James Hong Awarded With a Star On The Hollywood Walk of Fame
On Tuesday, James Hong, one of the most prolific Asian American actors of all time, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Celebrity speakers Daniel Dae Kim and Jamie Lee Curtis accompanied Hong, 93, as he was presented with his star during a ceremony. Hong is one of just 19 people of Asian heritage, selected from over 2,700 applicants. In front of his co-stars and adoring admirers, Hong expressed his desire to fully appreciate the moment.
“As you can see, I don’t have any speeches, because I’m not that kind of person. I just came here. I want to feel the moment,” Hong went on to demonstrate some of his best skills on the dancefloor.
Actor James Hong, who has appeared in more than 700 films, was honored in a ceremony attended by a number of his co-stars. His most recent role was Gong Gong, the father of the protagonist Evelyn, in the sci-fi comedy Everything Everywhere All at Once. Besides speeches, the occasion also featured an elaborately choreographed lion dance he put together himself.
During Daniel Dae Kim's speech announcing Hong's nomination for a star, he talked about how tough it was for an Asian American male to break into the entertainment industry.
“I’m looking at all of you right here, many of you who deserve to be here, as well. In time, I’m confident that it will happen,” he said. When asked about Hong's co-stars, many of whom are Asian American, Kim stated, “But I’m equally confident in saying that no one will have blazed the trail the way that James Hong has. Today, during the heart of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, it’s only fitting that we honor someone who personifies the term ‘trailblazer.’”
As a side note, Kim made a joke about Hong's penchant for using capital letters when typing.
“James, imagine now that the thing I’m about to say next is being typed in all caps, and let’s say it’s bolded and italicized for good measure,” Kim said. “You are truly deserving of the honor you’re about to receive, and you make us all so very, very proud.”
Everything Everywhere All at Once co-star Jamie Lee Curtis paid tribute to Hong by highlighting their humorous on-set connection and applauding his spirit.
“The center of the movie Everything Everywhere All at Once and the center of James Hong, the human, is kindness and love,” Curtis explained. “And those two qualities in him, and from him, continue their concentric circle of influence and transformative change in people who watch him and who know him — me very much included.” she said.
Over the course of his career spanning more than seven decades, Hong has been a tireless advocate for greater Asian American representation in Hollywood.
With the help of a few other Asian American artists, Hong founded the East West Players, an Asian American theater group, in 1965 in order to raise awareness of the Asian American experience. This determination to fight for equality has been instilled in Hong from childhood. He is an Army veteran who also worked as an engineer.
“When I came back from Hong Kong at 9 years old, I was beaten up in the grade school playgrounds, because I couldn’t speak English,” Hong remembered. “From that point, I fought all the way to what I’m doing now. So I encourage all Asian Americans, all people of all different nationalities, to express yourself and do your own thing the best you can, and then things will get better as a whole.”
Jason Momoa, Ming-Na Wen and Black Eyed Peas member apl.de.ap are among the other Asian American and Pacific Islanders who will receive stars this year.