James Hong finally received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Tuesday. The 93-year-old actor is the oldest person to receive a star.
In 2020, Daniel Dae Kim started a petition and crowd-funding campaign to get Hong his star, Variety reports. The $55,000 needed to obtain the star was raised in four days.
Kim and Hong’s Everything Everywhere All at Once co-star Jamie Lee Curtis joined him for the ceremony, CBS News reports. Congress member Judy Chu (D-CA) presented a proclamation at the ceremony and a lion dance was performed.
“I’m here! I’m alive!,” Hong said as he accepted his star in front of Madame Tussauds Hollywood on Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles Times reports.
Hong was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Chinese immigrant parents, Variety reports. When he was 5, his father moved the family back to Hong Kong for a few years. Hong had to learn English all over again when he returned to America.
He began studying civil engineering at the University of Minnesota before being drafted into the Korean War. When he returned he continued studying civil engineering at the University of Los Angeles.
Hong had always enjoyed performing in junior high school and high school, Variety reports. In Los Angeles, he began to pursue his love of performing.
In the early days, there were no opportunities whatsoever,” he told Variety. “Opportunities were very few and Asians were still looked down upon as this silent minority. In a sense I feel I was born too early, because there were no chances.”
Hong began creating more opportunities for Asian Americans, like starting a class for Asian Americans at the Desilu Playhouse. He also led protests against poor representations of Asian Americans in Hollywood, like the 1962 film “Confessions of an Opium Eater.”
According to CBS News, Hong has appeared in multiple films that were nominated for the best picture Oscar, like Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing,” “The Sand Pebbles,” “Chinatown” and “Bound for Glory.” He has voice acted in “Kung Fu Panda” and “Mulan.”
Hong’s most recent acting project is the critically acclaimed film Everything Everywhere All at Once. Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, the directors of Everything Everywhere All at Once praised Hong’s talent and professionalism.
“There are a million things you could say about James Hong and the experience of working with him,” they told Variety via email. “But the most striking thing to us was how, after almost a century of being in this industry, he still hustles harder than anyone we know, how much he still cares about the work he is doing, and above all, how hard this man still loves to party.”
Now the industry pioneer finally has his star.
“I want to thank all the fans and friends who donated their money. It boggles my mind to think that there’s enough people out there who would do that,” he told Variety. “And I don’t know who they are, so I’ll just have to thank them through your article.”
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