Anna May Wong

Born Jan 3, 1905

Anna May Wong was an American actress, the first Chinese American movie star, and the first Asian American to become an international star. Her long and varied career spanned both silent and sound film, television, stage, and radio. Born near the Chinatown neighborhood of Los Angeles to second-generation Chinese-American parents, Wong became infatuated with the movies and began acting in films at an early age.… Read More

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1905 Birth Anna May Wong was born Wong Liu Tsong (meaning "yellow willow frost" respectively, though "yellow" being her family name can be considered functionless here semantically) on January 3, 1905, on Flower Street in Los Angeles, one block north of Chinatown, in an integrated community of Chinese, Irish, German and Japanese residents. … Read More


1921 16 Years Old 1 More Event
Finding it difficult to keep up with both her schoolwork and her passion, she dropped out of Los Angeles High School in 1921 to pursue a full-time acting career. … Read More
1923 18 Years Old …  Still optimistic about a film career, in 1923 Wong said: "Pictures are fine and I'm getting along all right, but it's not so bad to have the laundry back of you, so you can wait and take good parts and be independent when you're climbing." … Read More
1924 19 Years Old 1 More Event
In March 1924, planning to make films about Chinese myths, she signed a deal creating Anna May Wong Productions; when her business partner was found to be engaging in dishonest practices, Wong brought a lawsuit against him and the company was dissolved. … Read More


1925 - 1926 2 More Events
1928 23 Years Old Tired of being both typecast and being passed over for lead Asian character roles in favor of non-Asian actresses, Wong left Hollywood in 1928 for Europe. … Read More
1929 24 Years Old Wong made her last silent film, Piccadilly, in 1929, the first of five English films in which she had a starring role. … Read More
1930 25 Years Old 1 More Event
…  Ironically, Wong caught their eye and she was offered a contract with Paramount Studios in 1930. … Read More
1931 26 Years Old Wong began using her newfound celebrity to make political statements: late in 1931, for example, she wrote a harsh criticism of the Mukden Incident and Japan's subsequent invasion of Manchuria. … Read More
1932 27 Years Old …  The most virulent criticism came from the Nationalist government, but China's intellectuals and liberals were not always so opposed to Wong, as demonstrated when Peking University awarded the actress an honorary doctorate in 1932. … Read More
1934 29 Years Old In both America and Europe, Wong had been seen as a fashion icon for over a decade. In 1934, the Mayfair Mannequin Society of New York voted her "The World's best-dressed woman" and in 1938 Look magazine named her "The World's most beautiful Chinese girl". … Read More


1935 30 Years Old 1 More Event
She also appeared in the King George Silver Jubilee program in 1935. … Read More
1936 - 1937 2 More Events
1938 33 Years Old In 1938, having auctioned off her movie costumes and donated the money to Chinese aid, the Chinese Benevolent Association of California honored Wong for her work in support of Chinese refugees. … Read More
1939 34 Years Old 1 More Event
Between 1939 and 1942, she made few films, instead engaging in events and appearances in support of the Chinese struggle against Japan.


1949 44 Years Old In 1949, Wong's father died in Los Angeles at the age of 91. … Read More
1951 46 Years Old From August 27 to November 21, 1951, Wong starred in a detective series that was written specifically for her, the DuMont Television Network series The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong, in which she played the title role which used her birth name. … Read More
1953 48 Years Old In late 1953 she suffered an internal hemorrhage, which her brother attributed to the onset of menopause, her continued heavy drinking, and financial worries.


1956 51 Years Old In 1956, Wong hosted one of the first U.S. documentaries on China narrated entirely by a Chinese American. … Read More
1960 55 Years Old 1 More Event
For her contribution to the film industry, Anna May Wong received a star at 1708 Vine Street on the inauguration of the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. … Read More
1961 56 Years Old 1 More Event
She was scheduled to play the role of Madame Liang in the film production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song, but was unable to take the role due to failing health. On February 3, 1961, at the age of 56, Wong died of a heart attack as she slept at home in Santa Monica, two days after her final screen performance on the television show The Barbara Stanwyck Show. … Read More
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