Leonard Strong (actor)

Leonard Clarence Strong (born August 12, 1908, Salt Lake City, Utah – January 23, 1980, Glendale, California) was an American character actor specializing in playing Asian roles.

Leonard Strong
Leonard Strong circa 1953
Leonard Clarence Strong

(1908-08-12)August 12, 1908
DiedJanuary 23, 1980(1980-01-23) (aged 71)
Years active1942–1968
Irene Richards
(m. 1935; his death 1980)


Beginning with Little Tokyo, U.S.A in 1942, Strong played a gamut of roles as Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Thais, etc. in films such as Dragon Seed (1944), Up in Arms (1944), Jack London (1943), Salute to the Marines (1943), Behind the Rising Sun (1943), Night Plane from Chungking (1943), Bombardier (1943), Underground Agent (1942), and Manila Calling (1942). He played the Thai interpreter in both Anna and the King of Siam and its musical remake The King and I. Strong also appeared in the movie Shane (1953) as homesteader Ernie Wright.

Strong achieved some pop culture notoriety for his role on television as "The Claw" on Get Smart. He appeared in a season-five episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1960) "The Cure" written by horror writer Robert Bloch. Set deep in an Amazon jungle, Strong plays Luiz, a loyal native who speaks broken English and saves his employer, an oil explorer, from the attempted murder of his supposedly mentally ill and unfaithful wife. Something gets lost in the translation when his employer wants Strong to take her to a psychiatrist 200 miles down river, and he takes her instead to a native headshrinker. The denouement comes when Strong returns alone to the shock of his employer. He says, "I do what you tell me. I take her to my people. The best headshrinkers in the world". Then, pulling his employer's wife's now shrunken head out of a bag, he says, "Best job in the world."

Another notable television role was his haunting and mostly silent portrayal of the title character in the original Twilight Zone episode, "The Hitch-Hiker", which is often listed as one of the ten best episodes of the series. With his thumb extended, seeking a ride, and stating "I believe you're going...my way.", Strong is seen in one of the half-dozen, seconds-long scenes used at the start of every one of the 30 DVDs in the CBS DVD five-season collection, "The Twilight Zone, The Definitive Edition."


Year Title Role Notes
1942Little Tokyo, U.S.A.Fujiama
1942Manila CallingJapanese OfficerUncredited
1942Underground AgentCount Akiri
1943BombardierJapanese Officer
1943Night Plane from ChungkingLieutenant KarumaUncredited
1943Behind the Rising SunTama's Father
1943Salute to the MarinesKarituUncredited
1943Jack LondonCaptain Tanaka
1944Up in ArmsJapanese Interrogator in CaveUncredited
1944Dragon SeedJapanese OfficialUncredited
1944The Keys of the KingdomMr. Chia
1945Blood on the SunHijikata
1945Back to BataanGen. Homma
1945First Yank Into TokyoMajor Nogira
1946Anna and the King of SiamInterpreterUncredited
1946Dangerous MillionsBandit Chieftain
1947BacklashThe Stranger / Willis - the Caretaker
1948Jewels of BrandenburgMarcel Grandet
1948Sword of the AvengerMing Tang
1949We Were StrangersBombmakerUncredited
1949MalayaHalf-witted MalayUncredited
1950BackfireLee QuongUncredited
1950Cargo to CapetownSingh
1952Carbine WilliamsRobakUncredited
1952The Atomic CityDonald Clark
1953Destination GobiWali-Akhun
1953ShaneErnie Wright
1953Scared StiffShorty
1954Hell's Half AcreIppy
1954The Naked JungleKutina
1954Prisoner of WarCol. Kim Doo Yi
1954Bengal BrigadeMahindra
1955Cult of the CobraDaru
1955Love Is a Many-Splendored ThingFortune TellerUncredited
1956The King and IInterpreterUncredited
1956The Adventures of Dr. Fu ManchuProfessor Hugh Yan
1957This Could Be the NightMr. BernbaumUncredited
1958Jet AttackMaj. Wan (North Korean)
1959The Big FishermanZebedee, Father of James & JohnUncredited
1962Escape from ZahrainAmbulance Driver


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