Though many viewers will associate him exclusively with Asian character roles in Hollywood features, Hawaii native Randall Duk Kim actually gained his footing as a classically trained thespian in Shakespearean plays, many of which were mounted at the New York Shakespeare Festival during the 1970s, '80s, and '90s. Kim hardly limited his on-stage activity to the musings of the great Bard, however, with a resumé that included leads and supporting roles in dozens of non-Shakespearean plays -- everything from J.B. Priestley's When We Are Married to Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera. One of his most prestigious accomplishments involved founding the American Players Theater in Wisconsin with Charles Bright and Anne Occhiogrosso. Kim's endless panoply of on-stage accomplishments brought him an off-Broadway Obie Award for "Sustained Excellence of Performance" in theatrical work.
Unsurprisingly, Kim's Hollywood assignments (which began in 1994, after a 20-year stint focusing exclusively on the theater) represented several steps down in terms of sophistication and, as indicated, often typecast him in stock ethnic roles in martial arts or fantasy films. Credits included the epic Anna and the King (1999), the effects-laden action opus The Matrix Reloaded (2003), and the CG-animated action comedy Kung Fu Panda (2008).