Anna May Wong: From Laundryman’s Daughter to Hollywood Legend By Graham Russell Gao Hodges Cover Image

Anna May Wong: From Laundryman’s Daughter to Hollywood Legend (Paperback)

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Anna May Wong was the best known Chinese American actress during Hollywood’s golden age, a free spirit and embodiment of the flapper era much like Louise Brooks. She starred in over fifty movies between 1919 and 1960, sharing the screen with such luminaries as Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Marlene Dietrich. Born in Los Angeles in 1905, Wong was the second daughter of six children born to a laundryman and his wife. Obsessed with film at a young age, she managed to secure a small part in a 1919 drama about the Boxer Rebellion. Her most famous film roles were in The Thief of Baghdad, Old San Francisco, and Shanghai Express opposite Dietrich. Despite these successes, instances of overt racism plagued Wong’s career. When it came time to make a film version of Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth, she was passed over for the German actress, Luise Rainer. In a narrative that recalls both the gritty life in Los Angeles’ working-class Chinese neighborhoods and the glamor of Hollywood at its peak, Graham Hodges recounts the life of this elegant, beautiful, and underappreciated screen legend.

About the Author


Graham Russell Gao Hodges is the George Dorland Langdon, Jr. Professor of History and Africana Studies at Colgate University.

Praise For…


“An illuminating, authoritative biography of Anna May Wong—one of the most enigmatic icons in Hollywood and in the history of Chinese America.” — Yunte Huang, author of Charlie Chan The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with Ameri

“Through a scrupulous examination of Anna May Wong’s life and work, Graham Russell Gao Hodges, a leading African American historian, deploys his keen understanding of American racial matters to transform Wong from merely a tragic figure to a real human be

“Graham Russell Gao Hodges’ fascinating biography of Anna May Wong is an important contribution to not only film studies but Asian American history and women’s history. The facts of Wong’s life—her humble origins as laundryman’s daughter, her tragic love

“Graham Hodges has woven a spellbinding tale that sweeps you into Anna May Wong’s star-crossed life, with rich details of the passions and lost loves, conflicts and triumphs, brilliance and frustrations of this daring woman born far ahead of her time. Lik

“Hodges’ biography proves a valuable resource for further studies of Anna May Wong’s self-conscious manifestations of a fluid, hybrid identity at the intersections between performance/performativity, gender/sexuality and race/ethnicity.” — Miglena Ivanova


Product Details
ISBN: 9789888139637
ISBN-10: 9888139630
Publisher: Hong Kong University Press
Publication Date: June 1st, 2012
Pages: 316
Language: English