Best Asian Actors In Hollywood

by muscle_tommy | created - 18 Oct 2012 | updated - 08 Nov 2012 | Public

Began With Oscar Winner/Nominated

1. Miyoshi Umeki

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 ...

Japan

2. Haing S. Ngor

Actor | The Killing Fields

Haing S. Ngor was a native of Cambodia, and before the war was a physician (obstetrics) and medical officer in the Cambodian army. He became a captive of the Khmer Rouge during the and was imprisoned and tortured; in order to escape execution he denied being a doctor or having an education. He ...

Cambodia

3. 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 ...

Japan

4. Ken Watanabe

Actor | The Last Samurai

Ken Watanabe was born on October 21, 1959 in Uonuma, Niigata Prefecture, Japan. Both of his parents were teachers: his mother taught general education and his dad taught calligraphy. He became interested in acting at the age of 24, when a director of England's National Theatre Company, where he was...

Japan

5. Shohreh Aghdashloo

Actress | House of Sand and Fog

Shohreh Aghdashloo was born Shohreh Vaziri-Tabar on May 11, 1952 in Tehran, Iran. In the 1970s at age 20, she achieved nationwide stardom in her homeland of Iran, starring in some prominent pictures such as Gozaresh (1977) directed by the renowned Abbas Kiarostami, which won critics awards at the ...

Iran

6. Rinko Kikuchi

Actress | Babel

Rinko Kikuchi was born on January 6, 1981 in Hadano, Japan as Yuriko Kikuchi. She is an actress and director, known for Babel (2006), Pacific Rim (2013) and The Brothers Bloom (2008). She has been married to Shôta Sometani since December 31, 2014. They have one child.

Japan

7. 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 ...

Korea 2006, Won Golden Globes Awards

8. Archie Panjabi

Actress | I Origins

Archie made her film debut in the British hit East Is East (1999). Since then, she has continued to work on international blockbuster films, from Bend It Like Beckham (2002) and The Constant Gardener (2005) to critically acclaimed films like A Mighty Heart (2007) (starring opposite Angelina Jolie) ...

India 2010, Won Primetime Emmy Awards

9. Ziyi Zhang

Actress | Wo hu cang long

Ziyi Zhang is a Chinese actress and model. She is best known for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Rush Hour 2 (2001), Hero (2002), House of Flying Daggers (2004), and Memoirs of a Geisha (2005).

She made her feature film debut in The Road Home (1999).

For her work in Memoirs of a Geisha she was...

China 2006, Nominated Golden Globes Awards

10. Masi Oka

Actor | Heroes

Masayori "Masi" Oka is a Japanese American actor, producer and digital effects artist. He became widely known for his role on NBC's Heroes as Hiro Nakamura and in CBS' Hawaii Five-0 as Doctor Max Bergman. Oka was born in Tokyo, Japan, to Setsuko Oka. His parents divorced when he was one month old; ...

Japan 2007, Nominated Golden Globes Awards

11. Toshirô Mifune

Actor | Yôjinbô

Toshiro Mifune achieved more worldwide fame than any other Japanese actor of his century. He was born in Tsingtao, China, to Japanese parents and grew up in Dalian. He did not set foot in Japan until he was 21. His father was an importer and a commercial photographer, and young Toshiro worked in ...

Japan 1981, Nominated for Primetime Emmy Awards

12. 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. ...

China 1999, Nominated for Primetime Emmy Award

13. 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 ...

Korea 2012, Nominated for Primetime Emmy Award

14. Michelle Yeoh

Actress | Wo hu cang long

Born as Yang Zi Qiong in the mining town of Ipoh, in West Malaysia, in the lunar year of the Tiger, Michelle is the daughter of Janet Yeoh and Yeoh Kian Teik, a lawyer and politician. She is of Han Chinese (Hokkien) descent, and spoke English and Malay before Chinese. A ballet dancer since age 4, ...

Malaysia 2001, Nominated for BAFTA Film Award

15. Freida Pinto

Actress | Slumdog Millionaire

Freida Selena Pinto was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra, India, to Sylvia, a school principal, and Frederick Pinto, a senior bank branch manager. She is from a Mangalorean family.

Pinto traversed the modeling circuit in Mumbai (represented by Elite Model Management India) for two years ...

India 2009, Nominated for BAFTA Film Award

16. Dev Patel

Actor | Slumdog Millionaire

Dev Patel was born in Harrow, London, to Anita, a caregiver, and Raj Patel, who works in IT. His parents, originally from Nairobi, Kenya, are both of Gujarati Indian descent. His first role was in the UK TV series Skins (2007). His breakout role was in the Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire (...

India 2009, Nominated for BAFTA Film Award

17. 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 ...

18. Steven Yeun

Actor | Okja

Steven Yeun was born in Seoul, South Korea and his family first immigrated to Canada and stayed there for one year and moved to United States. He began acting when studying at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, MI. When he realized his love for acting he went to study theatre in college instead of med...

Korea

19. Yun-Fat Chow

Actor | Wo hu cang long

Chow Yun Fat is a charismatic, athletically built and energetic Asian-born film star who first came to the attention of western audiences via his roles in the high-octane/blazing guns action films of maverick HK director John Woo.

Chow was born in 1955 on the quiet island of Lamma, part of the ...

Hong Kong

20. Parminder Nagra

Actress | Bend It Like Beckham

Parminder Nagra was born on October 5, 1975 in Leicester, Leicestershire, England as Parminder Kaur Nagra. She is an actress, known for Bend It Like Beckham (2002), ER (1994) and Ella Enchanted (2004). She was previously married to James Stenson.

India

21. Yunjin Kim

Actress | Lost

Yunjin Kim was born on November 7, 1973 in Seoul, South Korea. She is an actress, known for Lost (2004), Swiri (1999) and Sebeun deijeu (2007). She has been married to Jeong-Hyeok Park since March 28, 2010.

Korea

22. 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...

Macau

23. Tamlyn Tomita

Actress | The Day After Tomorrow

Tamlyn Tomita was born on January 27, 1966 in Okinawa, Japan as Tamlyn Naomi Tomita. She is an actress, known for The Day After Tomorrow (2004), The Eye (2008) and The Karate Kid Part II (1986).

24. Tim Kang

Actor | Rambo

Tim Kang was born on March 16, 1973 in San Francisco, California, USA as Yila Timothy Kang. He is an actor and producer, known for Rambo (2008), Two Weeks Notice (2002) and The Forgotten (2004).

25. Reggie Lee

Actor | Grimm

Reggie Lee was born in Quezon City, Philippines as Reggie Valdez. He is known for his work on Grimm (2011), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007).

Philippines

26. Ken Leung

Actor | The Sopranos

Ken Leung was raised in the Two Bridges section of the Lower East Side in New York City. His family moved to Midwood, Brooklyn where he grew up before finishing high school in Old Bridge, New Jersey. He attended NYU and studied acting with Catherine Russell and Nan Smithner, then briefly with Anne ...

27. John Cho

Actor | Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle

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. ...

Korea

28. 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 ...

Korea

29. Rex Lee

Actor | Entourage

Rex Lee was born on January 7, 1969 in Warren, Ohio, USA. He is an actor and writer, known for Entourage (2004), Entourage (2015) and Young & Hungry (2014).

Korea

30. Aaron Yoo

Actor | 21

Aaron Yoo was born on May 12, 1979 in New Jersey, USA. He is an actor and cinematographer, known for 21 (2008), Disturbia (2007) and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008).

31. Donnie Yen

Actor | Yip Man

Biography

Early Life

Donnie Yen was born in Guangzhou, China. His mother, Bow-sim Mark, was a kung fu master and his father, Kylster Yen, a newspaper editor and amateur musician. When Donnie was just two years old, the family moved to Hong Kong and then, when he was 11, to Boston, Massachusetts.

There...

China

32. Jet Li

Actor | Huo yuanjia

Jet Li born Li Lian Jie in Beijing, China. He started training at the Beijing wushu academy (wushu is China's national sport, largely a performance version of various martial art styles) at age eight. He won five gold medals in the Chinese championships, his first when he was only 11. In his teens,...

China

33. Jackie Chan

Actor | Ngo si seoi

Hong Kong's cheeky, lovable and best known film star, Jackie Chan endured many years of long, hard work and multiple injuries to establish international success via his early beginnings in Hong Kong's manic martial arts cinema industry.

Jackie was born Kong-sang Chan on Hong Kong's famous Victoria ...

Hong Kong

34. 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 ...

35. Harry Shum Jr.

Actor | Glee

Harry Shum Jr. was born on April 28, 1982 in Puerto Limón, Costa Rica. He is an actor, known for Glee (2009), Step Up 2: The Streets (2008) and Step Up 3D (2010). He has been married to Shelby Rabara since November 22, 2015.

China

36. Li Gong

Actress | Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia

Born in Shenyang, grew up in Jinan, the daughter of an economics professor. Loved music from childhood, and dreamed of a singing career. After failing to gain entrance to China's top music school in 1985, applied for and was admitted to the Central Drama Academy in Beijing, from which she graduated...

China

37. Leonardo Nam

Actor | Westworld

Leonardo Nam plays Felix Lutz on the critically acclaimed, award winning HBO series "Westworld". Nam is a scene-stealer as Felix, sharing nearly all his scenes with Golden Globe nominated actress Thandie Newton. "Westworld" premiered season one in October 2016 and has been nominated & won a handful...

