Russell Wong

Russell Girard Wong (Chinese: 王盛德; pinyin: Wáng Shèngdé; born March 1, 1963) is an American actor. He is the brother of actor/model Michael Wong and Declan Wong. He was the series lead of the TV show Vanishing Son.

Russell Wong
Russell Wong in 2009
Born
Russell Girard Wong

(1963-03-01) March 1, 1963
Occupationactor
Years active1985–present
Spouse(s)
Flora Zeta
(m. 2003; div. 2012)
Partner(s)Eartha Robinson
ChildrenEja Robinson-Wong (daughter)
Parent(s)William Wong (father)
Connie Van Yserloo (mother)
FamilyMichael Wong (brother)
Declan Wong (brother)

Early life

The sixth of seven children, Wong was born in Troy, New York; the son of Connie Van Yserloo, an American artist of French and Dutch descent and Chinese American restaurateur William Wong.[1][2] His family moved to Albany when he was a baby, where his father ran a restaurant. When Wong was seven years old, his parents divorced, and he moved with his mother to California, settling near Yosemite. In 1981, Wong graduated from Mariposa County High School, and that fall enrolled at Santa Monica City College.[3]

Career

Wong supported himself as a photographer and as a dancer (appearing in rock videos with David Bowie, Donna Summer, and Janet Jackson, among others) before scoring his first screen roles in 1985, appearing in a Hong Kong musical called Ge wu sheng ping (aka Musical Dancer) and in a screen adaptation of James Clavell's best-seller Tai-Pan (as Gordon Chen). A number of television and film roles followed, including an appearance as Narong Bansari on an episode of the 80s crime show The Equalizer, but Wong began breaking into better roles in 1989, when he made a memorable guest appearance on the drama series 21 Jump Street (as Locke in the episode "The Dragon and the Angel") and won a leading role in Wayne Wang's acclaimed independent romantic comedy Eat a Bowl of Tea as Ben Loy. He also played a rising Chinese American gangster named Yung Gan in Abel Ferrara's China Girl, a Romeo and Juliet love story film about the conflicts between Chinese gangsters and the Italian mob in New York.

Supporting roles in China Cry (as Lam Cheng Shen), China White (as Bobby Chow) and New Jack City (as Park) were to follow, and Wong found himself working with Wayne Wang again when he was cast as Lin Xiao in the film adaptation of Amy Tan's best-selling novel The Joy Luck Club.

Wong finally got a breakthrough role in 1994, when he was cast in the leading role in the short lived TV series Vanishing Son, in which he played a Chinese political activist exiled in America. The show was popular enough to spawn three sequels, and was later spun off into a syndicated TV series. People magazine named him one of fifty "Beautiful People" in 1995.

After Vanishing Son ran its course, Wong moved on to more big-screen work, including major roles in Prophecy II (as Danyael), The Tracker (as Rick Tsung), and Romeo Must Die (as the antagonist Kai to Jet Li's hero), as well as the made-for-TV epic The Lost Empire, where he played the title character, The Monkey King. He also played Lieutenant Tong in the film Twisted starring Ashley Judd, Samuel L. Jackson, Andy Garcia and directed by Philip Kaufman.

In 2003, he was cast as the lead in a TV series created by Robert Mark Kamen and Carlton Cuse entitled Black Sash, where he played a former narcotics cop named Tom Chang who opens up a martial arts school in San Francisco left to him by his teacher, Master Li (played by Mako), to teach a number of young students "the art of 8 palm changes" or Baguazhang. The series also starred Missy Peregrym, Corey Sevier, Ray J, Sarah Carter, and Drew Fuller. Although 8 episodes were made, 6 ended up airing on The WB.

Wong also voiced the main character, an undercover cop named Nick Kang, in the video game True Crime: Streets of LA (2003). In the late 2000s, he starred as General Ming Guo opposite Michelle Yeoh and Jet Li in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008) directed by Rob Cohen and as Patrick in the Thailand action film The Sanctuary alongside Michael B, Inthira Charoenpura and Patharawarin Timkul. He also appeared as Leon in Chris Chan Lee's independent film Undoing (2006) opposite Sung Kang and Kelly Hu, and Anna Chi's Dim Sum Funeral (2008), opposite Bai Ling and Talia Shire. He also guest starred on a number of TV shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (as Lieutenant Arthur Chen), Just Legal (as the District Attorney in the pilot episode), Commander in Chief (as a Cabinet member), Numb3rs (as Jeremy Wang).

