Chinese/American actor Victor Sen Yung would always be limited by stereotype in his selection of film roles, but it cannot be denied that he did rather well for himself within those limitations. Billed simply as Sen Yung in his earliest films, the actor was elevated to semi-stardom as Jimmy Chan, number two son of screen sleuth Charlie Chan. He first essayed Jimmy in 1938's Charlie Chan in Honolulu, replacing number one son Keye Luke (both Luke and Yung would co-star in the 1948 Chan adventure The Feathered Serpent). Not much of an actor at the outset, Yung received on-the-job training in the Chan films, and by 1941 was much in demand for solid character roles. With the absence of genuine Japanese actors during World War II (most were in relocation camps), Yung specialized in assimilated, sophisticated, but nearly always villainous Japanese in such films as Across the Pacific (1942). Remaining busy into the '50s, Yung co-starred in both the stage and screen versions of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song. His longest-lasting assignment in the '60s was as temperamental cook Hop Sing on the TV series Bonanza. Victor Sen Yung died in his North Hollywood home of accidental asphyxiation at the age of 65.
by Hal Erickson biography