The History of Asian Actors on TV through the eyes of a 70's Childby PeggyFromMannix | created - 01 Nov 2011 | updated - 14 Dec 2011 | Public
This talented group represent my memories of actors of Asian descent on TV from the 70's to present day.
Actress | Flower Drum Song
Although she projected the typical Japanese female stereotype of humbleness, delicacy and subservience in most of her prime film and stage roles, beguiling, tiny-framed Miyoshi Umeki was nevertheless an assertive scene-stealer. This docile and deceptive-looking talent with the cropped hair and ...
Actor | Across the Pacific
Achieving both film and TV notice during his lengthy career, this diminutive Asian-American character was born Sen Yew Cheung on October 18, 1915 in San Francisco of humble Chinese émigrés. When his mother died during the flu epidemic of 1919, his father placed Victor and his sister in a children's...
4. Kam Fong
Actor | Hawaii Five-O
The Asian-American actor Kam Fong, best known for his co-starring role as Chin Ho in the original Hawaii Five-O (1968) TV series, was born Kam Tong Chun on May 27, 1918 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (The name Fong was the result of a teacher incorrectly teaching him how to write his name. The name stuck and...
Actor | Hawaii Five-O
Gilbert Francis Lani Damian Kauhi was born on October 17, 1937 on the Big Island of Hawaii. He was better known by the nickname his classmates gave him in high school, "Zulu". His most famous role was that of "Detective Kono Kalakaua" on the hit TV series, Hawaii Five-O (1968). The show helped ...
6. Harry Endo
Actor | Magnum, P.I.
Harry Endo was born on July 20, 1922 in Denver, Colorado, USA as Ichito Endo. He was an actor, known for Magnum, P.I. (1980), Hawaii Five-O (1968) and Murder, She Wrote (1984). He was married to Myrtle. He died on January 9, 2009 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA.
7. Khigh Dhiegh
Actor | The Manchurian Candidate
Khigh Dhiegh was born on August 25, 1910 in Spring Lake, New Jersey, USA as Kenneth Dickerson. He was an actor, known for The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Seconds (1966) and Hawaii Five-O (1968). He was married to Mary Dickerson. He died on October 25, 1991 in Mesa, Arizona, USA.
8. France Nuyen
Actress | Battle for the Planet of the Apes
France Nuyen was born on July 31, 1939 in Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France as France Nguyen Vannga. She is an actress, known for Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), South Pacific (1958) and The Joy Luck Club (1993). She was previously married to Robert Culp and Dr. Thomas Gaspar Morell.
11. Keye Luke
Actor | Charlie Chan at the Opera
Keye Luke was born in Canton, China. He grew up in Seattle, Washington, and entered the film business as a commercial artist and a designer of movie posters. He was hired as a technical advisor on several Asian-themed films, and made his film debut in The Painted Veil (1934). It seemed that he ...
12. Philip Ahn
Actor | Impact
Korean-American character actor Philip Ahn played hundreds of Chinese and Japanese characters during a long career. He was born in Los Angeles in 1905 (though 1911 is the year usually given, U.S. government records confirm that Ahn was born in 1905), the son of a Korean diplomat. He attended the ...
14. Irene Tsu
Actress | Airport 1975
Born in Shanghai, China to a banker father and a painter mother. The family left for Hong Kong where Irene attended parochial school and studied ballet. At 12 the family immigrated to New York City where Irene attended George Washington HS and Quintano's School for young professionals and studied ...
15. Pat Morita
Actor | The Karate Kid
Abundantly busy and much loved Asian-American actor who became an on-screen hero to millions of adults and kids alike as the wise and wonderful Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid (1984), the sparkling Noriyuki Morita was back again dishing out Eastern philosophy and martial arts lessons for The Karate ...
16. Robert Ito
Robert Ito was born on July 2, 1931 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He is known for his work on The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984), The X-Files (1993) and Midway (1976).
