Actress. Born Wong Liu Tsong, she began her career as an extra at the age of 14 and played several supporting roles before being cast as the lead in "The Toll of the Sea." She was the first Asian-American actress to become an international celebrity and appeared in over 50 films, making the transition from silents to talkies. Her career was sidelined by Hollywood's discriminatory codes of the period, which would not permit an Asian woman to kiss a Caucasian man on screen. She was not allowed to play female leads but was channeled into parts as servants, secondary parts where she was an innocent native girl who was usually murdered before the film was over. Under then-American law she was not even permitted to marry, as racial intermarriage was illegal in California and she was rejected by her own family and culture because of her film roles. In the late 1920s, hoping to escape the stereotyped roles being offered her in Hollywood, she sailed for Europe where she made a few remarkable silent pictures, including "Piccadilly" and two German films, "Song" and "Pavement Butterfly." Her other credits include: "The Thief of Baghdad," the best-remembered role of 'Hui Fei' in "Shanghai Express," and "Daughter of Shanghai." In the late 1950s she learned she was suffering from heart problems coupled with cirrhosis, however, she returned to the big screen for two final films in 1960: "Portrait In Black" and "The Savage Innocents." She was cremated, her ashes being buried with her mother.
Bio by: MC
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