Korea

38. James Kyson

Actor | Preacher

One of today's most exciting & versatile actors, voted by Buzzfeed as a Top 10 Asian-American Leading Man, and by TV Guide as "Hollywood's 25 Hottest Body", James recently guest starred in AMC's Preacher, CBS' Elementary and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, and FOX's Sleepy Hollow. He also recently ...

Korea

39. Bobby Lee

Actor | A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

Bobby Lee was born on September 17, 1972 in San Diego, California, USA as Robert Lee Jr. He is an actor and writer, known for A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011), Paul (2011) and Pineapple Express (2008).

40. 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 ...

41. Zaib Shaikh

Producer | Othello the Tragedy of the Moor

Zaib Shaikh is known for his work on Othello the Tragedy of the Moor (2008), Little Mosque on the Prairie (2007) and Midnight's Children (2012). He has been married to Kirstine Stewart since May 2011.

Pakistan

42. 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.

Philippines

43. Tania Gunadi

Actress | Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero

Tania Gunadi was born in Bandung, Java, Indonesia. She won a green card lottery when she was a teenager and moved to Los Angeles. Tania started her career on the Disney Channel in TV series and movies, including Pixel Perfect, Go Figure, Imagination Movers and Aaron Stone (her first series regular ...

Indonesia

44. Lily Mariye

Actress | ER

Lily Mariye is best known for her role as Lily Jarvik on ER (1994) for its entire 15 season run. An award-winning theatre actress/dancer/singer, she was discovered by agent Joan Scott in the LA stage production of Elizabeth Swados musical, Runaways. She is now a TV and film director, directing "...

45. Bai Ling

Actress | The Crow

Born in the city of Cheng Du in southern China, Bai Ling began her career at age of 14. She enlisted In the Chinese People's Liberation Army, where she spent three years in a performance troupe entertaining soldiers stationed in Tibet. She first gained the attention of audiences and critics alike ...

China

46. Devon Aoki

Actress | 2 Fast 2 Furious

Born in New York but raised in California, Devon Aoki is no stranger to the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Her father is former Olympic wrestler and Benihana restaurant magnate Rocky Aoki and her mother is Pamela Hilburger, a jewelry designer. Devon is of Japanese (from her father) and German ...

Japan

47. Ken Jeong

Actor | The Hangover

Ken Jeong is a Korean-American actor, comedian, and physician. He is best known for his roles as Ben Chang on the critically acclaimed NBC/Yahoo! sitcom Community (2009) and gangster Leslie Chow in The Hangover (2009) Trilogy.

He appeared in Michael Bay's Pain & Gain (2013), as Johnny Wu, a ...

Korea

48. Ye Liu

Actor | Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia

Liu Ye's acting talents were apparent right from his first movie, Postman in the Mountains, for which he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at China's 1999 Golden Rooster Awards. Shortly after his graduation from Central Academy of Drama, Liu Ye won Best Actor at Taiwan's 38th Golden Horse ...

China

49. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Actress | Devdas

Born into a traditional south Indian family, Aishwarya started modeling at a young age. This green-blue-eyed beauty appeared in advertisements for many prestigious firms; the ones that brought her into the limelight were the garden sari and the Pepsi ad. Crowned Miss India 1994 runner-up, she was a...

India

50. Lisa Ling

Producer | Our America with Lisa Ling

Lisa Ling was born on August 30, 1973 in Sacramento, California, USA as Lisa J. Ling. She is a producer and actress, known for Our America with Lisa Ling (2011), The View (1997) and Ed (2000). She has been married to Paul Song since May 26, 2007. They have two children.

China

51. Leila Hatami

Actress | Jodaeiye Nader az Simin

Award-winning actress, Leila Hatami, was born on October 1, 1972 in Tehran, Iran, to legendary Iranian Director, Ali Hatami, and actress mother, Zari Khoshkam (Zahra Hatami). During her childhood, she appeared in several of her father's films including the historical TV series, Hezardastan (1988), ...

Iran

52. Christine Hakim

Actress | Eat Pray Love

Christine Hakim was born on December 25, 1957 in Kuala Tungkal, Jambi, Indonesia as Herlina Nathalie Christine Hakim. She is an actress and producer, known for Eat Pray Love (2010), Leaf on a Pillow (1998) and Kartini (2017). She has been married to Jeroen Lezer since January 7, 2000. They have one...

Indonesia

53. Lea Salonga

Actress | Mulan

Lea Salonga began her singing career at the age of ten, when she recorded her first album, Small Voice. She also hosted her own musical TV show, "Love, Lea". She starred in "Miss Saigon" and was then offered the role of the singing voice of Jasmine in the Disney film Aladdin (1992). She has ...

Philippines