Tuesday was "James Hong Day" in Hollywood. The prolific actor, with more than 600 credits to his name, was honored during a Walk of Fame ceremony on May 10. At 93, Hong became the oldest honoree to ever receive a star.
As Jamie Lee Curtis, his co-star in Everything Everywhere All at Once, noted in her tribute "I'm sorry if there are any children here, but it’s about f*****g time!" She went on to describe Hong as a generous actor, activist, and friend, saying that "the center of James Hong is kindness and love."
Hong's star was unveiled in front of a cheering crowd that included Daniel Dae Kim, Ke Huy Qwan, producers Janet Yang and Jonathan Wang, and the directors of Everything Everywhere All at Once, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert -- collectively known as Daniels -- who said Hong was their first and only choice for the role of Gong Gong.
Hong, who danced with Curtis and playfully swatted at Kim for revealing that he sends his emails in all caps, was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and admiration.
“I actually don't know how I’m going to survive the day with all these compliments," he said.
Kim, who nominated Hong for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2020, noted how fitting it was that the community was coming together to celebrate his career during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. "No one will have blazed a trail the way James Hong has," Kim said. "I know I speak for so many when I say thank you James, for your hard work. You make us all so very, very proud."
Kim and Curtis both spoke to Hong’s legacy as one of the founders of the legendary Asian American theater company, East West Players.
"East West Players has given hundreds -- if not thousands -- of Asian American actors their start, and I count myself among them," Kim said.
Hong, who moved to Los Angeles to study engineering before pivoting to acting, began his career in 1954, and never stopped. His staggering list of credits includes Big Trouble in Little China, Blade Runner, Turning Red, the Kung Fu Panda franchise, and, of course, Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Television provided many of his early roles on shows like Bonanza, Hawaii Five-O (the original and the reboot), and Kung Fu, all the way up through The Big Bang Theory and The Blacklist. He has also been in demand as a voice actor for everything from animated series to video games.
"Growing up, James Hong was in our living rooms," said Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said during the ceremony. "He was part of our American family."
Hong becomes only the 19th Asian American to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. "His A-list co-stars are on this street," Kim said. "And now he takes his rightful place among them."
After all the tributes, Hong had a surprise in store in lieu of a speech, Hong arranged for lion dancers to perform, and brought his family and friends up to dance with him, including Curtis, Kim, Tia Carrere, and Big Trouble in Little China co-stars George Cheung and Peter Kwong.
"As you can see, I don't have any speeches because I'm not that kind of person," Hong said. "I want to feel the moment. And just be here, to see all of you whom I haven't seen in a long time."
Asian American representation on the Walk of Fame will jump this year, with the induction of Hong and other members of the class of 2022: Ming-Na Wen, Jason Momoa, and Black Eyed Peas member apl.de.ap (born Allan Pineda Lindo). Hong’s star is located near the intersection of Hollywood Blvd and N. Orange Dr, not far from that of another pioneer -- Bruce Lee.