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Keye Luke

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Also Known As: Died: January 12, 1991
Born: June 18, 1904 Cause of Death: stroke
Birth Place: China Profession: actor, commercial artist, poster designer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Born in China but raised from childhood in Seattle, Luke entered the film industry as a billboard artist and caricaturist doing layout work for movie houses. He first acted when an MGM producer needed a Chinese actor with good English diction for a supporting role in the 1934 Greta Garbo film "The Painted Veil." A featured actor in between 100-150 films, Luke is best known as Lee Chan, the No. 1 Son in 13 Charlie Chan films beginning in the late 1930s and as Kato, the clever houseboy to the masked avenger in "The Green Hornet" serials. During Hollywood's "Yellow Peril" period, when Asian actors were often cast as villains, MGM signed Luke to play the eager young intern in the "Dr. Gillespie" film series with Lionel Barrymore. He was subsequently cast as "good guys"--ambitious young lawyers or detectives. Working consistently for over 60 years, Luke also made guest appearances on numerous TV shows and played Thomas Wong on "Kentucky Jones" (1964-65), Kralahome on the series "Anna and the King" (1972), the blind monk Master Po on "Kung Fu" (1972-75) and Dr. Fong on "Harry-O" (1976). After being identified as Charlie Chan's son for so many years, Luke supplied the voice of Charlie Chan himself on the...

Born in China but raised from childhood in Seattle, Luke entered the film industry as a billboard artist and caricaturist doing layout work for movie houses. He first acted when an MGM producer needed a Chinese actor with good English diction for a supporting role in the 1934 Greta Garbo film "The Painted Veil."

A featured actor in between 100-150 films, Luke is best known as Lee Chan, the No. 1 Son in 13 Charlie Chan films beginning in the late 1930s and as Kato, the clever houseboy to the masked avenger in "The Green Hornet" serials. During Hollywood's "Yellow Peril" period, when Asian actors were often cast as villains, MGM signed Luke to play the eager young intern in the "Dr. Gillespie" film series with Lionel Barrymore. He was subsequently cast as "good guys"--ambitious young lawyers or detectives.

Working consistently for over 60 years, Luke also made guest appearances on numerous TV shows and played Thomas Wong on "Kentucky Jones" (1964-65), Kralahome on the series "Anna and the King" (1972), the blind monk Master Po on "Kung Fu" (1972-75) and Dr. Fong on "Harry-O" (1976). After being identified as Charlie Chan's son for so many years, Luke supplied the voice of Charlie Chan himself on the Saturday morning cartoon "Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan" (1972-74).

Luke costarred on Broadway as the patriarch of a Chinese-American family in the 1958 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Flower Drum Song" for three years. More recently, he appeared as the Chinese merchant in both "Gremlin" films and made his final screen appearance as the Chinese herbalist, Dr. Yang, whose blend of Eastern herbs and Western psychiatry liberates Mia Farrow in the Woody Allen film "Alice" (1990).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) Mr Wing
2.
 The Mighty Quinn (1989) Dr Raj
3.
 Dead Heat (1988) Mr Thule
4.
 Blood Sport (1986) Dr Makimura
5.
 Kung Fu: The Movie (1986) Master Po
6.
 Fine Mess, A (1986) Ishimine
7.
 Blade in Hong Kong (1985) Chang Ching-Tzu
8.
 Gremlins (1984) Grandfather
9.
 Cocaine and Blue Eyes (1983) Tan Ng
10.
 Fly Away Home (1981) Duc
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Immigrated to USA as child and grew up in Seattle, WA
:
Entered the film industry as a billboard designer and caricaturist for Fox West Coast Theaters and RKO Studios
1934:
Became an actor when an MGM producer needed a Chinese actor with educated diction to play a supporting role in the Greta Garbo film, "The Painted Veil"
1935:
Starred as No. 1 Son in first of 13 Charlie Chan films
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Washington: Seattle , Washington -
Franklin High School: Seattle , Washington - 1922

Notes

Founding member of the Screen Actors Guild.

He won the first Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed by the Association of Asian/Pacific American Artists (1986)

A month before his death, Luke was honored by a sidewalk star in the Hollywood Hall of Fame (December, 1990)

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Ethel Davis. Married from 1942 until her death in 1979.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Ethel Longenecker.

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