Interview with James Hong

Vanity Fair interviews the legendary James Hong. “My parents obviously wanted me to be something other than an actor. I said, ‘I’ll be an engineer,” because I like to build things.’ I went into the Army for the Korean War. After two years of that, I didn’t know what to do. I came out to San Francisco to see if there was an opportunity to do comedy with my comedy partner, Don Parker (a Minneapolis Central High classmate). Then we headed down to Hollywood. I did impressions and a writer took an interest in me. He went to Groucho Marx and told him there was a Chinese comedian who impersonated him. He said, ‘Bring him on.’ So I went on You Bet Your Life. I got the second biggest fan mail ever on this program. So then I thought, Maybe I’d better stay here instead of finishing college at the University of Minnesota. I transferred all my credits to USC and finished my engineering degree as a safety catch in case I failed.” Read more here.

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