Any other story you might have heard about James Hong is about be trumped by the story since it’s so good that you might wonder why it doesn’t happen more often. James Hong was born an American citizen and has lived in the US all of his life but it’s easy to see that he does carry his culture in his looks. That’s never stopped him however as he’s been a hard worker and a diligent student of the theatrical arts for most of his life. In fact when he was serving in the US Army he would spend his down time entertaining the other troops. The camp general, upon seeing this, requested that he stay at the camp and be in charge of live shows to boost moral and entertain the soldiers rather than be sent overseas. This was during the Korean War, and James has been very honest that this decision by the camp general probably saved his life. He explained that if the Koreans saw him coming in a US uniform they’d kill him outright, but if they’d been forced to retreat he might have been targeted by his own companions as an impostor trying to get behind enemy lines. That’s kind of saddening to think about but unfortunately it was still the 1950’s, when such a thing could have very likely happened.
Hong didn’t worry too much about that however as he fell into his acting work and eventually left the Army to go fully into his career. He’s had upwards of 500 TV and film roles throughout his life which says that he’s hardworking and dedicated to what he does. That can be seen from his many appearances in which he’s either devious, clueless, or something pleasantly in between when he’s seen as one character or another. Some of the favorites include David Lopan, the demonic being from Big Trouble in Little China. Lopan was a creature that looked like a man but lacked flesh in his most powerful form. He could still do some damage however and was a very big problem for the lead, Jack Burton. It’s kind of funny though, he was a dangerous magic-user and yet he got taken out by having a knife thrown at him and lodged in his cranium. It seems like a bad way to go out for someone so powerful.
Another favorite is Mr. Ping from the Kung Fu Panda trilogy. The talkative goose that took a young panda as a son is kind of just a background character in the first movie, but gains a lot more prominence in the second and third as his son Po attempts to find out more about his past. Mr. Ping is the kind of character that doesn’t have much ambition other than to run a successful noodle restaurant and see to his son’s happiness, in that order sometimes.
The last and one of my favorites is Master Wong in Balls of Fury. He’s a former Ping Pong master, but as a blind man is kind of silly and nonsensical, when he’s not being absolutely serious.
I knew there had to be a reason that James Hong is so awesome though.
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