John Cho (born Cho Yo Han; June 16, 1972) is a Korean American actor known for his roles as Harold Lee in the Harold & Kumar films; Jin in Kogonada's feature directorial debut Columbus; and Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek reboot film series.
Cho in 2008
Cho Yo Han
June 16, 1972
Seoul, South Korea
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Alma mater||UC Berkeley|
Kerri Higuchi (m. 2006)
|Revised Romanization||Jo Yo(-)han|
Early in his career, Cho also starred in the Asian American-centered films Better Luck Tomorrow (2002), Shopping for Fangs (1997), and Yellow (1998). In 2018, he starred in the thriller film Searching, making him the first Asian-American actor in history to headline a mainstream thriller film in Hollywood. He also made history in American television as the first Asian American actor cast as a romantic lead when he starred as Henry Higgs in the 2014 sitcom Selfie. In addition to his role in Selfie, Cho has had lead roles in series such as FlashForward and Off Centre, along with recurring roles in Sleepy Hollow and Difficult People.
Cho was born in Seoul, South Korea and moved to the United States in 1978 as a young boy. He was raised in Los Angeles, where his family settled after living in Houston, Seattle, Daly City, California and Monterey Park, California. His father was a minister in the Church of Christ and was originally from North Korea. Cho graduated from Herbert Hoover High School, in Glendale, California, in 1990. He then attended the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1996 with a BA degree in English, and taught English at Pacific Hills School in West Hollywood, California while working at East West Players's theater in downtown Los Angeles.
Cho began his career after graduating from Berkeley, when he moved to Los Angeles and worked with the Asian American theatre company East West Players. There, he appeared in Edward Sakamoto's The Taste of Kona Coffee in 1996, and in Euijoon Kim's movie My Tired Broke Ass Pontificating Slapstick Funk in 2000.
Cho gained attention with a small role as "MILF Guy #2" in the 1999 comedy American Pie, in which he popularized the slang term MILF. Cho reprised the role in three sequels: American Pie 2, American Wedding, and the latest installment American Reunion in which he has a much larger role. His character initially had no name but he was given the name "John" in the third film, named after Cho himself.
Cho guest-starred on Charmed as a ghost in 1998 and was one of the stars of the short-lived situation comedy Off Centre in 2001–2002. He was a costar of the now-defunct Fox sitcom Kitchen Confidential based on Anthony Bourdain's best-selling book. He had supporting roles in the sci-fi comedy Evolution directed by Ivan Reitman, Down to Earth starring Chris Rock, and Bowfinger with Steve Martin.
In 2002, Cho had a starring role in the ensemble cast of Justin Lin's Better Luck Tomorrow, a drama focusing on the travails of a group of Asian Americans living in Southern California who are academically successful but socially discontented, and as a result engage in wantonly violent, criminal behavior. It was well received by critics, with Elvis Mitchell of the New York Times describing Cho's character's "lazy magnetism of which he is charmingly aware." Later that year, the movie Big Fat Liar was released, in which Cho played a Hong Kong-based movie director. He refused to do the accent scripted for his character. The director worked with him to re-develop the role.
Cho had a successful starring role as Harold Lee in 2004's Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and reprised the role in 2008's Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay which raked in $38 million at the theaters, and again in 2011's A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas which made $35 million. Cho's role in the popular franchise was written specifically for him by Hayden Schlossberg, and Cho has recounted that when Schlossberg first approached him with the role, he was initially suspicious.
Cho appeared on July 2004 issue of KoreAm Journal and in September 2006 was cast in NBC's new comedy The Singles Table, but the series never aired due to changes in scheduling and production. In 2006 and again in 2009, Cho was selected as one of the sexiest men alive in People magazine.
In 2007, Cho was added to the cast of Ugly Betty as a recurring character. Cho plays Kenny, a best friend of accountant Henry Grubstick (played by Christopher Gorham). Cho played helmsman Hikaru Sulu in J. J. Abrams's feature film Star Trek. Manohla Dargis of The New York Times praised him, along with Anton Yelchin, Chris Pine, and Zachary Quinto, for making their roles "ultimately and rather wonderfully their own".
Cho appeared in Nas's "Be a Nigger Too" music video along with various celebrities, and had a guest appearance on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, in the episode "I'm Not That Guy" where he played a partner in an evil law firm. Of the latter, Staci Krause of IGN, wrote that Cho was "the scene stealer in this episode" and that she would "definitely like to see more of him" in the series.
From 2009 to 2010, Cho starred in the television series FlashForward as FBI Special Agent Demetri Noh. His character was originally slated to be killed off during what turned out to be the show's only season, but after his turn as Sulu in Star Trek boosted his popularity, the producers revised the show's storyline so that he survived, in an attempt to boost declining ratings.
Cho starred as Henry Higgs in the short-lived sitcom Selfie, a retooling of the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, becoming the first Asian American to play a romantic lead on a U.S. television series.
In 2018, Cho starred in the film Searching, playing a man combing social media for clues to his daughter's disappearance. He was the first Asian-American actor to headline a mainstream thriller in Hollywood.
Cho is the lead singer for Viva La Union (formerly known as Left of Zed), a Los Angeles garage rock band composed of former Berkeley and USC students. They have one album, self-titled, while their song "Chinese Baby" is featured on the Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay soundtrack.
Being an Asian American in HollywoodEdit
Cho has indicated he has found freedom in being Harold in the Harold and Kumar films because the stoner character goes against the grain of Asian Americans onscreen. He has said he has experienced racism throughout his career in Hollywood and that he tries to take roles that do not perpetuate Asian stereotypes.
When asked to do an Asian accent for Big Fat Liar, Cho refused. "I don't want to do this role in a kid's comedy, with an accent, because I don't want young people laughing at an accent inadvertently", he wrote. In a 2015 tweet he said, "Stop turning Asian roles white. It's bullshit and we all know it." On being the first Asian to play a romantic lead on a U.S. television series, he described it as being "revolutionary" and a "personal revolution" for him because of its uniqueness in Hollywood. "Asians narratively in shows are insignificant. They're the cop, or waitress, or whatever it is. You see them in the background. So to be in this position ... is bit of a landmark," he has said on the inability of Asians getting offered such roles.
Cho married actress Kerri Higuchi in 2006 and has a son, born in 2008, and a daughter, born in 2013. As of 2015, he and his family reside in Los Angeles, California. He is close to his father, a former preacher, and would like to play a role in the story of his father's generation in North Korea when growing up through the Korean War in times of hardships.
|1997||Wag the Dog||Aide #3|
|Shopping for Fangs||Clarence|
|1999||American Beauty||Sale House Man #1|
|1999||American Pie||MILF Guy #2|
|2000||The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas||Parking Valet|
|2001||Delivering Milo||Mr. Hugo|
|2001||American Pie 2||John (MILF Guy #2)|
|2001||Down to Earth||Phil Quon|
|2001||Pavilion of Women||Fengmo Wu|
|2002||Better Luck Tomorrow||Steve Choe|
|2002||Solaris||DBA Emissary #1|
|2002||Big Fat Liar||Dustin Wong|
|2004||In Good Company||Petey|
|2004||Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle||Harold Lee|
|2004||See This Movie||Larry Finkelstein|
|2005||Bam Bam and Celeste||Stephan|
|2006||American Dreamz||Frank Ittles|
|2006||Bickford Shmeckler's Cool Ideas||Tom|
|2007||West 32nd||John Kim|
|2008||Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist||Hype Man|
|2008||Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay||Harold Lee|
|2008||Harold & Kumar Go to Amsterdam||Short film|
|2009||Star Trek||Hikaru Sulu||Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cast|
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
|2009||Saint John of Las Vegas||Carnival Human Torch|
|2011||A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas||Harold Lee|
|2012||Total Recall||Bob McClane|
|2013||Identity Thief||Daniel Casey|
|2013||Star Trek Into Darkness||Hikaru Sulu|
|2013||The Tale of the Princess Kaguya||Middle Counselor Isonokami (voice)||English dub|
|2016||Get a Job||Brian Bender|
|2016||Star Trek Beyond||Hikaru Sulu|
|2017||Gemini||Detective Edward Ahn|
|2017||Literally, Right Before Aaron||Mark|
|2017||A Happening of Monumental Proportions||Mr. Ramirez|
|2018||Mirai||Father (voice)||English dub|
|2019||Between Two Ferns: The Movie||Himself|
|2020||Wish Dragon||(voice)||In production|
|1997||The Jeff Foxworthy Show||Pizza Delivery Man||Episode: "Twister of Fate"|
|1998||Felicity||Larry||Episode: "The Last Stand"|
|1998||Charmed||Mark Chao||Episode: "Dead Man Dating"|
|2001||Static Shock||Thomas Kim / Tantrum, Navigator (voices)||2 episodes|
|2001–02||Off Centre||Chau Presley||28 episodes|
|2002||The Jamie Kennedy Experiment||Himself||1 episode|
|2003||Kim Possible||Hirotaka (voice)||Episode: "Exchange"|
|2005||The Men's Room||Bob||4 episodes|
|2005||House M.D.||Harvey Park||Episode: "Love Hurts"|
|2005–06||Kitchen Confidential||Teddy Wong||10 episodes|
|2006||Grey's Anatomy||Marshall Stone||Episode: "Damage Case"|
|2006–13||American Dad!||Vince Chung (voice)||4 episodes|
|2007||How I Met Your Mother||Jefferson Coatsworth||Episode: "I'm Not That Guy"|
|2007||Ugly Betty||Kenny||3 episodes|
|2007||'Til Death||Lucas Bender||Episode: "Come Out and Play"|
|2008||Hollywood Residential||Himself||Episode: "It Happens"|
|2009–10||FlashForward||Demetri Noh||22 episodes|
|2010||Childrens Hospital||Park||Episode: "Frankfurters. Allman Brothers. Death. Frankfurters"|
