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai” and will reunite with his “Everything Everywhere” co-star Michelle Yeoh in the Apple TV Plus series “American Born Chinese.”

    And he’s earning raves for “Everything Everywhere,” which is proving to be a big hit for indie studio A24. Playing Yeoh’s elderly father, Gong Gong, Hong was the only actor the Daniels saw for the role.

    “The only reservation we had was we didn’t know if he would be available or comfortable doing a role that demanded so much because he was already over 90 years old at the time we reached out to him,” the Daniels told Variety. “He came in and asked, ‘How senile do you want me to act for this role?’ We were curious to see how far he could take it, so we told him to go as senile as he wanted. He immediately turned on a switch and became so convincingly ‘old’— wandering around as if lost, losing his train of thought, and even singing to himself — that we were genuinely afraid it was no longer an act and he was going to fall over and hurt himself. The moment we said cut, he was back to his witty, sharp self again. The amount of control he has as a performer was astounding. We immediately knew we had found Gong Gong.”


    Hong was memorable as Lo Pan in 1986’s “Big Trouble in Little China.”
    ©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection
    Hong is also looking forward to the ceremony on May 10, where guest speakers include Jamie Lee Curtis and Kim.

    “It’s so satisfying, for a number of reasons,” Kim says of the honor. “First and foremost, he’s earned it. It also gives me hope that other Asian American actors whose work has been overlooked will get their chance to be recognized, both by the public and during awards season. I also think it’s so important that those of us lucky enough to work in the industry today acknowledge the achievements of those who came before us. It’s one way we can show our gratitude for all the ways they blazed the trail so that we could walk an easier path today.”

    Hong says his entire family, whom he estimates to be about 70 people, will be attending. “It’s going to be quite the party,” he says, with a traditional Chinese lion dance performance. “Maybe I’ll get out there, if I can, and dance with a lion.”

    TIPSHEET
    WHAT: James Hong receives a star on the Walk of Fame
    WHEN: 11:30 a.m., May 10
    WHERE: 6931 Hollywood Blvd.
    WEB: walkoffame.com
    I recently rewatched Flower Drum Song and was delighted to see a young James Hong in a minor role there.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •