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Chinese Language Center

Famous Chinese Americans Entertainment: Acting

  Who What
Gong Li

b. 1965, Shenyang
China's most acclaimed actress in the West for her superb acting skills and subdued beauty. Gong Li was discovered by director Zhang Yimou and starred in his first film, Red Sorghum, while still a student at the Central Academy of Drama. She would star in all of his movies for the next decade. These included Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern, The Story of Qiu Ju, To Live, and Shanghai Triad. She also starred in several acclaimed movies by director Chen Kaige: Farewell My Concubine, Temptress Moon and The Emperor and the Assassin. She also starred in the American movie Chinese Box.
Kelly Hu

b. 1968, Hawaii
Hu won the title of Miss Teen USA in 1985, the first Asian American to do so. After moving to the mainland, she appeared in a number of commercials and small parts in several TV shows and movies. Her training in the martial arts earned her a recurring role in the TV show Martial Law (starring Sammo Hung). In 2002, she co-starred in her first major film role opposite The Rock in The Scorpion King. More recently, she appeared in the Jet Li movie Cradle 2 the Grave and as Lady Deathstrike in the X-Men sequel, X2: X-Men United.
Sammo Hung

b. 1952, Hong Kong

Sammo learned acting, acrobatics and martial arts at the Peking Opera School. He then worked as a stuntman and action director. He directed his first film, The Iron Fisted Monk, in 1977, which he followed with a series of kung fu comedy films, including Enter the Fat Dragon. Later on he collaborated with two of his Opera School classmates, Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao in a string of successful movies, including Winners and Sinners. He also directed Eastern Condors, Once Upon a Time in China and America, and Mr Nice Guy.

  Malese Jow

b. 1991, Tulsa, Oklahoma
A talented teen actress, singer, and songwriter, she was born of a Chinese father and a Caucasian mother with Cherokee Indian blood. She played the role of Geena Fabiano in the Nickelodeon show Unfabulous for three seasons and appears in Bratz, the Movie. Prior to that, she competed in Ed McMahon's Next Big Star and appeared in some McDonald commercials. More recently, she's appeared in a number of TV shows and has been doing some songwriting.
Nancy Kwan

b. 1939, Hong Kong
Kwan, daughter of a Chinese father and a British mother, was an 18-year old student at the British Royal Ballet School, when she was tapped for the title role in The World of Suzie Wong. The next year she starred in the movie version of The Flower Drum Song, the first major Hollywood film with an all Asian American cast. Her subsequent movies were less successful but she continued to appear in various movie and TV roles, including the Noble House miniseries. She also owned her own production company in Hong Kong, producing commercials for the Southeast Asian market. More recently, she has served as the spokesperson for the Asian American Voters Coalition.