John Lone

John Lone (Chinese: 尊龙; simplified Chinese: 尊龙; traditional Chinese: 尊龍; pinyin: Zūn Lóng; jyutping: zyun1 lung4; born October 13, 1952) is a Hong Kong-born American actor. He is best known for his starring role as Pu Yi in the Academy Award-winning film The Last Emperor (1987), for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. A veteran of the East West Players, he appeared in numerous high-profile screen and stage roles throughout the 1980s, 90s and early 2000s, in films like Iceman, Year of the Dragon, M. Butterfly, The Shadow, and Rush Hour 2. He was also nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male for his performance in The Moderns.

John Lone
John Lone in 1984 promoting his film Iceman
Ng Kwok-leung (吳國良)

(1952-10-13) October 13, 1952 (age 68)
Years active1976–2007
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese尊龍
Simplified Chinese尊龙

Personal lifeEdit

Lone was born in October 1952 as Ng Kwok-leung (Chinese: 吳國良; pinyin: Wú Guóliáng) in Hong Kong. He was raised in an orphanage and later adopted by a Shanghainese woman. He began training in Beijing opera at Hong Kong's Chiu Chiu Academy. It was here, at the age of ten, where he was given the name "Johnny". He later chose the name Lone to reflect the fact that he was an orphan and for its similarity to Leung, part of his given name.

Sponsored by an American family, he left the Beijing opera troupe and emigrated to Los Angeles, California. In the United States, he married fellow Santa Ana Community College student Nina Savino in 1972, and gained American citizenship. The couple divorced in 1979. Lone also continued his performing arts studies at American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena, California. Eventually, he would move to New York City, to pursue a career on stage.


Lone struggled for a time until the actor Mako recognized his talent and suggested him for a role in David Henry Hwang's first play FOB. From his performance in this play, Lone received an Obie Award.[1] While in New York City he was discovered by the talent agent Jadin Wong, who helped him to launch his career.[citation needed] Wong subsequently discovered Joan Chen, Bai Ling and Lucy Liu.[citation needed]

One of his earliest roles is as the cook in the film King Kong. His first major role in films was as the title character in Iceman. He is also known for his portrayal of Puyi in The Last Emperor and crime boss Joey Tai in Year of the Dragon in the mid-1980s,[2] as well as an opera performer playing female roles in M. Butterfly (with Jeremy Irons). In the 1995 film The Hunted he played dangerous assassin Kinjo alongside Christopher Lambert. Further international film appearances included the role of corrupt Hong Kong cop Ricky Tan in Rush Hour 2 and the antagonist Shiwan Khan in The Shadow.

Despite his Hollywood fame, he chose to further his career in the Asian market. He played the Qianlong Emperor, another Chinese emperor, in the 30-episode television drama series Qianlong and the Fragrant Concubine (乾隆与香妃) in 2004. Lone appeared in the fifth season, in the title role of Emperor Kangxi, in Records of Kangxi's Travel Incognito, a Chinese television series (1998–2007) about the Manchu-ruling Qing Empire monarch Kangxi Emperor. He also starred with Jackie Chan in the crime-thriller film Rush Hour 2 and with Jet Li in War, and has not been involved in any projects since.



Title Year Role Director Notes
King Kong 1976 Andy the Cook John Guillermin
Americathon 1979 Chinese Man Neal Israel
Iceman 1984 Charlie Fred Schepisi
Year of the Dragon 1985 Joey Tai Michael Cimino Nominated- Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor
Echoes of Paradise 1987 Raka Philip Noyce
The Last Emperor 1987 Emperor Puyi (adult) Bernardo Bertolucci Nominated- Golden Globe Award for Best Actor
The Moderns 1988 Bertram Stone Alan Rudolph Nominated- Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Performance
Shadow of China 1989 Henry Wong Mitsuo Yanagimachi
M. Butterfly 1993 Song Liling David Cronenberg
The Shadow 1994 Shiwan Khan Russell Mulcahy
The Hunted 1995 Kinjo J.F. Lawton
Task Force 1997 Thug Patrick Leung Cameo appearance
Rush Hour 2 2001 Ricky Tan Brett Ratner
War 2007 Li Chang Philip G. Atwell


Title Year Role Notes
Kate Bliss and the Ticker Tape Kid 1978 Houseman Television film
Shanghai 1920 1991 Billy Fong Television film
Qianlong and the Fragrant Imperial Concubine 2004 Qianlong Emperor
Paper Moon Affair 2005 Keiko's Husband Television film
Records of Kangxi's Travel Incognito 2007 Kangxi Emperor

Award nominationsEdit


  1. ^ "1981 – Winners". Obie Award. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  2. ^ Tracey Wong Briggs (January 7, 1988). "John Lone, earnest 'Emperor'". USA Today. Retrieved April 29, 2010.

External linksEdit