Hollywood trailblazer Anna May Wong to be first Asian American featured on U.S. currency
Anna May Wong was well-known for her roles on the series “I Dream of Jeanie” and “Mork & Mindy,” but she is now known for her more recent work as a Chinese American woman. This past December, she joined her co-stars, such as Grace Park, in a Hollywood Reporter feature about how Wong got her break on the ABC daytime soap, “One Life to Live.”
“My parents used to fight a lot, but my dad always knew that I was going to make it,” Wong told the magazine, adding: “I just decided that I didn’t want to make it if it meant having someone [like him] fight all the time.”
That was until she was spotted as a contestant on the soapy competition, “The Million Dollar People.” She was signed to a contract for three years after she got that part.
“People would come up and talk to me,” Wong added. “I’d be like, ‘My name is Anna May, my dad is Kung Fu Lee and I’m going to be a millionaire.’”
However, life took a turn in Wong’s early career. After appearing on the soaps, Wong took a break from the entertainment industry in order to go back to school. But, in the meantime, she made a surprising discovery: She was a minority in her television show, “The Million Dollar People.” As a result, her star had been cast out of the running, but her character had become a fan favorite. “She was a total star,” a producer told the Hollywood Reporter at the time.
Soon after that, Wong got a phone call from co-star, Grace Park. “Hey, it’s me,” she said. “I want you to meet Grace Park. She’s Asian American. I see you’d like her.”
Park went on to tell Wong “that she was not a racial stereotype like we had in the show.