Brown - Dark
Los Angeles, California
Place of Death
Santa Monica, CA USA
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
Shanghai Express (1932)
Actor/Actress, Other Crew
Has Detailed Data (New)
Profile Bio Text
Anna May began playing bit parts as a teenager in the early days of Hollywood. Wong`s first role was in Alla Nazimova`s silent film The Red Lantern (1919) as an uncredited extra. However, even with associations with a Hollywood power like Nazimova, her ethnicity prevented her from getting choice parts. Though her family had been in California since 1855, as a Chinese-American, Wong was considered "foreign" both through social prejudices of the time, and by law. Anti-miscegenation laws existed in California until 1948. Hollywood films of the silent era and early 1930s pre-code era sometimes flouted the more conservative social mores of the time, but these restrictions were codified when the studios adopted the Hays Code in 1930, and began enforcing it in 1934. Wong`s career was especially affected by the anti-miscegenation rules in the Code, since they prevented her from playing romantic roles with non-Asian actors. When MGM was casting for The Good Earth (1937), she was passed up for the lead female role of O-lan because Paul Muni, an actor of European descent, was to play Wang Lung, O-lan`s husband. Even though Muni was to wear heavy make up to look Asian, industry regulations prevented her from playing romantic roles opposite actors of different ethnicity. Instead, the role Wong hoped for went to Luise Rainer. MGM offered Wong the part of Lotus, but Wong refused to be the only Chinese American playing the only negative character, stating: "...I won`t play the part. If you let me play O-lan, I`ll be very glad. But you`re asking me - with Chinese blood - to do the only unsympathetic role in the picture featuring an all-American cast portraying Chinese characters."
Despite this discrimination, she had a number of significant film roles. Her first starring role was in Hollywood`s first color movie, The Toll of the Sea (1921) opposite Kenneth Harlan. Anna May travelled throughout Europe, and was one of the leads in the British film Piccadilly (1929). In Java Head (1934) she starred opposite actor John Loder as a Chinese princess married to a 19th-century English gentleman.
She also made films in German and French. In addition, she co-starred with Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express (1932) and with Lana Turner in Portrait in Black (1960), though she typically earned far less than her billing would indicate. For her work in Shanghai Express, in which Dietrich and Wong played a pair of prostitutes, she received $6,000 while Dietrich salary was more than $78,000. Many critics, however, believed that she stole the film from Dietrich with her intense performance, despite playing a supporting role, and the two actresses never worked together again. She toured extensively on the stage throughout Europe and the U.S., including opposite Vincent Price in Princess Turandot , a stage version of Giacomo Puccini`s opera.
In the early 1950s, she starred in her own television series, The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong (using her birth name for the title character).
Couple Profile Source
Hollywood High School, Lincoln High School
Full Name at Birth
Wong Liu Tsong
Wong Sam SIng
Lee Gon Toy
Lu Lu, Mary
Emil Jannings, Lon Chaney, Paul Robeson, John GIlbert, Carl Van Vechten, Warner Oland
Anna May Wong (January 3, 1905 – February 3, 1961) was an American actress. She is considered to be the first Chinese American movie star, and also the first Asian American actress to gain international recognition. Her long and varied career spanned silent film, sound film, television, stage and radio.
Wiki Bio Text
ANNA MAY WONG- WONG LIU TSONG
Anna May Wong (nee Wong Liu Tsong) was born January 3, 1905 in Los Angeles' Chinatown on Flower Street to second generation parents who ran a laundry. As a nine-year-old girl, she begged filmmakers for parts as they shot around downtown and was dubbed "CCC" (Curious Chinese Child). After she was cast in several films, she received top billing in The Toll of the Sea (the first film shot entirely in two-strip Technicolor process) and thereby became the first Chinese American movie star (and the first internationally known Asian American movie star).
Frustrated with the roles Hollywood offered Chinese Americans, Anna May Wong moved to Europe in 1928, where she was warmly received by critics. After making several films abroad, Paramount offered her a contract and the promise of lead roles.
Wong returned to the US in 1930, first appearing on Broadway in On the Spot. She continued working onstage and in Europe, still frustrated by Hollywood, especially after being denied a role in The Son-Daughter for being "too Chinese to play a Chinese." Although she continued to accept stereotypical roles, she was outspoken in the press about the need for positive portrayals of Chinese characters.
Wong's last two starring roles were in the Poverty Row anti-Japanese propaganda films, Bombs Over Burma and The Lady from Chungking, before she began accepting occasional roles on TV programs, including one written created especially for her, The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong, the first television steries with an Asian American star. She died in Santa Monica, California on February 2, 1961.
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