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Dustin Nguyen (born September 17, 1962) is an Vietnamese-American actor, director, writer, and martial artist. He is best known for his roles as Harry Truman Ioki on 21 Jump Street, and as Johnny Loh on V.I.P.[1] In films, he is known for starring in Little Fish, The Doom Generation and The Rebel. [2]

Dustin Nguyen
Dustin Nguyen 22072007 BKKIFF.jpg
Nguyễn Xuân Trí

(1962-09-17) September 17, 1962 (age 57)
OccupationActor, director, writer, martial artist
Years active1985–present
Angela Rockwood
(m. 2002; div. 2011)

Bebe Pham (m. 2011)

Early lifeEdit

Born as Nguyễn Xuân Trí in Saigon, South Vietnam, his mother My Le, was an actress and dancer, and his father, Xuan Phat, was an actor, comedian, writer, and producer in South Vietnam.[3] The family left Vietnam in April 1975 as it fell to Communist Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army forces.[4]

They arrived in Guam, then the family was moved to a refugee camp in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, and finally with the assistance of a Methodist church they relocated to Des Peres, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.[4][5] After Nguyen graduated from Garden Grove High School in Garden Grove, CA, he attended Orange Coast College[1] and majored in communications. Nguyen practices several martial arts including Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do, Eskrima, and Jeet Kune Do.[4]


He made his acting debut on Magnum, P.I., portraying a Cambodian freedom fighter in the episode "Crouching." He was a cast member on both 21 Jump Street and V.I.P., and has guest-starred on a number of other series, including General Hospital, Highlander, and most notably seaQuest DSV, playing the role of Chief William Shan. Moreover, he played a cameo role in Charlie's Angels. Nguyen also auditioned for the role of Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat, but lost out to Robin Shou. In 1993 he played a Vietnamese man sent off to fight with the Viet Cong, in the film Heaven & Earth. In 2005, Nguyen starred as a former heroin addict opposite Academy Award-winner Cate Blanchett in the critically acclaimed Little Fish.[6] He starred in the 2007 films The Rebel and Saigon Eclipse. In 2008 he starred in the Vietnamese martial art film Huyen Thoai Bat Tu (The Legend Is Alive, The Immortal Legend)[7] where he plays a mentally disabled martial artist. Nguyen screened in 2009 the Thriller The Gauntlet under the Direction from Matt Eskandari and stars alongside Chinese actress star Bai Ling. He has made a small cameo in 22 Jump Street as Vietnamese Jesus as an Easter egg to his own participation as a main cast member in the original 21 Jump Street series.[8]

Nguyen continues to act and make films in Vietnam full time. He made his feature directorial debut in the Vietnamese fantasy film Once Upon a Time in Vietnam, which he also starred in. He recently starred in the Vietnamese film Gentle that premiered at the 2015 Busan International Film Festival where he received strong reception for his performance.[9]

He was cast in Cinemax's Warrior season one in a recurring role before he officially joined the main cast in season two of the series.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

After a car accident late at night that occurred on September 3, 2001 on California's Interstate 5 Highway between San Francisco and Los Angeles during a Labor Day weekend that left his wife (Angela Rockwood-Nguyen) a quadriplegic, Nguyen and his wife became active in The Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center. That accident also claimed the life of Vietnamese actress Thuy Trang, a member of the original cast of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. He separated from his wife in 2011.

Dustin Nguyen is based in Vietnam full time. In 2011, he married Vietnamese actress-model Bebe Pham with whom he has two children, Sky (b. 2013) and Scarlett (b. 2015).[11]



Year Title Role Notes
1985 Sunset Strip Chinese Youth
1991 Earth Angel Peter
1992 Rapid Fire Paul Yang
1993 No Escape, No Return Tommy Cuff
1993 Heaven & Earth Sau
1994 3 Ninjas Kick Back Glam
1994 Vanishing Son II Hung
1994 Vanishing Son IV Hung
1995 Virtuosity Suburban Reporter
1995 The Doom Generation Quickiemart Clerk
1998 Hundred Percent Isaac
2003 The Break
2005 Little Fish Jonny Actor
2007 Finishing the Game: The Search for a New Bruce Lee Troy Poon
2007 Saigon Eclipse Kim
2007 The Rebel Sy Actor
2009 The Legend Is Alive Long Actor
2010 Fool for Love [vi] Dung
2010 Floating Lives Vo Actor
2011 The Gauntlet Jin-Soo
2011 Popular Dysfunctions Comandante Chitt
2013 Once Upon a Time in Vietnam Dao Director/Actor
2014 22 Jump Street Vietnamese Jesus/Harry Truman Ioki Cameo
2015 The Man with the Iron Fists 2 Li Kung Actor
2015 Jackpot Tu Nghia Director/Actor
2015 Zero Tolerance Johnny Actor
2015 Gentle Thien Actor
2016 I'll Wait Director
2017 Voodoo Doll Hung Actor


