Anna May Wong

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, every school day The Cardinal will feature a prominent and historical Asian American or Pacific Islander, living or dead, who has worked toward change, advancement, and/or world peace. Some of them are heroes, and some are unsung heroes, who deserve recognition, and have made a contribution to society.


Aileen Velasco, Staff Writer

Anna May Wong is known as the first ever Chinese Hollywood star. Her real name is Wong Liu Tsong. Although she became an international star and was loved by many, she would face multiple adversities in her career. As a child May Wong had to be moved to a Chinese Mission school as she was getting taunted in her local school. In her neighborhood they would frequently use it for filming and sets. She was intrigued by this and was set on becoming an actress. She would eventually go on to make her first debut at 14 in The Red Lantern, as an extra. This would lead her to quit high school to focus on her career. She quickly gained recognition through her traditional Chinese fashion. In many of her roles she would play Asian stereotypes and anti-miscegenation laws would prohibit her from having romance leads. As her career continued, she created her own film production but unfortunately had to be shut down after the betrayal of her business partner. She continued to act in roles and many people started to recognize her more. In 1960, she was awarded with her own star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame which would also appoint her as the first Chinese American to receive a star. She sadly passed away in a heart attack but even after her death she was chosen by the U.S government to have her face on a quarter. The program would be called the American Women’s Quarters Program. She was deemed as an advocate for inclusivity of Asian American actors in the industry.