|2011||30 Rock||Lorne||Episode: "Double-Edged Sword"|
|2011||NTSF:SD:SUV::||Chip||Episode: "The Birthday Part That Was Neither"|
|2012–13||Go On||Steven||22 episodes|
|2013–14||Sleepy Hollow||Andy Brooks||7 episodes|
|2014||Selfie||Henry Higgs||Main cast; 13 episodes|
|2015||BoJack Horseman||Lead Improv-er (voice)||2 episodes|
|2015||The Mindy Project||Big Murder||Episode: "Lahiri Family Values"|
|2016||New Girl||Daniel||Episode: "Jury Duty"|
|2016||House of Lies||Sean Chew||Episode: "Holacracy"|
|2016||Drunk History||William Shakespeare||Episode: "Landmarks"|
|2016||Lip Sync Battle||Himself||Episode: "Ben Kingsley vs. John Cho"|
|2016||The Hindenburg Explodes!||Reggie||Pilot|
|2017||Difficult People||Todd Ross||4 episodes|
|2017||The Exorcist||Andrew Kim||10 episodes|
|2017||Do You Want To See a Dead Body?||Himself||Episode: "A Body and Some Quicksand"|
|2019||The Twilight Zone||Raff Hanks||Episode: "The Wunderkind"|
|1996||The Taste of Kono Coffee|
|2000||My Broke Ass Pontificating Slapstick Funk|
|2015||Parallel Man: Infinite Pursuit||Agent Nick Morgan (voice)|
|2013||Star Trek||Hikaru Sulu||Also likeness|
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- Kevin Pollak's Chat Show, Hulu.com and Ustream, episode 96
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- EWP 34th Season Archived 2011-04-06 at the Wayback Machine on East West Players site
- Mitchell, Elvis (2003-04-11). "Film Review; Teenages Determined to Damage Their Resumes". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
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- "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay". boxofficemojo.com.
- "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas". boxofficemojo.com.
- People Magazine Sexiest Men Alive 2009
- Borys Kit (2007-10-12). "Final frontier for Cho, Pegg". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "John Cho: 'Trek' role is 'daunting'". CNN. Associated Press. 2008-03-12.
- Manohla Dargis (7 May 2009). "Movie Review: 'Star Trek'". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 Aug 2012.
- "How I Met Your Mother: 'I'm Not That Guy' Review". IGN. 2007-10-30.
- Joyce Eng (2009-05-19). "Fall TV: ABC's Official Schedule Revisits V, Moves Betty and Says Adieu to Who?". TV Guide.
- Keck, William (June 18, 2010). "Keck's Exclusives: Gabrielle Union FlashForwards to New Series". TV Guide. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
- Doll, Jen (October 20, 2014), "YOU CAN’T DO THAT ON TELEVISION." Business Week. (4399):70
- "Was 2014 A Banner Year for Asian Americans on Television?". NBC News. December 27, 2014. Archived from the original on August 20, 2017. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
- General, Ryan (2018-07-25). "John Cho Makes History as the First Asian Actor Leading a Hollywood Thriller in 'Searching'". Nextshark.com. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
- Otterson, Joe (April 4, 2019). "Cowboy Bebop: John Cho, Mustafa Shakir Among Four Cast in Netflix Live-Action Series". Variety. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
- Jason Buchanan (2005-03-12). "John Cho". The New York Times.
- "John Cho On Playing The Asian-American Stoner Stereotype". Larry King Now.
- "In 'Selfie', John Cho Gets An Unlikely Shot As A Romantic Lead". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
- Sullivan, Gail (2014-10-09). "John Cho of 'Selfie': 'I experienced racism'". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2015-11-30.
- Cho, John (verified account) [@JohnTheCho] (March 24, 2015). "Stop turning Asian roles white" (Tweet). Archived from the original on May 11, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2015 – via Twitter.
- "Will John Cho Be Television's First Asian Romantic Lead?". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
- Wong, Tony (2014-07-16). ""Asians narratively in shows are insignificant," says John Cho, the romantic lead in the fall series Selfie. "So to be in this position ... is a bit of a landmark."". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2015-11-30.
- "John Cho and wife Kerri expecting first child". People. April 13, 2008. Archived from the original on December 9, 2011. Retrieved February 13, 2019. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "John Cho and wife Kerri have second child". People. February 11, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
- "John Cho". TV.com. Retrieved 2015-12-01.
- (2011-07-16) "Hollywood stars open wallets for Obama". Retrieved 2011-07-16.
- Jackie Chan, China’s BaseFX Making ‘Wish Dragon’ for Sony Animation
- Petski, Denise (December 3, 2018). "'The Twilight Zone': John Cho, Allison Tolman & Jacob Tremblay To Star In Episode Of CBS All Access Reboot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 3, 2018.