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Friday, November 03, 2006

Top Ten Asians Actors and Actresses in Hollywood

By: S M Mehdi Hassan

This is the age of Asian century. Asian countries are now rising in the world economic stage. Asian performedrs are doing great in Hollywood too.

Asian actors have been working in Hollywood movies for a long time. Previously, the actors used to work in small roles but now the scenario has changed. Many films are being produced in Hollywood, where Asian actors are playing the lead roles. Not only actors, directors like Ang Lee, John Woo, M. Night Shyamalan have mesmerized the American audience with their creation. Here is a list of top ten male and female Asian actors and actresses in Hollywood.

Here, I have made a list of top ten 10 actors and actresses of Asian origin in Hollywood movies. I have selected 5 males and 5 females in this regard.

1. Chow Yun Fat:

Image Link: Chow Yun Fat

The guy clad in a black suit enters the night club and next three seconds there was nothing but gun shots, bloods and death. You all remember the first of the movie titled “Replacement Killers.” The film was a not successful but movies like The Corruptor, Replacement Killers, and Anna and the King and finally Oscar winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon established Chow Yun Fat as an international actor. This 6' 1" well built, athletic actor is one of the most successful actors of Hong Kong. Born in the island of Lamma, Chow’s family moved to Hong Kong in 1965. In 1973, he applied in TVB, as an actor trainee and within next ten years he became a very successful TV series actor. He first achieved success as a movie actor with the movie A better Tomorrow. After the success of A better Tomorrow, Chow permanent got into movie business.

2. Jet Li

Image Link: Jet Li

He is the most famous Asian film star after Jackie Chan now. At the age of eight, he started learning martial art in Beijing Wushu Academy, won five gold medals and by the time he was a teenager became a coach. At this time he got his first movie break Shaolin Temple. Movies like Once upon a time in China, Fist of Legend, High Risk or Meltdown (American version) turned Jet Li into a big name in Hong Kong. He turned to Hollywood in 1998. In the sequel of a hit movie Lethal Weapon 4 he played the role of a villain. The movie was successful and it established Jet Li’s position in Hollywood. Gradually, he rose to fame with movies like The One, Cradle to the Grave, and The Hero. Li is now planning to retire.

3. Jackie Chan

Image Link: Jackie Chan

Today, he is the most famous Asian actor in Hollywood. Born in April, 1954, Jackie’s father was a chef and mother was a house keeper. He first learned martial art from his father. Jackie’s parents sent him to China Drama Academy. While he was in that school, he got his first movie break in a film titled Seven Little Valiant Fighters: Big and Little Wong Tin Bar. At the age of seventeen he graduated from the academy and started working as a stuntman in Hong Kong films. He was very successful as a stuntman. In 1978, he became very successful with the movie Drunken Master. The 80’s and the 90’s were the most prolific times in Jackie’s career. He along with his fellow students of China Drama School was working in the film industry and they were very successful. From the beginning Chan does all the stunts of his movies. In 1983, after making a movie titled Project A he formed his own official stunt team. Jackie became a big name in Hollywood after Rumble in the Bronx. Then movies like Rush Hour and Shanghai Knights propelled him into the top position in Hollywood.

4. Bruce Lee

Image Link: Bruce Lee

This man does not need any introduction to the film goers and martial artists. He is a legend both in films and martial art. Born in 1940, Bruce Lee is an American born martial artist, actor and instructor. He introduced the famous style of martial art known as Jeet Kune Do. Since his parents were in acting profession, Bruce was exposed to acting at a very early age. He started learning martial arts at the age of twelve. His first major break came with the mini series Green Hornet in 1974. His success came after Big Boss in 1971. The young people of China liked the new hero, the bringer of justice with his fist. With movies like Fist of fury, Way of the Dragon turned him into a major film star in Hong Kong. Now the Hollywood directors could not ignore him. In 1973, Warner Brothers produced Enter the Dragon, one of the most successful movies produced by the company. While working for this movie, this legendary actor died. Still now, nobody could pin point what really caused Lee’s death at such a young age.

5. Sammo Hung Kam-Bo

Image Link: Sammo Hung Kam-Bo

One of the members of The Seven Little Fortunes which included Jackie chan, Yuen Bao, Sammo is a famous Kung fu movie, actor, producer and director. Those of you who remembered the opening scene of Enter the Dragon, where Bruce Lee fights with a chubby looking fighter was Sammo. Like Jackie, Sammo also started his training in Master Yu Jim Yuen Opera Academy in 1959. While studying here, he had an accident which kept him bed ridden for many days and he grew fat. Hung’s ride to success began in 1970, when he started working in the Golden Harvest studio. A movie titled The Fast Sword propelled his career. In 1973, he worked in two movies made by famous Taiwanese director King Hu: A Touch Of Zen and The Fate Of Lee Khan. In 1973, he worked with Kung fu legend Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon. Today, Sammo is one of most established and respected actors in Hong Kong film industry.

6. Gong li

Image Link: Gong li

Looking at her face, one can never understand her true age. She is ever young. Gong Li, daughter of a professor of economics, has excelled in singing and dancing in her school. Despite failing twice, she got admission in Beijing Central College of Drama. In her career, most of the time she acted in movies directed by Zhang Yimou. Zhang’s movies brought her success, name and fame. She was offered by Zhang in 1987, when she was a student, to work in the lead role of his first film Red Shorghum. The movie won Golden Bear award in Berlin film festival. She did not appear in many Hollywood movies. Her latest appearance is in Miami Vice, in 2006. Last year, her performance in Memoirs of a Geisha was widely acclaimed. In the movie she spoke in English.

