Ming-Na Wen

Active - 1993 - Present  |   Born - May 20, 1963 in Coloane Island, Macau  |   Genres - Drama, Science Fiction

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Biography

An actress who can play period drama as convincingly as contemporary comedy, Ming-Na Wen was born in Macau, China, on November 20, 1963. When she was four, Ming-Na and her family pulled up stakes and moved to the United States, first settling in New York City and five years later relocating to Pittsburgh, PA, where her parents opened a restaurant, the Chinatown Inn (which they still operate today). In the third grade, Ming-Na played a bunny rabbit in a school play, and she was fascinated with the theater from that moment on; after graduating from high school, Ming-Na enrolled in Carnegie-Mellon University, where she graduated with honors and received a degree in theater. Ming-Na moved to New York to pursue an acting career, and in 1988, she was cast as Lien Hughes on As the World Turns, making her the first Asian-American to appear as a regular on a daytime drama. Ming-Na continued on the show until 1991, after which she continued to work in the theater and appeared in a pair of made-for-TV movies before she was cast in The Joy Luck Club, Wayne Wang's popular screen adaptation of the best-selling novel by Amy Tan. Ming-Na next took a left turn into the action-drama Street Fighter, but in 1995 she became part of the ensemble cast of the popular and award-winning television series E.R., playing Dr. Deb Chen. At the same time, she was also cast in the sitcom The Single Guy as Trudy, the hipper-than-thou gallery owner. Despite her busy television schedule, Ming-Na continued to pursue film work, making a startling and sexy appearance in Mike Figgis' One Night Stand in 1997 while providing the voice for the leading character in the Disney-animated drama Mulan in 1998. Ming-Na lives with her husband and daughter in Los Angeles, and when not occupied with her busy schedule of film and television work, she helps with production and management for the Asian-American harmony group At Last.

Movie Highlights

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Factsheet

  • Born in Macau but grew up in New York City and Pittsburgh.
  • Fell in love with acting after performing on stage in the third grade.
  • Pursued acting in college before returning to New York to appear in plays, such as Redwood Curtain and Speed-the-Plow.
  • Became the first Asian actor to appear as a regular on a soap when she took the role of Lien Hughes on As the World Turns.
  • Broke into movies with a starring role in The Joy Luck Club in 1993.
  • In 1995, was cast in the recurring role of medical student Deb Chen on the first season of ER; later became a series regular.
  • Was the title voice of the 1998 animated Disney film Mulan
  • Made her Broadway debut in 1998 appearing in David Henry Hwang's Golden Child.
  • As an accomplished voice-over artist has provided voices for numerous films and TV shows, including Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within; Jimmy Neutron; The Batman; and Phineas and Ferb.
  • Played Judge Linda Harris on Two and a Half Men and Camille Wray on SGU Stargate Universe.
  • Formed Innovazian Records with her husband to promote Asian-American artists.
  • Her name means "enlightenment."