James Hong: From 'Kung Fu Panda' to 600+ Hollywood Roles

James Hong's Historic Milestone Celebrated in Los Angeles

by Zain ul Abedin
James Hong: From 'Kung Fu Panda' to 600+ Hollywood Roles
© Amy Sussman/Getty Images

In a landmark celebration that underscores the depth and diversity of Hollywood's talent pool, 95-year-old Asian-American acting icon James Hong was recently honored with a ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.

The event, which drew a distinguished crowd including family and notable figures like Lucy Liu, not only highlighted Hong's enduring legacy but also his significant contributions to the cinematic world. With a career spanning over seven decades and boasting more than 600 acting credits, Hong's portfolio includes revered classics such as "Blade Runner," "Chinatown," and beloved animations like "Kung Fu Panda" and "Turning Red." Born on February 22, 1929, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Frank Wu Hong and Lee Shui Fa, who hailed from Hong Kong, James Hong's journey into the realms of acting is as storied as it is inspirational.

Despite spending a part of his childhood in Hong Kong, Hong's formative years in the United States were marked by a determined struggle against the typecasting and marginalization prevalent in Hollywood at the time. His roles in the 1950s paved the way for a career that would see him break barriers and redefine Asian-American representation in the industry.

Hong's Hollywood Legacy

Hong's recent accolade at the TCL Chinese Theatre, coinciding with his birthday, serves as a testament to his indelible impact on Hollywood. Attired with the elegance befitting a star of his caliber, Hong's celebration was a reflection of his vibrant career and his contributions to paving the way for future generations of Asian-American actors.

In addition to his memorable performances, Hong has been a vocal advocate for diversity and representation, co-founding the East West Players in 1965, an organization dedicated to showcasing Asian-American stories and talent.

His activism and dedication to the cause have been instrumental in fostering a more inclusive and representative Hollywood. Beyond his professional achievements, Hong's personal life, marked by a longstanding marriage since 1977 and a loving family including three daughters and eight grandchildren, mirrors his rich and multifaceted career.

Fluent in English, Cantonese, and with a proficiency in Mandarin, Hong's linguistic skills have added depth to his performances, notably surprising co-stars with his versatility on the set of "Everything Everywhere All At Once."

Hollywood Los Angeles