7. Lucy Liu

Image Link: Lucy Liu

This beautiful “Angel” started her acting career when she was studying in the University of Michigan. In her senior years, she auditioned for a small role, but later, was chosen to play the lead character. From there, she decided to try her luck as an actress. From Michigan, she came to Vegas and started auditioning and worked at a food shop. In the popular mini series “Beverly Hills, 90210” she made a guest appearance. Her break came in 1997. She got to play the character of an Asian Lawyer, Ling Woo, in a TV series titled Ally Mcbeal. Her performance caught the attention of the audience and filmmakers. The year 2000 was very very lucky for Lucy. She landed with a role in the movie Charlie’s Angels that established her as an actress in Hollywood.

8. Michele Yeoh

Image Link: Michele Yeoh

She is among the few Asian women to work in a James Bond Movie. Born in Malaysia, Michele is fluent in English and Malay. Also knows as “Michelle Khan,” she was enlisted on People Magazine’s fifty most beautiful people in the world in 1997. She started ballet dancing at the age of four. In 1980, she went to England’s Royal Academy of Dance. In the beginning, she dreamt of becoming a professional ballet dancer but an injury in her spinal chord ended her dream. Yeoh’s film career started in Hong Kong. She started as model and then got offer in action movies with Jackie Chan. Her performance in Police Story made her very popular. Then she acted in a number of martial art movies. Her first Hollywood movie was Tomorrow Never Dies in 1997. She also acted in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), and Memoirs of a Geisha (2005).

9. Ziyi Zhang

Image Link: Ziyi Zhang

Born to an economist father and kindergarten mother, Ziyi Zhang was very small and weak as a child. Her parents sent her to dance school so that she could grow strong. In her middle and secondary school, she studied dance in Beijing Dance Academy. At the age of seventeen, she got admission in China Central Drama College. Her first film was The Road Home with director, Zhang Yimou. A year later, she landed with a big role in Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The character played by Zhang had to do fighting on the screen. She worked really hard and the movie was successful establishing Zhang as a big star. Then she starred in Rush Hour 2 with Jackie Chan. Hero was nominated for Oscar and House of Flying Daggers was nominated for Golden Globe award. Memoirs of Geisha in 2005 was widely praised by the critics.

10. Sandra Oh

Image Link: Sandra Oh

She was born to Korean parents who were immigrants in Canada. In her school years, she played flutes, tried ballet dancing and finally settled down in acting. As a result, she joined the school drama club. After finishing her drama study in National Theatre School of Montreal, she went to London to do a stage play. Sandra Oh’s film career started with two biographical TV films in Canada: The Diary of Evelyn Lau and Clarkson’s life. For her outstanding performance in the Canadian film Double Happiness, Oh won Genie Award. In USA, Oh became popular after starring in Under the Tuscan Sun. She worked in another TV series titled Grey’s Anatomy. For her performance in this TV series, Oh won Golden Globe award and Screen Actor Guild award.

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  1. Just randomly floated in on this site... I would add Ken Watanabe

    1. Anonymous2:14 PM

      Ummmmm who is that

    2. Anonymous2:15 PM

      Who's that

    3. Anonymous7:51 AM

      One of the best actors in the world.

    4. Anonymous3:19 PM

      bruce lee is going on my poster for class

    5. Anonymous10:37 AM


  2. Anonymous10:37 AM

    Lol how many of these actors are produce by "America." Most of these are overseas actors.

  3. Anonymous2:07 AM

    Woot! Go Jackie Chan! You're going on my homework lol

  4. Anonymous10:54 AM

    It's sad we don't introduce more actors of different cultures into our mainstream Hollywood entertainment.

  5. Anonymous6:38 PM

    The Reason Why We Dont have That Many Asian Actor is Because of Our Acent. It's Mostly Black and White Actor's Including Some Spanish.

  6. Anonymous1:48 PM

    Can someone please put together of a list of asian actors who have starred in a hollywood movie but have not been there just to do a martial art scene

  7. Anonymous12:22 PM

    What bout Fan Bing Bing?

  8. Anonymous10:44 PM

    how bout you just google... that usually seems to work

  9. Anonymous7:19 PM

    John Cho

  10. Anonymous7:16 PM


  11. Anonymous7:46 AM

    It's ironic that 1 of the "top 10" is dead and only 2 are americans who speak english without an accent...

    1. Anonymous9:52 AM

      I'm not sure you understand what irony means...

  12. Anonymous1:08 PM

    Bobby lee!!

  13. Anonymous1:53 PM

    Daniel Dae Kim?

  14. Anonymous8:51 PM

    How about Daniel Henney, Grace Park, John Cho, Yunjin Kim???

  15. sandra oh-you tried in bollywood one's in actor so please tried one's.

  16. Anonymous10:14 PM

    thuy ho

  17. Anonymous10:25 PM

    The maze runner star Ki Hong lee.

  18. Lisa Macuja Elizalde - Beauty of Ballet - http://richieast.com/lisa-macuja-elizalde-life-ballet-star/