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Wed Jan 22, 2020, 11:48 AM

Google celebrates Anna May Wong


“I felt sure that I’d see my name in electric lights before long.”
–Anna May Wong

Today’s slideshow Doodle celebrates the first-ever Chinese American movie star in Hollywood, Anna May Wong, on the 97th anniversary of the day The Toll of the Sea went into general release, which was her first leading role. Featured in the Doodle slideshow are scenes from her life, including some of her most famous characters from the more than 50 movies she was featured in throughout her career.

The Los Angeles native was born Wong Liu Tsong on January 3rd, 1905. Originally from Taishan, China, Wong’s family taught their children both English and Cantonese. When not at school or in her father’s Sam Kee laundry, Wong began spending her time hanging around movie studios and asking directors for roles, and by age 11, she had chosen her stage name: “Anna May Wong.”

Wong was often overlooked or only offered small roles due to prevailing racial barriers. However, refusing to be limited to or typecast as Asian stereotypes, she moved to Europe in 1928. There, Wong starred in many plays and movies, such as Piccadilly (1929) and The Flame of Love (1930), and was soon promised leading roles in the U.S.

Upon returning to the U.S., one of the roles Wong was cast for was opposite her friend Marlene Dietrich in the 1932 release of Shanghai Express, which became one of her most famous roles. Shortly after, she was named the “world’s best-dressed woman” by the Mayfair Mannequin Society of New York, cementing her position as an international fashion icon. In the 1950s, she also became the first Asian-American to land a leading role in a U.S. television series, playing a mystery-solving detective in the show The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong.

In recognition of her many accomplishments, Wong was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

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