18. Rosalind Chao
Actress | Just Like Heaven
Rosalind Chao was born on September 23, 1957 in Anaheim, California, USA as Rosalind Chia-Ling Chao. She is an actress, known for Just Like Heaven (2005), What Dreams May Come (1998) and Freaky Friday (2003). She has been married to Simon Templeman since 1989. They have two children.
19. Kieu Chinh
Actress | The Joy Luck Club
Veteran Vietnamese born actress Kieu Chinh is best known to moviegoers for her role as Suyuan Woo in the 1991 film "The Joy Luck Club". She also made a notable guest appearance on the hit CBS-TV series "M*A*S*H" as Kyung Soon, an aristocratic South Korean socialite whom Hawkeye begins to fall in ...
Actor | Conan the Barbarian
Born in Japan, Mako was living there with his grandparents while his parents studied art in the United States, when Japan and the U.S. went to war in 1941. His parents remained in the U.S., working for the Office of War Information, and, at the cessation of the conflict, were granted U.S. residency...
21. James Hong
Actor | Big Trouble in Little China
James Hong was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. He studied civil engineering at the University of Minnesota, but at some point along the way became interested in acting. He graduated from the University of Southern California and practiced for 1½ years as a road engineer with the County of Los ...
26. Nia Peeples
Actress | Pretty Little Liars
Nia Peeples was born in Hollywood, California, on December 10, 1961. Her family moved to West Covina, California, where she and her two sisters, Paula and Cynthia, grew up. At eight years old she began performing with her family, giving concerts for community groups and conventions and doing dances...
27. Dustin Nguyen
Actor | Lua Phat
Dustin Tri Nguyen, after moving to the US from Vietnam in 1975, went on to establish himself as one of Hollywood's premiere Asian-American actors coming out of the martial arts world, having starred on such hit TV shows as "21 Jump Street," "Seaquest DSV," "VIP," as well as feature films like MAN ...
30. Tia Carrere
Actress | True Lies
Tia Carrere was born Althea Rae Duhinio Janairo on January 2, 1967 in Honolulu, Hawaii. While attending Sacred Hearts Academy, Tia was discovered in a Waikiki grocery store and landed the female lead in the indie movie Aloha Summer (1988). Although her passion has always been singing (grandmother ...
31. Kelly Hu
Actress | The Scorpion King
On February 13th, 1968, a girl of Chinese, English, and Hawaiian ancestry was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her father, Herbert, was a salesman and her mother, Juanita, worked many odd jobs to help support the family. She has one older brother, Glenn. She is a former Miss Teen USA, and modeled in Japan...
32. Joan Chen
Actress | Se, jie
Born into a family of doctors and educated in China at the Shanghai Film Academy and the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Languages, Joan Chen was discovered by veteran Chinese director Jin Xie while observing a filming with a school group. Her performance in Xiao hua (1979) (A.K.A. "The Little Flower...
33. Lauren Tom
Actress | Futurama
Lauren Tom is an Obie Award-winning actress, known for her roles as a dutiful daughter in the film The Joy Luck Club (1993), and a recurring role as Ross's girlfriend on NBC's Friends (1994).
Lauren plays the role of "Mai Washington" on the new ABC series Men in Trees (2006). She recently appeared ...
34. Ming-Na Wen
Actress | Mulan
Ming-Na ("enlightenment") was born on the island of Macau, forty miles from Hong Kong. Her mother, Lin Chan Wen, divorced her father when Ming-Na was only a toddler. She has an older brother named Jonathan. After the divorce, they moved to Hong Kong where her mother became a nurse. There her mother...
35. BD Wong
Actor | Jurassic Park
BD Wong was born and raised in San Francisco, California. He made his Broadway debut in "M. Butterfly." He is the only actor to be honored with the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Clarence Derwent Award, and Theater World Award for the same performance. He starred in the ...
36. Margaret Cho
Actress | 30 Rock
Margaret Cho was born Dec. 5, 1968 and raised in San Francisco. Her grandfather was a Methodist minister who ran an orphanage in Seoul during the Korean War. Ignoring the traditions of her patriarchal culture, her mother bravely resisted an arranged marriage in Korea and married Margaret's father ...
38. Russell Wong
Actor | Romeo Must Die
Russell Wong has earned a reputation as a sexy, charismatic leading man whose good looks are matched by his skills as an actor. The sixth of seven children, Russell Wong was born in Troy, New York; the son of restaurateur William Wong and Dutch-American artist Connie Van Yserloo. When Russell was ...
39. Chi Muoi Lo
Actor | Vanishing Son
Chi was born in Phan Rang, Vietnam, to Chinese parents.. Three years after the Fall of Saigon, two-year-old Chi and his family escaped by boat to the United States. Upon their arrival, Chi and his family were placed in the Indian Town Gap Refugee Camp where they became sponsored by the Jewish ...
40. Lucy Liu
Actress | Kill Bill: Vol. 1
Born to immigrants in Queens, New York, Lucy Liu has always tried to balance an interest in her cultural heritage with a desire to move beyond a strictly Asian-American experience. Lucy's mother, Cecilia, a biochemist, is from Beijing, and her father, Tom Liu, a civil engineer, is from Shanghai. ...
41. Sandra Oh
Actress | Grey's Anatomy
Sandra Oh was born to Korean parents in the Ottawa suburb of Nepean, Ontario, Canada. Her father, Oh Junsu, a businessman, and her mother, Oh Young-nam, a biochemist, were married in Seoul, South Korea. They both attended graduate school at the University of Toronto. Sandra began her career as a ...
42. Shelley Malil
Actor | The 40 Year Old Virgin
Shelley Malil is proud to be from the Indian state of Kerala and a Malayalee, a people known for their comedic take on life. He had dreams of becoming a comedic actor like his idol Bob Hope, whom he first saw on a neighbor's TV set--the only one in the fishing village on the southern tip of India ...
43. Archie Kao
Actor | CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Archie Kao was born on December 14, 1969 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA. He is an actor and producer, known for CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000), Chicago P.D. (2014) and Na Nian Hua Kai Yue Zheng Yuan (2017). He has been married to Xun Zhou since July 16, 2014.
46. Kal Penn
Kal Penn was born and raised in Montclair, New Jersey, to Asmita, a fragrance evaluator, and Suresh Modi, an engineer. His parents are Gujarati immigrants to America from India. He attended the Freehold Regional High School District's Performing Arts High School where he participated in the ...
47. John Cho
John Yohan Cho was born in Seoul, South Korea, but moved to Los Angeles, California as a child, where his father was a Christian minister. Cho was educated at Herbert Hoover High School at Glendale before moving on to the University of California at Berkeley where he studied English Literature. ...
50. Alec Mapa
Actor | You Don't Mess with the Zohan
Alec Mapa was born on July 10, 1965 in San Francisco, California, USA as Alejandro Mapa. He is an actor and writer, known for You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008), Marley & Me (2008) and Playing by Heart (1998). He has been married to Jamison Hebert since 2008. They have one child.
54. Naveen Andrews
Actor | Planet Terror
Born Naveen William Sidney Andrews in London on January 17, 1969. His parents were both Indian immigrants from Kerala, India. In high school, he auditioned for drama school and was accepted at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Two of his classmates were Ewan McGregor and David Thewlis ....
59. Aziz Ansari
Actor | Parks and Recreation
Aziz Ansari was born in Columbia, South Carolina, to Fatima, a medical office worker, and Shoukath, a gastroenterologist. His family is from Tamil Nadu, India. He graduated from NYU as a business major in 2004. He graduated from the South Carolina Governor's School for Math and Science in ...
Actor | Beauty and the Beast
Sendhil Ramamurthy (born May 17, 1974) is an American actor. He is best known for his roles as geneticist Mohinder Suresh in the NBC sci-fi drama Heroes and Jai Wilcox in the action spy series Covert Affairs. He appeared as Abhay in the Indian film Shor in the City. He played Gabriel Lowen in The ...
61. Danny Pudi
Actor | Community
Danny Pudi was born on March 10, 1979 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Daniel Mark Pudi. He is an actor, known for Community (2009), Star Trek: Beyond (2016) and Knights of Badassdom (2013). He has been married to Bridget Showalter Pudi since June 5, 2004. They have two children.
62. C.S. Lee
Actor | Dexter
C.S. Lee got the acting bug his junior year of High School while playing football. Film became his passion. He attended Cornish College of the Arts on an acting scholarship and graduated with his BFA. He continued his acting training at the Yale School of Drama graduating with an MFA. He then spent...
64. Kunal Nayyar
Actor | The Big Bang Theory
Kunal Nayyar is an Indian actor. He moved from India to the US in 1999. He first moved to Portland, Oregon, to study business. He started acting in plays as a way of making new friends. He took acting classes, but he went on to graduate from the University of Portland with a degree in business, as ...
65. Adhir Kalyan
Actor | Paul Blart: Mall Cop
Born in 1983 and raised in Durban, South Africa, Adhir Kalyan moved to London to pursue an acting career. He appeared as a guest star on the BBC series Holby City (1999) and MI-5 (2002). Kalyan's first leading role was in the CW's comedy series Aliens in America (2007), in which he played Raja, a ...
67. Reshma Shetty
Actress | Royal Pains
Reshma Shetty was born on November 2, 1977 in Manchester, England, UK to Hindu parents. She was raised in England and Richmond, Virginia in the United States. She is a graduate of the famed Opera department at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. On stage, Reshma received rave reviews in 2006 for ...
68. Archie Panjabi
Actress | I Origins
Archie is an Emmy Award winning British actress best known for her role as Kalinda Sharma in The Good Wife, for which she was nominated for an Emmy three times in a row and went on to to be honored with a Golden Globe Nomination. She made her film debut in the critically acclaimed East Is East ...
71. Sacha Dhawan
Actor | After Earth
Sacha Dhawan was born in Bramhall, Stockport to Hindu parents though he actually attended a Roman Catholic secondary school, Thomas Aquinas College, in nearby Stockport, where one of the authors whom he studied for his final exams was Alan Bennett, with whom he was very impressed. He began as a ...
72. Anisha Nagarajan
Actress | Outsourced
Nagarajan's parents are immigrants from India. Her mother, Geetha Nagarajan, is a former developmental specialist at Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic. Her father, Nandu Nagarajan, is a professor and academic at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh. ...
74. Azita Ghanizada
Actress | Complete Unknown
Azita, a political refugee, came to Hollywood with an incredible story of cultural backlash. As a baby, she and her family fled to the United States and gained asylum in an effort to escape war-time conflicts . Being raised in a conservative multicultural home, she was forbidden to pursue her ...
75. Iqbal Theba
Actor | Glee
Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, Iqbal Theba came to the US as a college Freshman at the University of Oklahoma, Norman. While in college in Oklahoma, Iqbal studied Civil Engineering and eventually obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Construction Engineering Management. After realizing ...
77. Marshall Manesh
Actor | Will & Grace
Marshall Manesh was born in Iran. He lost his father at an early age and was raised by his beloved mother, whom he feels he got his strength from to make it in show biz. He came to America in the mid "70s" and joined the Persian Theater Group and traveled extensively through out The United States, ...
79. Dilshad Vadsaria
Actress | Greek
Dilshad Vadsaria was born in Karachi, Pakistan, of Portuguese and Indian descent. She moved with her family to the US at the age of six and spent her childhood in various parts of the country, including Chicago, Richmond (Virginia) and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She eventually moved to New York to...
