Anna May Wong on film and television

Anna May Wong (1905–1961) was an American actress of Chinese heritage, who grew up in a culturally diverse neighborhood adjacent to Chinatown, Los Angeles.[1] Her father believed in exposing his family to the creative arts, and often took them to see traditional Chinese stage productions.[2] Young Anna, however, was fascinated by the emerging film industry in the area, and would fantasize herself as a movie actress like Pearl White or Mary Pickford.[3] Her daydreams began to look like an achievable goal when local Baptist minister James Wang, who often worked with the film productions, recommended her as an extra in the Alla Nazimova silent production of The Red Lantern.[4] Wong was only 14 years old, and eventually left school before graduating. While still a teenager, she was cast in the lead role of Lotus Flower in The Toll of the Sea.[5]

Anna May Wong from Stars of the Photoplay (1930)

Wong worked during an era when East Asian Americans were cast in a negative light, and often played in film by non-East Asian actors who used yellow make-up on their skin and tape on their eyelids to mimic what the industry believed passed as Asian facial features.[6] In spite of having the starring lead and top billing in the 1931 film Daughter of the Dragon, she was paid only half as much as Warner Oland, a non-Asian actor who played her father (the villain Fu Manchu) and had far less screen time.[7] Oland was often cast as an Asian on screen, most notably in numerous films as Chinese detective Charlie Chan.[8] Feeling like she was stereotyped and limited in the United States, Wong relocated to Germany for a few years. Back in the United States, DuMont Television Network created the short-lived The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong mystery series for her in 1951.[7] From then until her death in 1961, Wong appeared on a handful of American television programs.

She made 60 or 61 films in her career, the first 40 of which were during the silent film era. Biographer Graham Russell Gao Hodges has noted that Just Joe, the final film attributed to her, might have actually been actress Marie Yang, usurping Wong's name for that production.[9]

Wong received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 1960.[10]

FilmographyEdit

 
Drifting (1923)
 
Poster for Daughter of the Dragon (1931)
 
Anna May Wong by Carl Van Vechten (1932)
 
Anna May Wong and Philip Ahn in Daughter of Shanghai (1937)
Anna May Wong filmography
Title Year Role Notes Ref(s)
The Red Lantern 1919 Lantern Bearer Uncredited
The Nazimova Productions
[11]
Dinty 1920 Half Moon Uncredited
First National Pictures
[11]
Outside the Law 1920 Chinese Girl Uncredited
Universal Pictures
[12]
The First Born 1921 Hayakawa Feature Play Co. for Robertson-Cole Distributing Corp. [11]
Shame 1921 The Lotus Blossom lost film
Fox Film
[13]
Bits of Life 1921 Toy Sing, Chin Chow's wife lost film
Marshall Neilan Productions
[14]
A Tale of Two Worlds 1921 Uncredited role Goldwyn Pictures Corp [11]
The White Mouse 1921 Uncredited as Chinese wife Selig-Roark [11]
The Toll of the Sea 1922 Lotus Flower Preserved at the UCLA Film & Television Archive [5]
Mary of the Movies 1923 Herself Uncredited
Columbia Pictures
[15]
Drifting 1923 Rose Li Universal Pictures [16]
Thundering Dawn 1923 Honky-Tonk Girl lost film
Universal Pictures
[17]
Lilies of the Field 1924 lost film
First National Pictures
[18]
The Thief of Bagdad 1924 The Mongol slave United Artists [19]
The Fortieth Door 1924 Zira lost film
Pathé Exchange
[20]
The Alaskan 1924 Keok lost film
Famous Players-Lasky Corp
[17]
Peter Pan 1924 Tiger Lily Famous Players-Lasky [21]
Forty Winks 1925 Annabelle Wu lost film
Famous Players-Lasky Corp
[22]
His Supreme Moment 1925 Harem Girl in play lost film, Uncredited [17]
Screen Snapshots No. 3 1925 Herself [15]
Fifth Avenue 1926 Nan Lo lost film
Belasco Productions
[23]
A Trip to Chinatown 1926 Ohati lost film
Fox Film
[24]
The Silk Bouquet 1926 Dragon Horse lost film
Fairmount Productions
China Education Film Company
[25]
The Desert's Toll 1926 Oneta MGM [26]
Driven from Home 1927 Chadwick Pictures [27]
Mr. Wu 1927 Loo Song MGM [28]
The Honorable Mr. Buggs 1927 Baroness Stoloff Short
Pathé/Hal Roach
[29]
Old San Francisco 1927 A Flower of the Orient
Chinese girl
Preserved at the UCLA Film & Television Archive
Warner Bros.
[30]
Why Girls Love Sailors 1927 Delamar Pathé Short
scenes deleted
[29]
The Chinese Parrot 1927 Nautch Dancer lost film
Universal Pictures
[29]
The Devil Dancer 1927 Sada lost film
Samuel Goldwyn for United Artists
[31]
Streets of Shanghai 1927 Su Quan lost film
Tiffany Pictures
[32]
The Crimson City 1928 Su Warner Bros. [33]
Across to Singapore 1928 Singapore Woman
dancing girl
Uncredited
MGM
[34]
Chinatown Charlie 1928 Mandarin's sweetheart First National Pictures
Preserved at the UCLA Film & Television Archive
[35]
Song 1928 Song, a Malaysian dancer German-British International Co. Production [36]
Piccadilly 1929 Shosho British International Pictures [36]
Pavement Butterfly 1929 Mah aka The City Butterfly
British International Pictures
[36]
The Flame of Love 1930 Hai-Tang British International Pictures [36]
The Road to Dishonour 1930 Hai-Tang US release version of The Flame of Love
BIP Wardour
[36]
Hai-Tang 1930 Hai-Tang German-language version of The Flame of Love [36]
L’Amour Maitre des Choses 1930 Hai-Tang French-language version of The Flame of Love [36]
Sabotage 1930 Directed by Erno Metzner [36]
Elstree Calling 1930 Herself Cameo
BIP Wardour
[37]
Daughter of the Dragon 1931 Princess Ling Moy Her first sound film
Preserved at the UCLA Film & Television Archive
[38]
Shanghai Express 1932 Hui Fei Preserved at the UCLA Film & Television Archive [39]
A Study in Scarlet 1933 Mrs. Pyke [40]
Tiger Bay 1934 Lui Chang KBS Productions for World Wide Pictures and Fox Film Corp [37]
Chu Chin Chow 1934 Zahrat (British production) Gaumont-British; Gainsborough Pictures [41]
Java Head 1934 Princess Taou Yuen (British production) [37]
Limehouse Blues 1934 Tu Tuan Paramount [42]
Anna May Wong visits Shanghai, China 1936 Preserved at the UCLA Film & Television Archive
Stock footage shot for, but never used in, Hearst Metrotone news
[43]
Daughter of Shanghai 1937 Lan Ying Lin Copyright December 1937; release January 1938 [44]
Dangerous to Know 1938 Lan Ying Paramount [45]
When Were You Born 1938 Mei Lei Ming (Aquarius) Warner Bros., First National Pictures [46]
King of Chinatown 1939 Dr. Mary Ling Paramount Pictures [47]
Island of Lost Men 1939 Kim Ling Paramount Pictures [48]
Ellery Queen's Penthouse Mystery 1941 Lois Ling Larry Darmour Productions [49]
Bombs Over Burma 1942 Lin Ying Producers Releasing Corporation [50]
Lady from Chungking 1942 Kwan Mei Producers Releasing Corporation [51]
Bob Ripley's party 1946 Herself Hearst newsreel [52]
Impact 1949 Su Lin Cardinal Pictures [53]
Portrait in Black 1960 Tawny Universal Pictures [54]
Just Joe 1960 Peach Blossom Parkside Productions [9]

TelevisionEdit

 
Anna May Wong c.1960
Anna May Wong television appearances
Title Year/date Role Notes Ref(s)
The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong 1951 Mme. Liu-Tsong DuMont Television Network
Multiple episodes: "The Golden Women", "The Spreading Oak", "The Man with a Thousand Eyes", "Burning Sands", "Shadow of the Sun God", "The Tinder Box", "The House of Quiet Dignity", "Boomerang", "The Face of Evil"
[55]
Producers' Showcase 1955 Episode: "The Letter" [55]
Bold Journey February 14, 1956 Interview with John Stephenson Episode: "Native Land"
Wong's home movies of her 1936 visit to China
Preserved at the UCLA Film & Television Archive
[56][55]
Climax! 1958 Episode: "The Chinese Game"
Episode: "The Deadly Tattoo"
[55]
Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer 1958 Episode: "So That's Who It Was" [55]
Adventures in Paradise 1959 Episode: "The Lady from South Chicago"
Episode: "Mission to Manila"
[55]
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp 1960 Episode: "China Mary" [55]
Josephine Little 1961 Episode: "Dragon By the Tail"
spin off of The Barbara Stanwyck Show
[55]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Hodges 2004, pp. 1–6.
  2. ^ Hodges 2004, pp. 16–17.
  3. ^ Hodges 2004, pp. 19–20.
  4. ^ Hodges 2004, p. 23.
  5. ^ a b "The Toll of the Sea". UCLA Film and Television Archive. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  6. ^ "Yellowface: Asians on White Screens – IMDiversity". imdiversity.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Jean-Philippe, McKenzie (May 4, 2020). "The Real Anna May Wong Never Got Her "Hollywood Ending"". Oprah Magazine. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  8. ^ Corrigan, Maureen (August 18, 2010). "Giving 'Charlie Chan' A Second Chance". NPR.org. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Hodges 2004, p. 243.
  10. ^ "Anna May Wong". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d e Hodges 2004, p. 237.
  12. ^ "Outside the Law". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  13. ^ "Shame". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  14. ^ "Bits of Life". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Chan 2007, p. 180.
  16. ^ "Drifting". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  17. ^ a b c Hodges 2004, p. 238.
  18. ^ "Lilies Of The Field, lobbycard, from left: Anna May Wong, Conway..." Getty Images. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  19. ^ "The Thief of Bagdad". UCLA Film and Television Archive. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  20. ^ "The Fortieth Door". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  21. ^ "Peter Pan". UCLA Film and Television Archive. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  22. ^ "Forty Winks". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  23. ^ "Fifth Avenue]". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  24. ^ "A Trip to Chinatown". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  25. ^ "The Silk Bouquet]". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  26. ^ "The Desert's Toll". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  27. ^ "Driven from Home". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  28. ^ "Mr. Wu". UCLA Film and Television Archive. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  29. ^ a b c Hodges 2004, p. 239.
  30. ^ "Old San Francisco". UCLA Film and Television Archive. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  31. ^ "The Devil Dancer". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  32. ^ "Streets of Shanghai". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  33. ^ "The Crimson City". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  34. ^ "Across to Singapore". UCLA Film and Television Archive. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  35. ^ "Mandarin's sweetheart". UCLA Film and Television Archive. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  36. ^ a b c d e f g h Hodges 2004, p. 240.
  37. ^ a b c Hodges 2004, p. 241.
  38. ^ "Daughter of the Dragon". UCLA Film and Television Archive. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  39. ^ "Shanghai Express". UCLA Film and Television Archive. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  40. ^ "A Study in Scarlet". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  41. ^ "Chu Chin Chow". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  42. ^ "Limehouse Blues". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  43. ^ "Anna May Wong visits Shanghai, China". UCLA Film and Television Archive. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  44. ^ "Daughter of Shanghai". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  45. ^ "Dangerous to Know". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  46. ^ "When Were You Born". UCLA Film and Television Archive. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  47. ^ "King of Chinatown". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  48. ^ "Island of Lost Men". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  49. ^ "Ellery Queen's Penthouse Mystery". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  50. ^ "Bombs Over Burma". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  51. ^ "Lady from Chungking". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  52. ^ "Bob Ripley's party". UCLA Film and Television Archive. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  53. ^ "Impact". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  54. ^ "Portrait in Black". catalog.afi.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  55. ^ a b c d e f g h Hodges 2004, p. 244.
  56. ^ "Bold Journey". UCLA Film and Television Archive. Retrieved October 26, 2020.

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit