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Also Known As: Victor K Wong, Yee-Keung Victor Wong Died: September 12, 2001
Born: July 31, 1927 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: San Francisco, California, USA Profession: actor, TV reporter, journalist, photographer, acupuncturist, store window display artist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Heavy-lidded Chinese-American character actor who brought his slightly puffy features and an assured, amiable playing style to a series of wizened film roles in the 1980s and 90s. Born in San Francisco's Chinatown to immigrant parents, Wong went to college originally intending to follow in his father's footsteps and enter politics, possibly back in China. When China became Communist, though, he moved back to San Francisco and fell in with the "Beat" movement of the early 60s. (He was one of Ken Kesey's "Merry Pranksters" and Jack Kerouac even wrote about Wong in "Big Sun".) Wong later became one of TV's first Chinese-American reporters when he worked for PBS Channel 9 from 1968 to 1974. A bout with the face-paralyzing Bell's palsy made him leave TV, though, and he went into stage acting instead.After gaining experience in San Francisco's Little Theater and Asian-American theater scenes, Wong acted in New York in the David Henry Hwang plays "Family Devotions" and "Sound and Beauty". He also understudied on Broadway for David Hare's "Plenty" and did a TV stint on "Search for Tomorrow". Wong's film breakthrough came with his Uncle Tam in Wayne Wang's low-key "Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart" (1985) and...

Heavy-lidded Chinese-American character actor who brought his slightly puffy features and an assured, amiable playing style to a series of wizened film roles in the 1980s and 90s. Born in San Francisco's Chinatown to immigrant parents, Wong went to college originally intending to follow in his father's footsteps and enter politics, possibly back in China. When China became Communist, though, he moved back to San Francisco and fell in with the "Beat" movement of the early 60s. (He was one of Ken Kesey's "Merry Pranksters" and Jack Kerouac even wrote about Wong in "Big Sun".) Wong later became one of TV's first Chinese-American reporters when he worked for PBS Channel 9 from 1968 to 1974. A bout with the face-paralyzing Bell's palsy made him leave TV, though, and he went into stage acting instead.

After gaining experience in San Francisco's Little Theater and Asian-American theater scenes, Wong acted in New York in the David Henry Hwang plays "Family Devotions" and "Sound and Beauty". He also understudied on Broadway for David Hare's "Plenty" and did a TV stint on "Search for Tomorrow". Wong's film breakthrough came with his Uncle Tam in Wayne Wang's low-key "Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart" (1985) and he was suddenly much in demand in features.

Some of Wong's best roles came in later Wang films: in the comedy "Eat a Bowl of Tea" (1989) he amusingly played a New York gambling club owner who goes after his cuckold son's rival with a meat ax. He appeared in "Life Is Cheap...But Toilet Paper Is Expensive" (1989) as the blind man, and in "The Joy Luck Club" (1993) as Old Chong. The latter role typified many of Wong's more standardized roles, as with his wise man in the strange Eddie Murphy vehicle, "The Golden Child" (1986) and the grandfather of "3 Ninjas" (1992) and its sequels. "The Last Emperor" (1987), though, enabled Wong to recreate part of Chinese history, as did the TV-movie "Forbidden Nights" (1990), set during the Cultural Revolution, and the PBS "American Playhouse" drama, "Paper Angels" (1986), which explored the treatment of Chinese immigrants to America.

Wong has also been billed as 'Victor K. Wong'; he is not to be confused with Los Angeles-born character actor Victor Wong (born September 24, 1906; died April 7, 1972), whose credits included "Son of Kong" (1933) and "Without Regret" (1935).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Paper Dragons (2005)
2.
 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998) Grandpa Mori
4.
 Seven Years in Tibet (1997) Chinese
6.
 Adventurers, The (1995) Uncle Nine
8.
 Jade (1995) Mr Wong
9.
 3 Ninjas Knuckle Up (1995) Grandpa
10.
 3 Ninjas Kick Back (1994) Grandpa
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Studied at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Chicago, planning to follow his father's lead and enter politics, possibly in his parents' native China, but gave up idea when the country became Communist
:
Moved back to San Francisco and became involved with the "Beat Generation" scene of the early 1960s; performed for a time with Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters
:
Became involved in San Francisco's little theater and Asian-American theater scenes
1968:
Worked as a TV news reporter for the Public Broadcasting System; suffering from Bell's Palsy made him leave reporting; later took up acting
:
Acted for a time on the daytime drama series, "Search for Tomorrow"
1983:
Served as an understudy for the Off-Broadway production of David Hare's play, "Plenty"
1983:
Feature film debut, "Nightsongs"
1985:
First film for director Wayne Wang, "Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart"
1986:
Earliest TV appearances included a major role in "Paper Angels", presented on PBS as a one-hour installment of "American Playhouse"
1987:
First non-US feature credit, "The Last Emperor", an Italian-Chinese co-production
1990:
TV-movie debut, "Forbidden Nights"; received second billing to Melissa Gilbert
1992:
Received top billing in the US-South Korean co-produced martial arts comedy, "3 Ninjas"; also first played the role of "Grandpa", which he would recreate for several sequels
1998:
Suffered two strokes and retired from acting
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of California at Berkeley: Berkeley , California -
University of California at Berkeley: Berkeley , California -
University of Chicago: Chicago , Illinois -
San Francisco Art Institute: San Francisco , California -

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Dawn Rose Wong. Survived him.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Emily Wong. Survived him.
daughter:
Heather Wong-Xoquic.

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