Family & Companions
After winning numerous karate and kung fu championships throughout his adolescence, Mark Dacascos switched gears to become a noted actor and television personality. Born on Feb. 26, 1964 in Honolulu, HI, Dacascos was raised in a martial arts home by his father, Al, a former kung fu champion and founder of the Wun Hop Kuen Do fighting style, and his mother, Moriko, one of Al's students. When he was around 6 years old, the family moved to Denver, CO, where Dacascos began his formal martial arts training. A year later, he was competing in his first tournaments. At 11 years old, the family moved to Hamburg, Germany while he continued to train and compete. When he was 17, Dacascos traveled to Taiwan to study Mandarin and Shaolin Kung Fu. After being named European Kung Fu Champion in the lightweight category, he was discovered by Asian filmmaker, Wayne Wang, while walking the streets in San Francisco. Wang cast the young Dacascos in "Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart" (1985), though ultimately his scenes wound up on the cutting room floor. Nonetheless, his acting career had begun.
Dacascos moved to Los Angeles where he found steady work portraying a young Conan the Barbarian on the Universal Studios tour while appearing in a handful of small parts on television and in movies, including a role as a police cadet on the daytime soap, "General Hospital" (ABC, 1963- ). After an episode of "Doogie Howser, M.D." (ABC, 1990-93), he made his feature debut in the martial arts action thriller, "Angel Town" (1990). Following a small role as a karate teacher in the made-for-television movie, "Dead on the Money" (TNT, 1991), Dacascos had his first starring role in "Only the Strong" (1993), in which he played a former Marine who teaches a group of rough, inner city kids the art of discipline. With his acting career on the rise, he appeared in numerous projects, including "American Samurai" (1993), "Double Dragon" (1994) and "The Redemption" (HBO, 1995), where he played an American kickboxer who travels to South Africa to avenge the deaths of two friends at the hands of a ruthless promoter. Dacascos landed a major studio feature with a supporting role opposite Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer in "The Island of Dr. Moreau" (1996).
Though he made strides in the feature world, Dacascos found greater success on the small screen with leading roles in made-for-television action thrillers like "Redline" (HBO, 1997), "Drive" (HBO, 1997) and "DNA" (HBO, 1997). He was the series lead on "The Crow: Stairway to Heaven" (Syndicated, 1998-2000), which was based on the action movie, "The Crow" (1994), starring Brandon Lee. Dacascos played murdered rock star, Eric Draven, who uses his fate of being trapped between the living and the dead to defend the powerless. Following leading roles in "Sanctuary" (HBO, 1998) and "No Code of Conduct" (USA Network, 1998), he returned to features with "China Strike Force" (2000) and "Brotherhood of the Wolf" (2001). Dacascos had a high-profile supporting role opposite Jet Li and DMX in the popular actioner "Cradle 2 the Grave" (2003), which he followed with an episode of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000-15) and the lead in "Solar Strike" (Sci Fi Channel, 2006). Dacascos took his career in a different direction when he signed on to "Iron Chef America" (Food Network, 2005-14), on which he portrayed The Chairman, a master-of-ceremonies for high-action battles between chefs. Meanwhile, he joined the season nine cast of "Dancing With the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ) to try his hand on the dance floor.
Cast (Feature Film)
Stunts (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Moved to Denver and began his Martial Arts training at an early age under the tutelage of his parents
Competed in his first martial arts tournament at seven
Moved to Hamburg, Germany with his family at age 11
At age 17, traveled to Taiwan to study Mandarin and Shaolin Kung Fu
Named European Kung Fu Champion in the lightweight category
Cast in first film, Wayne Wang's "Dim Sum: A Little bit of Heart"; scenes ended up on the cutting room floor
First TV appearance, played a police cadet in ABC's daytime drama, "General Hospital"
Made feature acting debut in "Angel Town"
Played a karate teacher in the TNT movie, "Dead on the Money"
First starring role in a feature film, "Only the Strong"
First collaboration with director Christophe Gans, "Crying Freeman"
Had a supporting role in the remake of "The Island of Dr. Moreau"
Played the lead role of Eric Draven in the syndicated series, "The Crow: Stairway to Heaven"; role originally played by Brandon Lee in the 1994 film "The Crow"
Acted with Martin and Charlie Sheen in "No Code of Conduct"; aired on the USA Network in lieu of a theatrical release
Played a supporting role in "China Strike Force"
Re-teamed with Christophe Gans for "Le Pacte des loups / Brotherhood of the Wolf"
Joined Jet Li and DMX for the thriller, "Cradle 2 the Grave"
Portrays 'the Chairman' on Food Network's television series, "Iron Chef America"
Had a supporting role, opposite Cedric the Entertainer, in the comedy "Code Name: The Cleaner"
Joined the ninth season of ABC's reality series "Dancing with the Stars" as a competitor
Joined the cast of the CBS remake, "Hawaii Five-0" as supervillain Wo Fat