Victor Wong

Actor, Journalist, TV reporter
Heavy-lidded Chinese-American character actor who brought his slightly puffy features and an assured, amiable playing style to a series of wizened film roles in the 1980s and 90s. Born in San Francisco's Chinatown to ... Read more »
Born: 07/30/1927 in San Francisco, California, USA

Filmography

Actor (30)

3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain 1998 (Movie)

Grandpa Mori (Actor)

My America...or Honk if You Love Buddha 1997 (Movie)

Narration (Narrator)

Seven Years in Tibet 1997 (Movie)

Chinese (Actor)

3 Ninjas Knuckle Up 1995 (Movie)

Grandpa (Actor)

Jade 1995 (Movie)

Mr Wong (Actor)

The Devil Takes a Holiday 1995 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Stars Fell on Henrietta 1995 (Movie)

(Actor)

3 Ninjas Kick Back 1994 (Movie)

Grandpa (Actor)

The Adventurers (Da Mao Xian Jia) 1994 (Movie)

Uncle Nine (Actor)

The Ice Runner 1993 (Movie)

Fyodor (Actor)

The Joy Luck Club 1993 (Movie)

Old Chong (Actor)

3 Ninjas 1992 (Movie)

Grandpa (Actor)

Cageman 1991 (Movie)

(Actor)

Mystery Date 1991 (Movie)

Janitor (Actor)

Nightsongs 1991 (Movie)

Fung Leung (Actor)

Life Is Cheap... But Toilet Paper Is Expensive 1990 (Movie)

Blind Man (Actor)

Tremors 1990 (Movie)

Walter Chang (Actor)

Eat a Bowl of Tea 1989 (Movie)

Wah Gay (Actor)

Bloodsport 1988 (Movie)

Fighter (Actor)

Bloodsport 1988 (Movie)

Fighter (Actor)

Solo 1988 (Movie)

Frank (Actor)

Last Emperor 1987 (Movie)

Chen Pao Shen (Actor)

Prince of Darkness 1987 (Movie)

Birack (Actor)

Big Trouble in Little China 1986 (Movie)

Egg Shen (Actor)

Shanghai Surprise 1986 (Movie)

Ho Chong (Actor)

The Golden Child 1986 (Movie)

The Old Man (Actor)

The Mosquito Coast 1986 (Movie)

Gowdy (Actor)

Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart 1985 (Movie)

Uncle Tam (Actor)

Paper Angels 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Year of the Dragon 1985 (Movie)

Harry Yung (Actor)

Biography

Heavy-lidded Chinese-American character actor who brought his slightly puffy features and an assured, amiable playing style to a series of wizened film roles in the 1980s and 90s. Born in San Francisco's Chinatown to immigrant parents, Wong went to college originally intending to follow in his father's footsteps and enter politics, possibly back in China. When China became Communist, though, he moved back to San Francisco and fell in with the "Beat" movement of the early 60s. (He was one of Ken Kesey's "Merry Pranksters" and Jack Kerouac even wrote about Wong in "Big Sun".) Wong later became one of TV's first Chinese-American reporters when he worked for PBS Channel 9 from 1968 to 1974. A bout with the face-paralyzing Bell's palsy made him leave TV, though, and he went into stage acting instead.<p>After gaining experience in San Francisco's Little Theater and Asian-American theater scenes, Wong acted in New York in the David Henry Hwang plays "Family Devotions" and "Sound and Beauty". He also understudied on Broadway for David Hare's "Plenty" and did a TV stint on "Search for Tomorrow". Wong's film breakthrough came with his Uncle Tam in Wayne Wang's low-key "Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart" (1985) and he was suddenly much in demand in features.<p>Some of Wong's best roles came in later Wang films: in the comedy "Eat a Bowl of Tea" (1989) he amusingly played a New York gambling club owner who goes after his cuckold son's rival with a meat ax. He appeared in "Life Is Cheap...But Toilet Paper Is Expensive" (1989) as the blind man, and in "The Joy Luck Club" (1993) as Old Chong. The latter role typified many of Wong's more standardized roles, as with his wise man in the strange Eddie Murphy vehicle, "The Golden Child" (1986) and the grandfather of "3 Ninjas" (1992) and its sequels. "The Last Emperor" (1987), though, enabled Wong to recreate part of Chinese history, as did the TV-movie "Forbidden Nights" (1990), set during the Cultural Revolution, and the PBS "American Playhouse" drama, "Paper Angels" (1986), which explored the treatment of Chinese immigrants to America.<p>Wong has also been billed as 'Victor K. Wong'; he is not to be confused with Los Angeles-born character actor Victor Wong (born September 24, 1906; died April 7, 1972), whose credits included "Son of Kong" (1933) and "Without Regret" (1935).

Relationships

Heather Wong-Xoquic

Daughter

Dawn Wong

Wife
survived him

Emily Wong

Daughter
survived him

EDUCATION

University of California at Berkeley

Berkeley , California

University of Chicago

Chicago , Illinois

University of California at Berkeley

Berkeley , California

San Francisco Art Institute

San Francisco , California

Milestones

1998

Suffered two strokes and retired from acting

1992

Received top billing in the US-South Korean co-produced martial arts comedy, "3 Ninjas"; also first played the role of "Grandpa", which he would recreate for several sequels

1990

TV-movie debut, "Forbidden Nights"; received second billing to Melissa Gilbert

1987

First non-US feature credit, "The Last Emperor", an Italian-Chinese co-production

1986

Earliest TV appearances included a major role in "Paper Angels", presented on PBS as a one-hour installment of "American Playhouse"

1985

First film for director Wayne Wang, "Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart"

1983

Feature film debut, "Nightsongs"

1983

Served as an understudy for the Off-Broadway production of David Hare's play, "Plenty"

1968

Worked as a TV news reporter for the Public Broadcasting System; suffering from Bell's Palsy made him leave reporting; later took up acting

Moved back to San Francisco and became involved with the "Beat Generation" scene of the early 1960s; performed for a time with Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters

Acted for a time on the daytime drama series, "Search for Tomorrow"

Studied at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Chicago, planning to follow his father's lead and enter politics, possibly in his parents' native China, but gave up idea when the country became Communist

Became involved in San Francisco's little theater and Asian-American theater scenes

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