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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.
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