Asian American Month: Anna May Wong

Anna May Wong, also known as Wong Liu Tsong, was the first Chinese-American film star in Hollywood, and the first to be recognized internationally. Anna May was born on January 3rd, 1903 in Los Angeles, California where her and her eight siblings were raised. In her early years, she attended Chinese language classes and worked in her family’s laundry mat, but her heart always yearned for acting. Through her father’s friend, she was able to star as an extra in a movie, and that’s how her acting career began. For some time, Anna worked as an extra on several movie sets until she dropped out of school in 1921 to pursue an acting career. Unfortunately, Wong was only cast as an supporting actress in several films due to discrimination against her race, but despite her best efforts, she ended up leaving Hollywood and becoming a star in Europe, but returned and was still under mediocre treatment. Nevertheless, Anna starred in many hit movies and became widely recognized for her roles in Shanghai Express and On the Spot as well as several other European films. Sadly, Wong died at the age of 56 due to a heart attack and still continues to be widely recognized for paving the way for other future Asian actresses.