Marlon Brando & Miiko Taka; “Sayonara” 1957
Humphrey Bogart & Philip Ahn; “Across the Pacific” 1942
Amy Way Wong with Dachshund
Anna May Wong (nee Wong Liu Tsong) was born January 3, 1905 in Los Angeles' Chinatown on Flower Street to second generation parents who ran a laundry. As a nine-year-old girl, she begged filmmakers for parts as they shot around downtown and was dubbed “CCC” (Curious Chinese Child). After she was cast in several films, she received top billing in The Toll of the Sea (the first film shot entirely in two-strip Technicolor process) and thereby became the first Chinese American movie star (and the first internationally known Asian American movie star). However, frustrated with the roles Hollywood offered Chinese Americans, she moved to Europe in 1928, where she was warmly received by critics. After making several films abroad, Paramount offered her a contract and the promise of lead roles. She returned to the US in 1930, first appearing on Broadway in On the Spot. She continued working onstage and in Europe, still frustrated by Hollywood, especially after being denied a role in The Son-Daughter for being “too Chinese to play a Chinese.” Although she continued to accept stereotypical roles, she was outspoken in the press about the need for positive portrayals of Chinese characters. Her last two starring roles were in the Poverty Row anti-Japanese propaganda films, Bombs Over Burma and The Lady from Chungking, before she began accepting occasional roles on TV programs, including one written created especially for her, The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong, the first television steries with an Asian American star. She died in Santa Monica, California on February 2, 1961.
Etta Lee was born September 12, 1906 on Maui, Kingdom of Hawaii. She acted in fourteen films, playing both maids and slaves several times. She died October 27, 1956 in Eureka, California.