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Anna May Wong: Hollywood’s Unsung Heroine

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, May 30, 2024 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1D0050
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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Anna May Wong, 1937 (Publicity photo/Paramount Pictures)

History has long neglected the wild and inspiring story of Anna May Wong, a taboo-smashing star whose career left an indelible mark on Hollywood. In her time, she was a legendary beauty, witty conversationalist, and fashion icon. Plucked from her family’s laundry business in Los Angeles, Wong rose to stardom in Douglas Fairbanks’s 1924 silent blockbuster The Thief of Bagdad. Fans and the press clamored to see more of this unlikely actress, but when Hollywood repeatedly cast her in stereotypical roles, she headed abroad in protest.

Wong starred in acclaimed films in Berlin, Paris, and London. She dazzled royalty and heads of state across several nations, leaving trails of suitors in her wake. She returned to challenge Hollywood at its own game by speaking out about the industry’s blatant racism. She used her new stature to move away from her typecasting as the China doll or dragon lady and worked to reshape Asian American representation in film. Biographer Katie Gee Salisbury discusses the vibrant, radical career of a groundbreaking artist, bringing an unsung heroine to light and reclaiming her place in cinema history.

Salisbury's book, Not Your China Doll: The Wild and Shimmering Life of Anna May Wong, (Dutton) is available for purchase.

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