Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lovely Ladies: Anna May Wong

I don't usually write anything to accompany this series, but this particular actress deserves some extra words.
Anna May Wong was born in Los Angeles in 1905, and gradually became a fine actress in 1920s cinema.  She was held back at every turn, for being a woman and for being Chinese-American.  Disappointed and frustrated with the Hollywood system--which wouldn't permit her to have an onscreen romance with any non-Chinese man-- she went to Europe, where she starred in several films, and even performed the lead role in a German operetta!

Her most famous role was with Marlene Dietrich in 1932's Shanghai Express.  While back in Hollywood, the studios frequently relegated her to 'Dragon Lady' roles, which were devious Chinese stereotypes.  She was extremely hurt by losing the lead female role in 'The Good Earth' and instead only being offered the role of the film's antagonist.
She filmed her favorite role in Daughter of Shanghai, and also spent much of her time working on propaganda films to benefit United China Relief.  In 1951, she starred in her own network TV series, The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong, a detective show that has since been lost.

While many think of Clara Bow or Louise Brooks epitomizing the flapper, Anna May Wong worked hard to cultivate an image for herself.  She had a fascinating story, and I recommend checking out her Wikipedia entry for more information.

1 comment:

  1. Have you heard of the song written by Eric Maschwitz "These Foolish Things" for Anna May Wong?

    I bet you have, I've read your post about vintage radio :)

    A friend of mine recommend that song to me, so i've wrote a post about it, and I have some friends in my blogrolls they are of similar interests :)

    To Anna May Wong – “These Foolish Things” – Cheongsam Music


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