James Hong has been in over 500 feature films and television shows, and he is still going strong with his recent role in Twentieth Century Fox's "The Day the Earth Stood Still" with Keanu Reeves to be released early 2009, "Balls of Fury" (a 2007 release ) and the voice of the father of the "Kung Fu Panda" for Paramount's summer release of 2008. Versatility has been Hong's trademark throughout his career ever since 1953 when he first hit Hollywood with his Central High comedy partner, Don Parker.
Born in Minneapolis, Mr. Hong graduated from Minneapolis Central High School in 1947 and studied civil engineering at the University of Minnesota before ultimately graduating from the University of Southern California. He worked as a road engineer in Los Angeles County for over a year before embarking on a show business career.
He began by performing as part of a nightclub comedy duo, with Don Parker. This led to an appearance on You Bet Your Life, where his interplay with host Groucho Marx in turn earned him a contract at The Forbidden City, a San Francisco club.
Acting work soon followed, with a small roles in a major motion pictures as Edward Dmytryk's Soldier of Fortune (with Clark Gable and Susan Hayward). Ever since, for fifty-five plus years, Mr. Hong has been a working actor.
His many film credits also include Robert Wise's "The Sand Pebbles" with Steve McQueen; Blake Edwards' "The Carey Treatment" with James Colburn; Roman Polanski's "Chinatown" and "The Two Jakes" with Jack Nicholson; Hal Ashby's "Bound for Glory" with David Carradine; "The Golden Child" with Eddie Murphy (the original 1979 version); and S. Fine; Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker's "Airplane!"; Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" with Harrison Ford; John Carpenter's "Big Trouble in Little China"; Bob Rafelson's "Black Widow" with Debra Winger; Stephen Surjik's "Wayne's World 2" with Mike Meyers; Andrew Bergman's "The In-Laws" with Peter Faulk; Jon Avnet's "Red Corner" with Richard Gere; Disney's animated feature musical "Mulan"; and Samantha Lang's "L'Idole", in which he had the lead role, speaking all French opposite Leelee Sobieski.
His numerous television credits include guest appearances on many of the medium's most popular series; Dragnet, Peter Gunn, Bonanza, Perry Mason, Here's Lucy, Hawaii Five-O, All in the Family, The Rockford Files, Charlie's Angels, Taxi, Dynasty, General Hospital, miniseries; Marco Polo for NBC, Seinfeld, The X-Files, The Drew Carey Show, Friends, and The West Wing, King Of Queens,to name but a few.
In 1965, Mr. Hong together with Mako started The East West Players, one of the first and foremost Asian-American theater companies in the USA. He has also produced, directed and distributed feature films. He is looking forward to new film productions including a feature which he wrote and will direct, "Just Dance", and a documentary of his life, as well as two projects in China. Life begins at 80. "I'll always love Central High School."2013 update: new movie R.I.P.D. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0393222/