Thursday, November 15, 2007

Past Glam: Anna May Wong (1905-1961)

Anna May Wong in Piccadilly, 1929

Anna May Wong was one of the most beautiful stars of Silent Era Hollywood. She was born Wong Liu Tsong in Los Angeles in 1905 and rose to stardom at the age of 17 in Toll of the Sea — a Madame Butterfly reimagining. She soon discovered that Hollywood would never let her play meaningful parts, but that she would always be limited to playing slave girls and loose women. Even after her great success in Shanghai Express (1932), she was offered no great parts.

When she was passed over for O-Lan in the film version of Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth in favor of Luise Rainer, a Caucasian actress, she had had enough. She took a tour of Europe and China, and soon after her return to Los Angeles announced her semi-retirement. She was an exquisite beauty and a woman of much potential which, had she lived a half a century later, she may have been able to realize to its full bloom.

For more info, see the wonderful Profile of Anna May Wong at UCLA Asia Pacific Arts.


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WendyB said...

She was gorgeous!