Anna May Wong becomes first Asian American to be listed on US currency
Anna May Wong around 1930 (left) and the new neighborhood with Wong. Photos: Silver Screen Collection via Getty Images and the United States Mint
Pioneering actress Anna May Wong will become the first Asian American to be featured on US currency as part of a program honoring distinguished women and their contributions.
Driving the news: The quarter featuring Wong, who is known as Hollywood’s first Chinese-American star and appeared in more than 60 films throughout his careerwill be put into circulation from Monday, according to the US Mint.
What they say : Wong was “a courageous advocate who championed increased representation and more multidimensional roles for Asian American actors,” Mint director Ventris C. Gibson said in a statement.
- “This quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of Anna May Wong’s accomplishments as she overcame the challenges and obstacles she faced in her lifetime.”
His life story: Wong was born Wong Liu Tsong in Los Angeles’ Chinatown in 1905, 23 years after the United States enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act at a time of intense libel targeting Chinese people.
- After getting a taste of Hollywood as an extra in her first film, she dropped out of high school to pursue her acting career full-time.
- Although she managed to overcome obstacles to play leading roles in several productions, she was largely limited to typecast roles based on stereotypes and racist tropes – such as the “Lotus flower.”
“When I die, my epitaph should be: I died a thousand deaths,” she said. says famous. “They didn’t know what to do with me in the end, so they killed me.”
- She was also barred from starring roles in romance films due to anti-miscegenation laws at the time which prohibited interracial marriages in the United States as well as any type of on-screen kiss depicting interracial relationships. .
- After a few years, Wong left Hollywood due to constant discrimination and yellow face and moved to Europe where she starred in several plays and movies.
She returned to the United States for a few productions later in the 20th century, including “Shanghai Express” and “Madame Liu-Tsong’s Gallery“, which made her the first Asian American to lead a television show in the United States.
- Wong died in 1961 of a heart attack at age 56. She was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame a year before her death and is widely recognized as the visionary who opened the doors to Asian actors today.
The big picture: Wong’s quarter is the fifth released this year under the American Women Quarters program, which will feature coins designed to recognize trailblazing women from 2022 to 2025, with five quarters issued per year.