James Hong biography
Date of Birth: February 22, 1929
James Hong was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Chinese immigrants. Although he was born in the States, Hong was sent to live in Hong Kong when he was five for his early childhood education. At age 10, he returned to the U.S. where he would finally start to learn English.
He went on to study civil engineering at the University of Minnesota. During this time, Hong began doing stand-up comedy. He teamed up with Donald Parker and together they became the stand -up comedy duo known as “Hong and Parker.” The duo became a local success, so they decided to pursue their careers in Los Angeles, California.
For his senior year of university, Hong transferred to the University of Southern California. After graduating, he worked as a road engineer for the Los Angeles County Road Department. But that didn’t last long, since he quit to pursue acting.
Throughout the decades, he appeared in countless television shows and films. His most notable appearances included his roles as Faye Dunaway’s butler in Chinatown (1974) and as Chew in the sci-fi classic, Blade Runner (1982).
Due to the lack of good quality roles for Asian actors in Hollywood, Hong worked actively to make a change. To support Asian-American actors, Hong established the Association of Asian Pacific American Actors. He was also one of the founders of the East-West Players, which is now the oldest Asian-American theater in Los Angeles.
Arguably, his most popular roles came later to his career in the form of animated characters. The first came in 1998 when he provided the voice of Chi Fu in Disney’s < strong >Mulan strong >. In 2008, he played Mr. Ping, a duck with a panda son in DreamWorks’ < strong >Kung Fu Panda strong >. He went on to reprise that role in the film’s sequel and its various spin-offs. It also earned him multiple honors from the Annie Awards and Daytime Emmy Awards.
Hong is married to longtime wife Susan, with whom he has one child. The two married on October 1977. He was previously married to actress Pearl Huang, but the couple divorced in 1973.
Even in his 80s, Hong is not only still acting but also producing his own films. Most recently, he has played roles in R.I.P.D. (2013), Safe (2012) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008).
In addition to film and television, Hong has also done voice work for video games such as Alpha Protocol, World of Warcraft and Call of Duty.