Character actor returns home


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He’s the Chinese good guy – or bad guy – in about every Hollywood film made in the past 60 years. From “The New Adventures of Charlie Chan” in the 1950s (he was Barry Chan, “Number One Son”) to Kung Fu Panda (as the voice of Mr. Ping).

Inbetween, he’s graced the sets of “Dragnet,” “Zorro,” “Bonanza,” “Wagon Train,” “Perry Mason,” “The Fugitive,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” “I Spy,” “Mission Impossible,” “Kung Fu,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “The Rockford Files,” “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” “Starsky and Hutch,” “Bionic Woman,” “Wonder Woman,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Lou Grant,” “Taxi,” “Different Strokes,” “Fantasy Island,” “Chinatown,” “The Two Jakes,” “Bladerunner” …in total, has him down for 341 different roles in television and film. Impressive, no?

It turns out James Hong was born in Minneapolis and was part of Central High School’s Class of 1947. Hong will be returning for a class reunion (billed as the “Everyone is 80 (or almost) Celebration!”) on Wednesday, September 9. So the question is, will his classmates recognize him? Or will they say “I swear I know you but I can’t place a name with the face…”

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