Actor James Hong was working as a nightclub comic in San Francisco and Hawaii when he was tapped for his first regular TV role: "Number One Son" Barry Chan in the Anglo-American co-production The New Adventures of Charlie Chan (1957). Hong would later appear as Frank Chen in Jigsaw John (1976) and Wang in Switch (1977-78). In theatrical features, he played characters bearing such flavorful monikers as Chew, Lo Pan and Bing Wong. He was seen as Faye Dunaway's butler in Roman Polanski's Chinatown (1974), repeating the role (minus Faye) in the 1990 sequel The Two Jakes. One of his most sizeable screen roles was Lamont Cranston's brainy assistant Li Peng in The Shadow (1994). James Hong has also directed a brace of feature films, including 1979's The Girls Next Door and 1989's The Vineyard.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Although born in America, was educated partly in Hong Kong, where his father was from.
- Before becoming an actor, gained a degree in civil engineering and worked as a road engineer in Los Angeles for seven years, using his holidays and sick days for auditions and acting.
- Enrolled in the United States Army during the Korean War, but quickly gained such a reputation for entertaining troops that, before he was deployed, he was asked to stay behind and oversee the army camp's live shows.
- As well as acting, has tried his hand at directing, producing and writing.
- Has an extensive filmography as an actor, with well over 500 films to his name.
- Starred in two totally unrelated films entitled China Girl; one in 1974 and one in 1987.
- Although not necessarily a household name, is a favourite amongst film enthusiasts, with roles in many cult classics including Mulan, Blade Runner, Big Trouble in Little China, Wayne’s World and Kung Fu Panda.