Everything everywhere all at once. Big problem in little China. kung fu panda. Archer. The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr..Perry Mason and Swat Kats and The New Adventures of Charlie Chan and Tango & Money And the list continues. With over 650 professional television and film appearances to his credit, James Hong is one of the most prolific and eclectic artists to ever grace the screen. If cinema is an institution, it is surely one of its strongest pillars. Like Milton Berle, Charlton Heston and Sydney Poitier, his face and voice are instantly recognizable and his status as a fan favorite is undeniable. Unlike his fellow giants, however, his talents went mostly unrecognized in the industry. A small step towards rectifying this mistake came as Hong received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame yesterday, thanks to the efforts of fellow Asian American star Daniel Dae Kim and a viral internet campaign. .
James Hong got his start in the 1950s, after serving at Forts McClellan and Rucker during the Korean War. Arguably his most famous role is as the ghostly wizard Lo Pan in John Carpenter’s Big problem in little China, but it’s impossible to confine him to just one role after nearly 70 years of performing that includes radio, live television and film appearances, and hundreds of roles in home and film animation. His distinctive voice appeared everywhere from Diablo video games at My little Pony episodes. Often one-off appearances but sometimes recurring characters, they make a two-way impression and he is instantly recognizable. Just go to him IMDB page; in fact, reading its list of roles takes several minutes and quite a bit of scrolling.
Daniel Dae Kim has launched an internet fundraiser in 2020 to win the required $55,000 for the star. He reached his goal in 4 days. Yesterday with Kim and Everything everywhere all at once co-star Jamie Lee Curtis in attendance, Hong finally received his star at the age of 93.
The man is just the best. Despite a distressing lack of awards, Hong is part of so many genre-defining hits that he is Hollywood history all on his own. He made a fantastic villain in Big Trouble in Little China, and even the absurd (very entertaining) Tango & Cash. His turn as Lee Pow on Bruce Campbell The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. is one of the most memorable for me. The bizarre little steampunk cowboy sci-fi comedy that, like so many others, was canceled early by Fox gave Hong 3 appearances as the leader of the Scar-Foot Clan, a Chinese labor organization who watch over their people as they build the national railroads. . It’s a role that comes with some uncomfortable stereotypes by today’s standards, but Hong seemed to really enjoy his appearances and played well against Campbell’s affability. More recently, he has come to prominence for his incredible work in Everything everywhere all at onceplaying Michelle Yeoh’s senile father, Gong Gong.
Hong has also written a film, Patsy Lee & The Keepers of the 5 Kingdoms, currently in the post. He embodies a grandfather transported into a mystical world with his granddaughter, played by Michelle Mao. Mao was recently seen in Netflix Metal Lords. The film is directed by Zack Wardwho you’ve seen in a lot of stuff but is perhaps most memorable as Scut Farkus, the coonskin-wearing bully in the 1983s A Christmas story. I’m still wrapping my head around that one.
Despite her age, Hong has no intention of taking it easy, recounting Variety “Even if I wanted to retire, I don’t think they would let me.” If he ever hangs up, the number of available Hollywood roles should increase by at least 20%. Here is James Hong and his amazing career.
I never realized how much a GIF could make you miss someone |
Image sources (in order of publication): Getty, Albert L. Ortega