skip navigation
Nancy Kwan

Nancy Kwan

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (2)

Also Known As: Ka Shin Kwan Died:
Born: May 19, 1939 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Hong Kong Profession: actor, dancer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

As a young girl growing up in postwar Hong Kong, Nancy Kwan was physically active. She was a bit of a tomboy and excelled at sports and Tai Chi. At age 12, she was sent to England to study ballet; she went on to dance in productions of "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty" and eventually to earn her teaching certificate. One day, at the age of 18, when she was visiting her home country for summer holidays, she had a big break. Director Ray Stark was searching for a Chinese actress to play the title character in his upcoming film, an adaptation of the Richard Mason novel "The World of Suzie Wong," the story of a romance between a struggling American artist and the daughter of a wealthy Chinese businessman, set in Hong Kong. Kwan was chosen out of 500 applicants, despite her lack of acting experience. Her success in that part immediately opened the door to further opportunities, and the next year she was putting her dancing skills to work in the lead role of the film adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway hit "Flower Drum Song," another interracial romance, set in San Francisco. In the 1980s, Kwan made a push into television where she appeared on many of the staples of the day such as "The...

As a young girl growing up in postwar Hong Kong, Nancy Kwan was physically active. She was a bit of a tomboy and excelled at sports and Tai Chi. At age 12, she was sent to England to study ballet; she went on to dance in productions of "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty" and eventually to earn her teaching certificate. One day, at the age of 18, when she was visiting her home country for summer holidays, she had a big break. Director Ray Stark was searching for a Chinese actress to play the title character in his upcoming film, an adaptation of the Richard Mason novel "The World of Suzie Wong," the story of a romance between a struggling American artist and the daughter of a wealthy Chinese businessman, set in Hong Kong. Kwan was chosen out of 500 applicants, despite her lack of acting experience. Her success in that part immediately opened the door to further opportunities, and the next year she was putting her dancing skills to work in the lead role of the film adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway hit "Flower Drum Song," another interracial romance, set in San Francisco. In the 1980s, Kwan made a push into television where she appeared on many of the staples of the day such as "The A-Team" and "Fantasy Island." She eventually started her own commercial production company and is now mostly widely recognized for her role in infomercials for the beauty product Pearl Cream.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

4.
 Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993) Gussie Yang
5.
 Miracle Landing (1990) C B Lansing
6.
 Babies (1990) Dr Liu
7.
 Night Children (1989)
8.
 Cold Dog Soup (1989) Madame Chang
9.
 Stickfighter (1989)
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Contributions

albatros1 ( 2007-10-12 )

Source: Wikipedia The Internet Encyclopedia

Nancy Kwan (born May 19, 1939) (Traditional Chinese: pinyin: Guān Jiāqiàn; Cantonese: Kwan Ka Shin) is an American actress, who played a pivotal role in the acceptance of actors of Asian descent in major Hollywood film roles. Widely praised for her beauty, Kwan was considered a major sex symbol in the 1960s. Nancy Kwan was born in Hong Kong to a Chinese father, architect Kwan Wing Hong, and Scottish mother, model Marquita Scott. Her parents divorced when she was two years old. During the Japanese invasion in December 1941, Kwan's father, who worked for British intelligence, fled the city on foot along with Nancy and her brother, Ka Keung, and hid out in western China. The family returned to Hong Kong at the end of World War II. Kwan later studied at the Royal Ballet School in England, performing in Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty at Covent Garden. She completed her studies with a certificate to teach ballet. While she was in England, producer Ray Stark discovered her. At the time, Asian film characters, particularly those in major film roles, were often played by white actors and actresses, using makeup to simulate Asian facial features. However, at the age of 18, Kwan received the starring role of a beautiful and free-spirited Hong Kong prostitute who captivates artist Robert Lomax (William Holden) in the film adaptation of The World of Suzie Wong (1960). She followed it up the next year with the hit musical film Flower Drum Song (1961) and became one of Hollywood's most visible Eurasian actresses. She became a style icon for the signature Vidal Sassoon bob cut she wore in the 1963 film, "The Wild Affair." The assymetrical hairstyle became a 60's staple and variations of the cut are still being modeled today. She spent the 1960s starring in several films, such as The Wrecking Crew (movie) and appearing on such television series as, Hawaii Five-O. During this period of time, she commuted between the United States and Europe. Kwan married Austrian ski instructor Peter Pock and gave birth to a son, Bernhard Pock (Bernie), who died at age 33 in 1996 of AIDS which he contracted from his wife. Kwan returned to her native Hong Kong in 1972 to be with her critically ill father. After his death, she married director-producer Norbert Meisel and returned to the United States. Since returning to the USA in 1979, she has had guest appearances and co-starring roles on numerous television productions, such as Kung Fu, The A-Team and ER. She has also appeared on television commercials even into the 1990s. Today she is politically active as the spokeswoman for the Asian American Voters Coalition.

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute