by Akemi Tamanaha, Associate Editor
Ming-Na Wen has officially been honored with her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. An unveiling ceremony was held Tuesday, May 30.
Wen’s star will be in the Television category at 6840 Hollywood Blvd but the actress was celebrated for her entire career in television and film at the unveiling ceremony.
“I am overwhelmed by this extraordinary honor and honor that never ever occurred to me to dream up,” Wen said at the ceremony.
The 59-year-old was born in Coloane, one of the two main islands of Macau. She and her brother moved to Hong Kong as young children after their parents’ divorce. They moved to New York City with their mother when Wen was four.
Wen’s first television appearance was as a royal trumpeter on the children’s tv series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. In the late 80s and early 90s she played Lien Hughes on the soap opera As the World Turns.
Her career took off in 1993 after she starred in the film adaptation of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club. Since then, she has worked on several prominent films and television shows, many of which have been produced by Disney. Steve Nissen, the president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, joked that Wen had completed the “Disney hattrick,” starring as the Disney warrior princess Mulan, Marvel agent Melinda May and Star Wars assassin Fennec Shand.
Wen’s The Joy Luck Club co-stars Tamlyn Tomita, Lauren Tom and Rosalind Chao spoke about their friendships with Wen at the unveiling ceremony. Tomita noted that as some of the “very few Asian American actresses” in the 90s they were often inaccurately portrayed as rivals.
“It was never about competition, rather than the fact is, is that when we would see each other at auditions we would very often be so overjoyed at the chance at seeing each other to catch up gossip and laugh, and oh my god did we laugh,” Tomita said.
Tom praised “her generosity of spirit and her kindness.” All three women emphasized how much Wen deserved to receive a star.
“I mean you’ve been a trailblazer and you’ve worked so hard for this moment. I told you. I told you in our text. You deserve this and we could not be more proud of you,” Chao said.
During her speech, Wen said that her name often made it hard for her to fit in, in “white suburbia.” An agent even suggested she anglicize her name.
“It made me feel like an outsider, a foreigner. But it also made me more determined to make it belong. You know hell, if they could say Arnold Schwarzenegger. They can say Ming Na Wen,” she said.
Wen also thanked several people that attended the ceremony including legendary actor James Hong who was honored with a star last year. She thanked her mother, a single mother in China who sacrificed everything to bring Wen and her siblings to America.
“Mom thanks to you. We are all living the American dream. And this day is dedicated to you. And I want to thank you for my name because it may not be English, but it is American,” she said.
She also offered her support to the writers working in television and film amidst the Writers Guild of America strike.
“Without writers there would be no Walk of Fame. So I just want to give a quick shout-out to all our writers. Some of them are right in here in this group and I support you wholeheartedly.”
The veteran actress promised to keep working to “earn” her star.
“I’ve endured countless rejections. I’ve dealt with sexism, racism, so many isms. And I am willing to face these struggles because when the jobs come when the few yeses happen, they negate all the nos and the fun starts all over again,” she said.
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