Anna May Wong

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Anna May Wong circa 1935

Anna May Wong (born Wong Liu Tsong; January 3, 1905 – February 3, 1961) was considered the first Chinese American Hollywood actress.


  • I was so tired of the parts I had to play. Why is it that the screen Chinese is nearly always the villain of the piece, and so cruel a villain--murderous, treacherous, a snake in the grass. We are not like that. How should we be, with a civilization that’s so many times older than that of the West. We have our own virtues. We have our rigid code of behavior, of honor. Why do they never show these on the screen? Why should we always scheme, rob, kill?
  • I am convinced that I could never play in the Chinese theater. I have no feeling for it. It’s a pretty sad situation to be rejected by the Chinese because I’m too American.

Quotes about Wong[edit]

  • She was in Hollywood in that era when non-white actors could not kiss. This meant there was a whole range of parts that were not available to her. She couldn’t play a romantic lead where she would have to kiss her leading man. So, she had to watch parts that she could have played—should have played—go to other actors. And that frustrated her, to say the least.
  • Her role as a sexually available Chinese woman…would eventually earn her resentful criticism in China.
    • A quote by author Graham Russell Gao Hodges in his book Anna May Wong: From Laundryman's Daughter to Hollywood Legend about the actress (as mentioned in “Anna May Wong Did It Right” in Time; 2005 Jan 29)
  • Lucy Liu is not Anna May Wong. No one is Anna May Wong. The quality of the acting…and first of all, she's five feet seven. Anna May Wong was stunning. She wasn't beautiful - she was stunning. She had great legs - and you never see that! I mean, Chinese women with great legs, because they're usually short. Here's a tall, statuesque woman of empowerment, who knew who she was, and this confidence was shown right away in all the films she did.

External links[edit]

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