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Famous Chinese Americans Entertainment: Acting

  Who What
Bai Ling

b. 1970, Szechwan

Actress. She starter her career at 14 as an entertainer in the People's Liberation Army. She later performed in the theatre and film before her first starring role in 1989. She went to New York University to study and played a minor role in The Crow. Her first major American starring role came with Red Corner, a thriller which painted an unflattering picture of China's legal system. As a result, Bai Ling had her Chinese passport cancelled and lost roles in two Chinese projects. She played minor roles in Wild, Wild West and Anna and the King. She has also made guest appearance on several TV programs and starred in the The Lost Empire mini-series.

Jackie Chan

b. 1954, Hong Kong

World-renowned kung-fu actor and director. Chan trained for ten years at a Peking Opera school starting at the age of seven. He worked as a stuntman for many years before getting starring roles. Snake in the Eagle's Shadow and Drunken Master propelled him to fame with the combination of humor and daring stunts that would become his trademark. He directed his first film in The Young Master and directed and scripted many of his subsequent movies. He appeared in a few American movies without much success but his Hong Kong films continued to do well. These included Legend of the Drunken Master. Project A, Police Story, Supercop. Operation Condor. and Operation Condor 2: Armour of the Gods. His first major American success came in 1996 with Rumble in the Bronx. It would be followed by Rush Hour, Rush Hour 2, Shanghai Noon, Shanghai Knights, and The Tuxedo.

Chan published his autobiography, titled Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action, was published in 1999.

Rosalind Chao (Chao Jyalin)

b. 1949, Anaheim, CA
TV actress. She appeared in M*A*S*H and Different Strokes. She played the recurring role of Keiko O'Brien in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. She also appeared in The Joy Luck Club.
Joan Chen

b. 1961, Shanghai

Movie actress and director. She first appeared in several Chinese movies before coming to the US for further study. Her first starring role in an American movie was in Tai-pan, the adaptation of the Clavell novel, quickly followed by Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor. She also appeared in the Twin Peaks TV mini-series. She went to Hong Kong to star in Temptation of a Monk but returned to Hollywood to appear in On Deadly Ground and Judge Dredd . She turned to directing her own project in 1998 with Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl, which was secretly filmed on location in Tibet and was promptly banned in China. It won critical acclaim and enabled her to direct her first Hollywood film Autumn in New York.

Chow Yun Fat

b. 1955, Hong Kong

Movie actor famed for his personification of cool character in Hong Kong and, more recently, Hollywood action films. He started his career in Hong Kong TV but switched to films in the mid-1970s. His first major breakthrough came with John Woo's A Better Tomorrow, the start of the popular Hong Kong gangster film genre. He would star in its two sequels (A Better Tomorrow II, A Better Tomorrow III) but also play comedic and romantic roles at the same time in movies such as Dream Lovers and Once a Thief. However, what really established his international reputation were action films like Prison on Fire, The Killer, and Hard-Boiled. He finally starred in his first American films in 1998 with The Replacement Killers, followed by the The Corruptors and Anna and the King. In 2000, he starred in his first martial arts film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.