James Hong, the ubiquitous veteran performer whose seven-decade career boasts 700 acting credits, became the oldest person to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Tuesday.
Hong, 93, was honored with the 2,723rd star on the Walk of Fame, located between Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and the TCL Chinese Theater. He was joined by his Everything Everywhere All at Once co-star Jamie Lee Curtis and actor Daniel Dae Kim, who sponsored his Walk of Fame star, at the festive ceremony.
“As you can see, I don’t have any speeches, because I’m not that kind of person… I want to feel the moment,” Hong said at Tuesday’s event before joining the group of Chinese lion dancers and showing off his moves amid drums and cymbals, according to NBC Los Angeles.
Hong, who is Chinese American, was born in Minneapolis and served stateside in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He moved to Los Angeles in the early 1950s and launched his acting career during a time in the industry when white actors routinely played Asian characters. He joins fellow performers of Asian descent including Anna May Wong, Mako, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, and Bruce Lee on the Walk of Fame, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Hong’s been on 469 television shows in his storied career, not to mention 149 feature films, 32 short films, and 22 video games, according to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Among his notable credits are Blade Runner, Chinatown, Kung Fu Panda, Mulan, Seinfeld and, of course, his role as lead bad guy Lo Pan in John Carpenter’s 1986 cult classic Big Trouble in Little China with Kurt Russell and Kim Cattrall in her first big break after Police Academy.
His latest features include the sci-fi comedy, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Pixar’s Turning Red, and the upcoming, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai. Hong is also the only living perform to have graced the screen with late actors Clark Gable and Groucho Marx.
In 1965, Hong co-founded the Asian American theater group East West Players, the first theater in the U.S. “raising the visibility of the Asian American experience,” according to the group’s website.
Hong’s personal accomplishments and his continued effort to bring more representation to the big screen is what inspired Kim to launch a GoFundMe campaign in August 2020 to raise money for the Walk of Fame star.
“I started the campaign simply because many of us in the Asian American community have known about James’s work for decades,” Kim told Vanity Fair. “I’d learned that he’d actually been rejected for a star in the past, so I thought a more grassroots campaign might help the decision-makers see how worthy he truly is.” Kim was able to raise enough money within just four days.
During Tuesday’s ceremony, Kim said no one had “blazed a trail” like Hong. “Thank you, James, for your body of work, your quality of work and your strength of character,” he said, the Times reports.
Hong said he’s pleased with the spot where his star sits at 6931 Hollywood Blvd., next to the TCL Chinese Theatre. “When I first came to Hollywood, I used to go to that theater and put my feet in those celebrity footprints in the cement. I thought, ‘Maybe someday I’ll have something here,'” he told Vanity Fair. “It’s a great honor. That it was funded by my fans means a great deal to me.”
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