Cookies   I display ads to cover the expenses. See the privacy policy for more information. You can keep or reject the ads.

Video thumbnail
(upbeat xylophone music)
- I'm the actor who has the most credits ever,
alive or dead.
500 credits or so on TV and motion pictures.
However, when I started here in Hollywood,
Asian-Americans had no identity.
We're just thrown into the category
of the Chinese or the Japanese actors.
I had felt that we have to do something to change things.
Now that I'm 90-years-old,
I have to be proud of what I've done.
We have to keep it going.
(upbeat music)
My name is James Hong.
I've been acting over 66 years.
I can name a few roles that people can recognize me in.
"Blade Runner," "Seinfeld," "Wayne's World 2, "R.I.P.D,"
"Big Bang Theory," Mr. Ping in "Kung Fu Panda."
Po, Po, what are you doing upstairs, Po?
And how can I forget "Mulan," Chi Fu?
Who stole my slippers?
Everybody in this family has to fight for the Emperor now!
Out of the 500, you can almost say
I played 10 roles that are non-Asian.
The feeling of wanting to be an actor was always there.
I used to do voices in front of the mirror and so forth.
I ended up in the early career mostly playing a laundryman
or a persecuted Chinaman by the whites
and then always being rescued.
We were never the mainstream people.
Even though I was cast in those cliche roles,
I did the best as an actor to overcome the clicheness.
I took those roles and then put the real feelings,
even if it's a villain, like "Big Trouble in Little China."
You never could beat me, Egg Shen.
In those early days, there were never any leading roles
for Asians.
It was back in 1962 that I started to realize
that we had to do something.
I got together 10 people
who were interested in studying acting
and then we formerly formed the East West Players
for Asian-American writers, directors, actors
to showcase works by Asians.
That started the industry noticing who we were,
and so that gave a chance
for all the actors to move forward.
We weren't just extras or gimmick people;
we were the main, leading people.
Through the doors have come through many, many people
who are prominent and contributed work
to the East West Players
like Randall Park and George Takei and BD Wong.
I think it's extremely important
to have a good image on the screen.
The young people get influenced by the image that they see.
Asians are beginning to do their own plays
and TV series and movies,
so it's only a matter of time
American-Asians will move forward.
- Sounds good.
- Come on in.
I could just retire on my pension
but something inside of me that wants to keep on going
and do more movies and just keep pushing forward.
(playful music)