Though often cast as a Japanese or Chinese character, LA-born actor Philip Ahn was of Korean extraction. In films from 1936, Ahn spent the war years portraying dozens of heartless Japanese spies and military officers; ironically, the actor's father was a Korean diplomat who died in a Japanese concentration camp. After the war, Ahn was occasionally permitted to play a sympathetic role, minus stereotypical accent and mannerisms; cast as a lab technician in 1950's The Big Hangover, he has almost as much screen time as nominal star Van Johnson. One of his most substantial roles was as Chinese businessman Po Chang, foster father of young Caucasian tycoon Frank Garlund (Charles Quinlivan) on the brief 1960 TV weekly The Garlund Touch. At the time of his death from lung cancer at age 66, Philip Ahn was best known to American TV addicts as Master Kan on the TV series Kung Fu.
by Hal Erickson biography