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The acting profession is increasingly drawing more and more actors of Asian descent. Yet, even with the success of television programs (Martial Law), films (Mulan), and even Broadway plays (Miss Saigon) that include Asian characters, there are still limited roles for these actors. In the past, Asian characters like Charlie Chan and Fu Manchu were played by n-Asian actors in makeup. Many of the roles available for Asians today tend to be stereotypical: kung-fu sidekicks, emasculated or gang-member males, sexually accessible females, comic characters with a poor command of English. Seldom are Asian actors cast in race-neutral roles. Despite these obstacles, many excellent Asian actors continue to seek their places on screen and stage. This analysis of Asian American opportunities and experiences in the acting profession features the narratives of both aspiring and established Asian-American actors, providing a detailed examination of the opportunities, prejudices, and fears they face and the goals they set for themselves. The book covers the insights of both New York and Hollywood based actors, both the well kwn and the up-and-coming, and includes photographs, bibliography and index.
A former broadcast journalist for CNN, Joann Faung Jean Lee is currently director of journalism and associate professor at Queens College, CUNY. She is also the author of Asian American Experiences in the United States (1991). She lives in Northvale, New Jersey.