Theo Wargo/Getty Images; Amanda Edwards/Getty Images
If you've made a habit of watching movies or television in the last fifty-plus years, you've almost certainly seen or heard James Hong in at least a few things. The prolific actor has more than 600 credits — believed to be the most of any actor, living or dead — and has appeared in such films as Blade Runner, Chinatown, Airplane!, and Big Trouble in Little China, in addition to numerous TV shows, most famously Seinfeld's iconic episode "The Chinese Restaurant." As a voice actor, he's also contributed to Kung Fu Panda, Mulan, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and much more.
It only makes sense, in other words, that Lost actor Daniel Dae Kim has decided the time has come to award Hong a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Kim launched a fundraiser on Monday that picked up steam throughout the week, with his GoFundMe campaign more than halfway to its $55,000 goal.
Hong "epitomizes the term 'working actor,' and that's not even taking into account all he's done to help further representation for actors of color," Kim wrote in the GoFundMe description. "Not only was he one of the few who worked steadily when there were even fewer roles than there are now, but he also served the Asian American community by co-creating the legendary East West Players theater company with fellow pioneers like Mako and Nobu McCarthy, just to name a few."
I've said it before and I'll say it again:
James Hong deserves a Star on the #Hollywood Walk of Fame.
I've already started the nomination process.
Who's with me? #StarForJamesHong @WalkofFameStar
— Daniel Dae Kim (@danieldaekim) August 3, 2020
Kim is attempting to raise $50,000 to cover the required cost of the "creation and installation of the star, as well as general maintenance of the Walk of Fame" (with the additional $5,000 for GoFundMe's service fees). He then plans to submit Hong's nomination application next spring.
“We are happy to consider Mr. Hong if he agrees on the nomination in writing,” Hollywood Walk of Fame producer Ana Martinez told Variety, adding, "We don’t endorse GoFundMe petitions because what happens with the funds if the person is not selected? They should have a back-up plan in case that happens."
In fact, they do: Kim wrote that the funds will be donated to a charity in Hong's honor if his nomination is not accepted.
Speaking to CNN earlier this month, Hong reflected on his career and the continued struggles of Asian Americans in the entertainment industry. "Even though the actors and singers have talent, they can't move forward because there are not enough roles," he said. "That's a shame, because it's a waste of good talent. We can't express ourselves in the way we want to in the mainstream movies and TV because it's controlled by somebody else. [But] Asians are beginning to do their own plays and own TV series and movies and getting big box office. So it's only a matter of time."