Born in Los Angeles to second-generation Toisonese Taishanese -Chinese-American parents, Wong became infatuated with the movies and began acting in films at an early age. During the silent film era, she acted in The Toll of the Sea , one of the first movies made in color and Douglas Fairbanks ' The Thief of Bagdad Wong became a fashion icon and had achieved international stardom in Frustrated by the stereotypical supporting roles she reluctantly played in Hollywood , Wong left for Europe in the late s, where she starred in several notable plays and films, among them Piccadilly She spent the first half of the s traveling between the United States and Europe for film and stage work.
Anna May Wong was the first Chinese American movie star, and also the first Asian American actress to gain international recognition. Her long and varied career spanned silent film, sound film, television, stage and radio. Find a Grave. Born Wong Liu Tsong, she began her career as an extra at the age of 14 and played several supporting roles before being cast as the lead in "The Toll of the Sea. Her career was sidelined by Hollywood's discriminatory codes of the period, which would not permit an Asian woman to kiss a Caucasian man on screen. She was not allowed to play female leads but was channeled into parts as servants, secondary parts where she was an innocent native girl who was usually murdered before the film was over.
Anna May Wong is chiefly remembered as the first actress of Asian extraction to achieve stardom as the epitome of the "Oriental temptress," so much a fixture of melodramas in the late s and s. In fact, with more than 80 film credits to her name, Wong is the all-time leading Asian American presence on film. She maintained her popularity for more than a quarter of a century, and she remained one of the highest-salaried stars of her time.
Anna May Wong appeared in over 50 American, English and German films in her career, making her the first global Chinese-American movie star. She was forced to fight against racism and stereotyping all her professional life, while simultaneously being criticized by Chinese at home and abroad for perpetuating stereotypes in the media. Despite this tremendous burden, the beautiful woman assayed an elegance and sophistication on-screen that made her the paradigm of Asian women for a generation of movie audiences. Born near the Chinatown neighborhood of Los Angeles to second-generation Chinese-American parents, Wong became infatuated with the movies.