Actor Anna May Wong is set to be the first Asian American to be featured on the US Currency. The actor is considered the first Chinese American movie star as her portrayals of Chinese characters helped to combat the stereotypes among audiences of white heritage.
Actor Anna May Wong to Be Featured On the US Currency
Anna May Wong which is considered to be Hollywood’s very first Chinese American film star will now be the first Asian American to make an appearance on the US currency.
She will appear on a new quarter as part of the US mints American Women Quarters program which celebrates the contributions and accomplishments that have been made by American women in the development and history of the united states in various fields such as science, humanities, space, arts, government, suffrage abolition, and civil rights.
The American Women Quarters Program
The program normally honors five distinguished American women every year. And this year, Wong will be joining others such as Maya Angelou, astronaut Sally Ride, Cherokee leader Wilma Mankiller and lastly, suffrage movement leader Nina Otero-Warren.
The US mint on Tuesday said that the heads side of Wong’s quarter will be featuring a portrait of George Washington, while the tail side on the other will feature a close-up image of Wong with her head resting on her hand and surrounded by the bright lights of a marquee sign. The quarter will be making its debut on October 25.
Wong’s Career and How It Helped Combat Racial Stereotypes
Over the course of her vast career, which spanned silent movies, sound movies, stage, and TV, the portrayals of Wong’s Chinese characters helped to combat the stereotypes among white audiences at a time of overt racism and discrimination.
The Biography of Wong
Wong was born Wong Liu Tsong on Jan. 3, 1905, close to Chinatown in Los Angeles. And when not in school or working at her father’s laundry, she would hang around film crews as movies were being shot in her then neighborhood, begging filmmakers to cast her in movies. And by the age of 11, she had chosen her stage name, Anna May Wong and a couple of years later she landed her first role as an uncredited extra in the 1919 movie The Red Lantern.
And despite the positive reviews she got, racial barriers prevented US filmmakers at the time from offering her anything but small, supporting roles based on racial stereotypes. Being tired of being passed over for leading roles, Wong then moved to Europe in 1928. There, she made 1929’s Piccadilly, which is her last silent movie and also her first leading role in an English movie, as well as her first talkie in 1930, The Flame of Love. Wong also appeared on the stage with a young Laurence Olivier.
Wong Returned To Hollywood In 1930
And after returning to Hollywood in 1930, she was cast opposite her close friend Marlene Dietrich in 1932’s Shanghai Express, turning in a performance that many film historians judged as being better than that Dietrich’s.
Wong Was Recognized With a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame In 1960
In 1926, she put the first rivet in Grauman’s Chinese theater, but she was not invited to leave prints in the cement. Fast forward to 1960, her contribution to the film industry was recognized and then marked with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Her contributions also were marked by a Google doodle that is dedicated in her honor back in 2020.