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Richard Loo

Richard Loo
Loo, circa 1974
Personal information
Birth dateOctober 01, 1903
Place of birthMaui, Hawaii, U.S.A.
Date of deathNovember 20, 1983(age 80)
Death placeLos Angeles, California, U.S.A.
SpouseBessie Loo (1929-1960); divorce Hope Loo (1964-1983); his death

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Richard Loo (October 1, 1903 - November 20, 1983) was a Chinese American film actor who was one of the most familiar Asian character actors in American films of the 1930s and 1940s. A prolific actor, he appeared in over 120 films between 1931 and 1982.

Richard Loo was most often stereotyped as the Japanese enemy flier, spy or interrogator during the Second World War. Chinese by ancestry and Hawaiian by birth, Loo spent his youth in Hawaii, then moved to California as a teenager. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and attempted a career in business. However, the stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent economic depression forced him to start over. He became involved with amateur, then professional, theater companies and in 1931 made his first film. Like most Asian actors in non-Asian countries, he played primarily small, stereotypical roles, though he rose quickly to familiarity, if not fame, in a number of films.

His stern features led him to be a favorite movie villain, and the coming of World War II gave him greater prominence in roles as vicious Japanese soldiers in successful pictures such as The Purple Heart (1944) and God Is My Co-Pilot (1945). In 1944, he appeared as a Chinese lieutenant opposite Gregory Peck in The Keys of the Kingdom. He had a rare heroic role as a weary Japanese-American soldier in the Korean War drama The Steel Helmet (1951), but spent much of his career in later years performing stock roles and with minor television roles.

In 1974 he appeared as the Thai billionaire tycoon Hai Fat in the James Bond film, The Man With The Golden Gun, opposite Roger Moore and Christopher Lee.

Loo was also a teacher of Shaolin Monks in 7 episodes of the 1972-1974 popular TV show, Kung Fu.

His last acting appearance was in The Incredible Hulk television series in 1981 but he continued to perform for Toyota commercials into 1982. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage on November 20, 1983.

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