Year Title Role Notes
1983 General Hospital Suki
1985 Magnum, P.I. Joe 2 episodes
1986 The A-Team Bobby Episode: "Point of No Return"
1987 Shell Game Doug Episode: "Pai Gow"
1987–90 21 Jump Street Officer Harry Truman Ioki Main role (seasons 1–4); 82 episodes
1989 Danger Bay Duk Chin Episode: "Open Book"
1992 The Commish Robert Hue Episode: "Charlie Don't Surf"
1992 Street Justice Episode: "Bad Choices"
1992 Highlander Chu Lin Episode: "The Road Not Taken"
1993 Murder, She Wrote David Kuan Episode: "A Death in Hong Kong"
1993 Highlander Jimmy Sang Episode: "Revenge of the Sword"
1993 SeaQuest DSV Chief William Shan 4 episodes
1994–96 Phantom 2040 Tranh 5 episodes
1995 Vanishing Son Hung Episode: "Single Flame"
1995 VR.5 Ky Buchanan Episode: "Simon's Choice"
1995 Kung Fu: The Legend Continues Lo Gee Episode: "Flying Fists of Fury II"
1997 Die Gang Marc Wiessner Main role; 13 episodes
1999 - 2002 V.I.P. Johnny Loh Main role (seasons 3-4); 62 episodes
2003 JAG Lt. Bao Hien Episode: "Fortunate Son"
2009 The Unit Transit Officer Episode: "Chaos Theory"
2012 The Amazing Race Vietnam host Season 1
2018 This Is Us (TV series) Bao Episode: "Sometimes"
2019 Warrior[12] Zing Recurring (season 1); Main role (season 2)


  • The Amazing Race Vietnam (2012-ongoing) - Himself
  • 2007 AZN Asian Excellence Awards (2007) - Himself
  • "E! True Hollywood Story" - Himself (1 episode, 2004)
  • "Howard Stern" - Himself (4 episodes, 1999)
  • "The Howard Stern Radio Show" - Himself (2 episodes, 1999)
  • "Intimate Portrait" - Himself (1 episode)

In productionEdit

  • CinemAbility (2011) (filming) - Himself
  • The Slanted Screen (2006) - Himself


In March 2009, he won the Vietnamese Cánh Diều Vàng (Golden Kite Award) for best actor, for his starring role in the Phuoc Sang Films vehicle Huyền Thoại Bất Tử (The Legend Is Alive).[13][14] For the same role, that year he won a Golden Lotus Award (Vietnam's Oscar) for Best Actor. And also China's Golden Rooster Award for Best International Actor at China's Golden Rooster and Thousand Flowers International Film Festival 2009. In 2015, at the Milan International Film Festival, Dustin won the Leonardo da Vinci Golden Horse Award for Best Supporting Actor in the Vietnamese film GENTLE; an adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky's A GENTLE CREATURE."


  1. ^ a b Levine, Robert (1994-05-24). "Taking a Big Leap From `Jump Street' After finding success in the '80s on the police show, Dustin Nguyen is moving into films and `seaQuest' while sharpening his martial arts skills. Series: FAST TRACK: Up and Comers in Arts and Entertainment * One in a Series". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
  2. ^ "dustin nguyen 21 jump street star on life in vietnam".
  3. ^ Knutzen, Eirik (4 July 1987). "One Jump ahead". Toronto Star. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Chen, Vivien Lou (1992-05-01). "Jobless Actor Rejects Asian Stereotypes Series". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
  5. ^ Brennan, Patricia (13 December 1987). "Dustin Nguyen Out Of Saigon And Into TV". Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 10, 2008. Retrieved 20 October 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ Chang, Richard (31 March 2009). "Vietnamese film festival returns to O.C." Archived from the original on 9 June 2009. Retrieved 20 October 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ Todd Brown (27 November 2008). "Dustin Nguyen Returns In Vietnamese Action Drama THE LEGEND IS ALIVE (HUYỀN THOẠI BẤT TỬ)". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  8. ^ "'21 Jump Street' veteran plays Vietnamese Jesus Christ in big-screen sequel". UPI. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  9. ^ Brown, Todd (2015-01-23). "GENTLE: Watch Dustin Nguyen In Vietnamese Dostoyevsky Adaptation". ScreenAnarchy. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  10. ^ Petski, Denise; Petski, Denise (2019-05-09). "'Warrior' Casts Four For Season 2 Of Cinemax Drama Series; Promotes Dustin Nguyen To Regular". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  11. ^ "Dustin Nguyen: 21 Jump Street Star on Life in Vietnam". 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  12. ^ "Perry Yung on Instagram: "#dustinnguyen in da house! It's getting hot in here now. #hbo #CinemaxWarrior"". Instagram. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  13. ^ Todd Brown (3 March 2009). "Dustin Nguyen Star Vehicle THE LEGEND IS ALIVE Dominates The Vietnamese Golden Kite Awards". Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  14. ^ "culture vulture". 24 December 2009. Retrieved 20 October 2012.

External linksEdit