FAMOUS ASIAN AMERICAN ROOSTERS
(December 10, 1933)
Dignity, canny pride in his Asian heritage, and meticulous attention to his craft are the traits of every character played by the actor born as Makoto Iwamatsu. For exhibiting those qualities as Po-han in The Sand Pebbles (1966), Mako earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. In the four decades since Mako has brought credit to all Asians and to Asian American actors in particular by breathing purpose and nuance into countless character roles in films and TV shows. Mako is an example of the rooster's skill at balancing the inner and outer person.
(May 15, 1957)
In building a career as a successful Hollywood producer Teddy Zee mastered the subtle art of massaging egoes while balancing the harsh realities of the movie business. That's the rooster's public side. In private, Zee remains firmly committed to advancing his personal agenda of bringing an Asian American perspective to studio projects. He has quietly moved Asian projects into the pipeline while serving as film head of Will Smith's production company, a job that taps the rooster's knack for keeping tight control over finances. Among Zee's pet projects: bringing over Chow Yun-Fat to star in The Replacement Killers.
(August 18, 1957)
Moviegoers remember Tan Dun's thrilling and haunting Oscar-winning score for Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. To serious music fans, Tan Dun is one of the world's most innovative conductors and composers. While leading top orchestras like the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, National Orchestra de France and the Montreal Symphony, Tan has pioneered the breaking down of walls that have traditionally divided the musical worlds of classical and modern, eastern and western. He draws from personal experience to compose works like the Orchestral Theatre Series, symphonies that evoke childhood memories of shamanistic ritual.
(January 1, 1970)
It's one thing for a Filipino American to challenge Ann Coulter for supremacy among lipstick-wearing rightwing columnists. It's another to write a book that justifies the World War II internment of Japanese Americans (In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror (Regnery, August 2004)). Call it the rooster's dark side. Malkin sometimes deserves credit for decrying the folly that can lurks behind the fashionable side of arguments. Often, however, she falls prey to the petty and spiteful arrogance that sees evil in all opposition.