In the 2010s, Wong appeared in the TV series Nikita (as Victor Han), Hawaii Five-0 (as Kong Liang; he also appeared as Nick Wong in the 1997 Hawaii Five-O TV movie), and HBO Asia's Serangoon Road (as Winston, the husband of Joan Chen's character) in 2013. Film wise, Wong was involved with a number of films shot in Asia or China, reuniting again with Wayne Wang for Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2011) (as the Bank CEO at the beginning that gives a speech to Archie Kao and Li Bingbing) and as Peter in the Chinese language remake of the film What Women Want (2011) starring Andy Lau and Gong Li.

In 2014, Wong finished shooting a horror series entitled Grace which was shot in Singapore for HBO Asia, and also directed by Serangoon Road co-director Tony Tilse.[4] He plays the father character of the family, and is named Roy Chan.

Personal life

Wong has one daughter, Eja Robinson-Wong (born 1988), with dancer Eartha Robinson. He was married to Hong Kong-based designer Flora Cheong-Leen. They divorced in 2012.

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
1985The Musical SingerRussell
1986Tai-PanGordon Chen
1987Harry's Hong KongSergeant LeeTelevision film
1987Gwai ma hau yuenMr. Wong
1987China GirlYung Gan
1988C.A.T. Squad: Python WolfTelevision film
1989Eat a Bowl of TeaBen Loy
1989China WhiteBobby Chow
1990China CryLam Cheng Shen
1991New Jack CityPark
1992Xia ri qing renZeniger
1993Geoffrey Beene 30ManShort film
1993The Joy Luck ClubLin Xiao
1994Vanishing SonJian-WaTelevision film
1994Zhong jin shuKen Chan
1994Vanishing Son IIJian-WaTelevision film
1994Vanishing Son IIIJian-WaTelevision film
1994Vanishing Son IVJian-WaTelevision film
1998The Prophecy IIDanyealDirect-to-video
2000TakedownTsutomi Shimomura
2000Romeo Must DieKai
2001The TrackerRick TsungTelevision film
2004TwistedLieutenant Tong
2005Inside OutFrank
2006UndoingLeon
2006HonorRay
2008The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon EmperorMing Guo
2008House of WongThe ManShort film
2008Dim Sum FuneralAlexander
2009The SanctuaryPatrick
2010Color Me LoveZoe's Ex-husband
2011What Women WantPeter
2011Snow Flower and the Secret FanBank CEO
2013Hafen der DüfteEdward Lim
2014Light from the Dark RoomLi Cheung
2016Lost in the PacificGary Gao
2016Contract to KillMatthew SharpCredited as "Russel Wong"
2017The Jade PendantMr. Wong
2018Crazy Rich AsiansHimself
2018Forever YoungGeneral
2019Escape Plan: The ExtractorsWu Zhang


Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
1988The EqualizerNarong BansariEpisode: "Riding the Elephant"
198921 Jump StreetLockeEpisode: "The Dragon and the Angel"
1989Gideon OliverLi SongEpisode: "Tungs"
1995Vanishing SonJian-Wa13 episodes
1997Hawaii Five-ONick WongUnaired Pilot
1998Touched by an AngelGeorge2 episodes
1998Honolulu CRUEpisode: "Pilot"
2001The Monkey KingMonkey KingMiniseries
2003Black SashTom Chang8 episodes
2004CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationLieutenant Arthur ChenEpisode: "No Humans Involved"
2005Just LegalDistrict AttorneyEpisode: "Pilot"
2005Commander in ChiefCabinet MemberEpisode: "First Disaster"
2006Numb3rsJeremy WangEpisode: "Undercurrents"
2010NikitaVictor HanEpisode: "Rough Trade"
2012Hawaii 5-0Kong LiangEpisode: "Ohuna"
2013Serangoon RoadWinstonEpisode: "Episode #1.10"
2014GraceRoy Chan4 episodes
2015NCIS: New OrleansCam LinEpisode: "The Walking Dead"
2017Criminal Minds: Beyond BordersInspector JinEpisode: "Type A"
2018LuciferVincent GreenEpisode: "High School Poppycock"
2018Lethal WeaponStanEpisode: "Need to Know"
2019SupergirlGeneral TanEpisode: "Suspicious Minds"

Video games

YearTitleRoleNotes
2003True Crime: Streets of LANick Kang
2007StrangleholdYung Gi

References

  1. "Apps - Access My Library - Gale". www.accessmylibrary.com. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  2. "Russell Wong Biography (1963-)". www.filmreference.com. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  3. Russell Wong Bio, http://www.chineseamericanheroes.org/heroes/2012/Russell%20Wong.pdf
  4. ‘Grace’ Horror Series Underway at HBO Asia, https://variety.com/2014/tv/news/grace-horror-series-underway-at-hbo-asia-1201127472/
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