80. Indira Varma
Actress | Exodus: Gods and Kings
Indira Varma was born on September 27, 1973 in Bath, Somerset, England. She is an actress and producer, known for Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996) and Bride & Prejudice (2004). She has been married to Colin Tierney since 1996. They have one child.
85. Anthony Ruivivar
Actor | Starship Troopers
Anthony Ruivivar was born on November 4, 1970 in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA as Anthony Michael Ruivivar. He is an actor, known for Starship Troopers (1997), Tropic Thunder (2008) and The Adjustment Bureau (2011). He has been married to Yvonne Jung since January 1998. They have two children.
86. Maggie Q
Actress | Divergent
Margaret Denise Quigley was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to a father of Polish and Irish descent (originally based in New York) and a Vietnamese mother. Her parents met during the Vietnam War. Maggie has two older half-siblings from her mother's previous marriage, and two older sisters. The family ...
87. Christina Chang
Actress | Live Free or Die Hard
Christina Chang was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, by her Chinese-Filipino father and American mother. At 17 she moved to the United States to study Theatre & Film in her mother's home state of Kansas and later studied acting in Seattle, USA. Chang went on to gain a Masters of Fine Arts from ...
88. Brenda Song
Actress | The Social Network
Brenda Song was born in Carmichael, California. Her father is Hmong and her mother is Thai-American. Brenda, her parents, and her younger brothers Timmy and Nathan now live in a suburb of Los Angeles.
Brenda was named an All-American Scholar in ninth grade and holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
90. M.G. Gong
Actor | Eraser
M.G. GONG : writer / producer / actor
In addition to his study in various styles of martial arts, Michael can be seen as JIA KENMIN on the HBO TV drama series "OZ" written by Tom Fontana & Barry Levinson (Borgia, The Killing Fields, Copper, Homicide, St. Elsewhere, Rain Man, Diner, Wag The Dog, and ...
92. Daniel Dae Kim
Actor | Lost
Through the diversity of his roles on stage and screen, Daniel Dae Kim continues to expand our perceptions of the Asian-American man. In characters ranging from the King of Siam, a Shakespearean hero, a social worker for the Chicago needy, to a counter-terrorist agent, his work has consistently ...
94. Grace Park
Actress | Battlestar Galactica
Grace Park (born March 14, 1974) is an American-Canadian actress. She gained recognition as Sharon "Boomer" Valerii and Sharon "Athena" Agathon on Battlestar Galactica, as well as Shannon Ng in the Canadian television series teen soap Edgemont. Park stars as Officer Kono Kalakaua in the CBS ...
95. Jack Soo
Actor | Barney Miller
A genial, laid back, slumber-eyed character player especially adept at the relaxed wisecrack or dry comment, Japanese-American actor Jack Soo was born in Oakland, California, in 1917, his real name being Goro Suzuki. In the post-WWII years, he entertained as a stand-up performer in nightclubs and ...
Actor | Mortal Kombat
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa got his first big break as an actor when he was cast in Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor (1987). A US Army brat, he was born in Tokyo and lived in various cities while growing up. His father was in the army, stationed at Ft. Bragg (NC), Ft. Polk (LA) and Ft. Hood (TX). His...
97. George Takei
Actor | Star Trek
Although primarily known for playing Hikaru Sulu in the television series Star Trek (1966) and the first six features, George Takei has had a varied career acting in television, feature films, live theater and radio. He also is a successful writer and community activist.
George Takei was born Hosato...
98. Brian Tochi
Actor | Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Film audiences & television viewers know Brian Tochi as a star of several hit films, a collection of six television series, theater, and a multitude of guest-starring and co-starring roles in episodic television. Brian has starred or co-starred in over 25 motion pictures and their sequels, among ...
100. Parry Shen
Actor | Better Luck Tomorrow
Parry Shen was born on June 26, 1973 in Queens, New York, USA. He is an actor and producer, known for Better Luck Tomorrow (2002), The New Guy (2002) and General Hospital (1963). He has been married to Kim Hollands since August 2, 2002. They have two children.