Keye Luke Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trivia (18)  | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (3)

Born in Guangzhou, China
Died in Whittier, California, USA  (stroke)
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

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 appeared in almost every film that called for Chinese characters, usually in small parts but occasionally, as in The Good Earth (1937), in a meatier, more substantial role. In addition, he played Dr. Kildare's rival at the hospital in the Dr. Kildare series at MGM, but it was as Charlie Chan's #1 son in that series that Luke achieved his greatest recognition. In the 1970s a new generation was made aware of his talents by virtue of his recurring role in the TV series Kung Fu (1972).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frankfob2@yahoo.com

Family (2)

Spouse Ethel Davis (1942 - 22 January 1979)  (her death)  (1 child)
Relatives Edwin Luke (sibling)

Trivia (18)

Best remembered by one generation as "Number One Son", Lee Chan, in Warner Oland's Charlie Chan films of the 1930s. For the rest of his life, Luke would defend that film series considering that while criticisms of the series largely white men in the title role and the stereotyped African-American characters are valid, the rest of Chan's family were cast with actual Asian-American actors and played in a non-stereotypical fashion. This especially applies to Lee, a brave and enthusiastic All-American boy who even becomes an Olympic Gold Medalist in Charlie Chan at the Olympics (1937).
Luke was an accomplished artist who specialized in murals. Examples of his work appear in the films The Shanghai Gesture (1941) and Macao (1952).
Did a great deal of television work in his later years, at one point (1972-73) serving as a regular on three television series simultaneously: Kung Fu (1972), Anna and the King (1972), The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan (1972). In addition, although not a regular, he was a frequent guest star on M*A*S*H (1972).
Almost 40 years after he played Lee Chan to the Charlie Chans of Warner Oland and Roland Winters, he took a turn at playing Charlie Chan himself, providing his voice in the Hanna-Barbera animated CBS-TV series The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan (1972). Among those who provided the voices of his children were Jodie Foster and Robert Ito.
Was 44 years of age when he returned to the role of Lee Chan, Charlie Chan's "Number One Son" in the last two Chan films (The Feathered Serpent (1948) and The Sky Dragon (1949)). He was actually 5 months older than Roland Winters, the actor who portrayed Charlie Chan in these films.
Brother of Edwin Luke.
Was the original Kato in the Green Hornet serials
He also painted the garden fairytale setting murals on the interior of Grauman's Chinese Theater and the Chinese Theater massive auditorium ceiling.
In addition to his on-screen roles, he had a successful career as a voice artist. This included the dubbing of foreign language films into English as well as doing voices for animated series.
Created the role of Master Wang in the original Broadway production of the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II musical "Flower Drum Song", playing the role for two years in New York and another two on the road without ever missing a performance.
Had the distinction of being the only Asian actor to play a lead Asian detective in the 1930/1940s era. He played Mr. Wong in Phantom of Chinatown (1940) for Monogram. It was the final film in the series and he took over the role from Boris Karloff.
He continued working until age 86. He died less than three weeks after his final film, Woody Allen's Alice (1990), was released.
Drew artwork used in the press book for the original King Kong (1933).
He was considered for the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) before Alec Guinness was cast.
He was considered one of the best dressed men in Hollywood in the 1930s because of his personal style and classic wardrobe.
He was considered for the role of Dr. Noonian Soong in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Brothers (1990)..
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on December 5, 1990.
Following his death, he was interred at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.

Personal Quotes (2)

I have played so many doctors and characters in the mainstream. Because of my appearance, or because of my personality, or whatever it may be, I was always put into good Boy Scout roles -- lawyers, doctors, business executives and tycoons, the nice Chinese guy down the block.
To me, theater is an art. It's the art of make-believe. If an actor can cast aside his own personality and create a character that you, the audience, can believe in and buy, my hat's off to him.

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