NANCY KWAN Biography - Actors and Actresses


Biography » actors and actresses » nancy kwan


Name: Nancy Kwan                                                                       
Born: 19 May 1939 Hong Kong                                                           
Nancy Kwan (born May 19, 1939) is an American actress, who played a pivotal role in   
the acceptance of actors of Asian descent in major Hollywood film roles. Widely       
praised for her beauty, Kwan was considered a major sex symbol in the 1960s.           
Nancy Kwan was born in Hong Kong to a Chinese father, architect Kwan Wing Hong,       
and Scottish mother, model Marquita Scott. Her parents divorced when she was two       
years old.                                                                             
During the Japanese invasion in December 1941, Kwan's father, who worked for           
British intelligence, fled the city on foot along with Nancy and her brother, Ka       
Keung, and hid out in western China. The family returned to Hong Kong at the end       
of World War II. Kwan later studied at the Royal Ballet School in England,             
performing in Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty at Covent Garden. She completed her       
studies with a certificate to teach ballet.                                           
While she was in England, producer Ray Stark discovered her. At the time, Asian       
film characters, particularly those in major film roles, were often played by         
white actors and actresses, using makeup to simulate Asian facial features.           
However, at the age of 18, Kwan received the starring role of a beautiful and         
free-spirited Hong Kong prostitute who captivates artist Robert Lomax (William         
Holden) in the film adaptation of The World of Suzie Wong (1960). She followed         
it up the next year with the hit musical film Flower Drum Song (1961) and became       
one of Hollywood's most visible Eurasian actresses. She became a style icon for       
the signature Vidal Sassoon bob cut she wore in the 1963 film, "The Wild Affair."     
The asymmetrical hairstyle became a 60's staple and variations of the cut are         
still being modeled today. She spent the 1960s starring in several films, such         
as The Wrecking Crew and appearing on such television series as, Hawaii Five-O.       
During this time, she commuted between the United States and Europe.                   
Kwan married Austrian ski instructor Peter Pock and gave birth to a son,               
Bernhard Pock (Bernie), who died at age 33 in 1996 of AIDS which he contracted         
from his wife. Kwan returned to her native Hong Kong in 1972 to be with her           
critically ill father. After his death, she married director-producer Norbert         
Meisel and returned to the United States.                                             
Since returning to the USA in 1979, she has had guest appearances and co-starring     
roles on numerous television productions, such as Kung Fu, The A-Team and ER.         
She has also appeared on television commercials even into the 1990s. Today she         
is politically active as the spokeswoman for the Asian American Voters Coalition.