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 Philip Ahn

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Philip Ahn

  • Birth 29 Mar 1905 Highland Park, Los Angeles County, California, USA
  • Death 28 Feb 1978 Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
  • Burial Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
  • Plot Courts of Remembrance, Crypt 1107
  • Memorial ID 6337

Actor. Born Pil Lip Ahn in Highland Park, California, the eldest child of Dosan Ahn Chang Ho and his wife, Helen Lee, who were the first immigrant Korean married couple admitted into the United States, arriving in 1902. He attended Polytechnic High School where he took drama and speech classes and was a member of the Mask and Sandal Drama Club. While still in school he was given a screen test by Douglas Fairbanks, but his parents required that he finish his studies. After his graduation he worked as a rice field laborer, truck driver, and elevator operator to support his family before he enrolled at USC in 1934, where he majored in foreign commerce and speech. He dropped out after his sophomore year to make his screen debut in 1935's "A Scream in the Night." There followed over two years of largely uncredited appearances in almost a dozen films including 1937's "The Good Earth." His father, a Korean independence activist, died in Japanese hands in 1938. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s Ahn became a well known face, usually playing either Chinese or Japanese characters in such films as "King of Chinatown" in 1939; "China Girl" in 1942; "They Got Me Covered" in 1943; and "Back to Bataan" in 1945. He joined the US Army that same year in order to counter his wartime film image of the enemy. His image lightened throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, even appearing in the 1967 musical comedy "Thoroughly Modern Millie." He also began taking television roles appearing in such television series as "The Man From UNCLE," "I Spy," "Mission Impossible," "Kung Fu," and "MASH." In November 1973 he obtained permission to open and dedicate Dosan Ahn Chang Ho Park in Seoul, Korea where his father had been buried by the Japanese some 35 years before. He brought his mother's remains from Los Angeles to be buried next to Dosan. His last television appearance was in a 1978 episode of "Police Woman." He succumbed to complications from a lung biopsy which led to pneumonia. November 14 was declared Philip Ahn Day and Korea Day for the City of Los Angeles. He has a star on the Walk of Fame at 6211 Hollywood Boulevard near Argyle Avenue.

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 13 Sep 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6337
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Philip Ahn (29 Mar 1905–28 Feb 1978), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6337, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .