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  • California, U.S.
    1853

    Anna's paternal grandfather

    California, U.S.
    1853

    Anna's paternal grandfather, A Wong Wong, was a merchant who owned two stores in Michigan Hills, a gold-mining area in Placer County. He had come from Chang On, a village near Taishan, Guangdong Province, China, in 1853.




  • U.S.
    1860s

    Grandparents had resided in the U.S. since at least 1855

    U.S.
    1860s

    Wong's parents were second-generation Chinese Americans; her maternal and paternal grandparents had resided in the U.S. since at least 1855.




  • U.S.
    1901

    Parent's marriage

    U.S.
    1901

    Anna's father returned to the U.S. in the late 1890s and in 1901, while continuing to support his family in China, he married a second wife, Anna May's mother. Anna May's older sister Lew Ying (Lulu) was born in late 1902, and Anna May in 1905, followed by five more children.




  • Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    Tuesday Jan 03, 1905

    Birth

    Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    Tuesday Jan 03, 1905

    Anna May Wong was born Wong Liu Tsong (Liu Tsong literally meaning "willow frost") on January 3, 1905, on Flower Street in Los Angeles, one block north of Chinatown, in an integrated community of Chinese, Irish, German and Japanese residents.




  • Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    1910

    The family moved to a neighborhood on Figueroa Street

    Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    1910

    In 1910, the family moved to a neighborhood on Figueroa Street where they were the only Chinese people on their block, living alongside mostly Mexican and Eastern European families. The two hills separating their new home from Chinatown helped Wong to assimilate into American culture.




  • U.S.
    1916

    Wong had come up with her stage name of Anna May Wong

    U.S.
    1916

    By the age of 11, Wong had come up with her stage name of Anna May Wong, formed by joining both her English and family names.




  • U.S.
    Sunday May 04, 1919

    The Red Lantern

    U.S.
    Sunday May 04, 1919

    Wong was working at Hollywood's Ville de Paris department store when Metro Pictures needed 300 female extras to appear in Alla Nazimova's film The Red Lantern (1919). Without her father's knowledge, a friend of his with movie connections helped her land an uncredited role as an extra carrying a lantern.


  • U.S.
    1919

    Wong worked steadily for the next two years as an extra in various movies

    U.S.
    1919

    Wong worked steadily for the next two years as an extra in various movies, including Priscilla Dean and Colleen Moore pictures. While still a student, Wong came down with an illness identified as St. Vitus's Dance which caused her to miss months of school. She was on the verge of emotional collapse when her father took her to a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine. The treatments proved successful, though Wong later claimed this had more to do with her dislike of the methods.


  • Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    1921

    Wong dropped out of Los Angeles High School

    Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    1921

    Finding it difficult to keep up with both her schoolwork and her passion, Wong dropped out of Los Angeles High School in 1921 to pursue a full-time acting career.


  • U.S.
    Monday Sep 26, 1921

    Wong received her first screen credit for Bits of Life

    U.S.
    Monday Sep 26, 1921

    In 1921, Wong received her first screen credit for Bits of Life, the first anthology film, in which she played the wife of Lon Chaney's character, Toy Ling, in a segment entitled "Hop".


  • U.S.
    Nov, 1922

    Wong played her first leading role

    U.S.
    Nov, 1922

    At the age of 17, Wong played her first leading role, in the early Metro two-color Technicolor movie The Toll of the Sea. Written by Frances Marion, the story was based loosely on Madama Butterfly. Variety magazine singled Wong out for praise, noting her "extraordinarily fine" acting.


  • U.S.
    Tuesday Mar 18, 1924

    Wong was cast in a supporting role in The Thief of Bagdad

    U.S.
    Tuesday Mar 18, 1924

    At the age of 19, Wong was cast in a supporting role as a scheming Mongol slave in the 1924 Douglas Fairbanks picture The Thief of Bagdad. Playing a stereotypical "Dragon Lady" role, her brief appearances on-screen caught the attention of audiences and critics alike.


  • U.S.
    Mar, 1924

    Anna May Wong Productions

    U.S.
    Mar, 1924

    In March 1924, planning to make films about Chinese myths, she signed a deal creating Anna May Wong Productions; when her business partner was found to be engaging in dishonest practices, Wong brought a lawsuit against him and the company was dissolved.


  • U.S.
    Sunday Sep 14, 1924

    The Alaskan

    U.S.
    Sunday Sep 14, 1924

    Wong continued to be offered exotic supporting roles that followed the rising "vamp" stereotype in cinema. She played indigenous native girls in two 1924 films. Filmed on location in the Territory of Alaska she portrayed an Eskimo in The Alaskan.


  • U.S.
    Monday Dec 29, 1924

    Wong preformed in Peter Pan

    U.S.
    Monday Dec 29, 1924

    Wong returned to Los Angeles to perform the part of Princess Tiger Lily in Peter Pan. Both films were shot by cinematographer James Wong Howe but Peter Pan was more successful; the hit of the Christmas season.


  • U.S.
    Monday Feb 02, 1925

    Forty Winks

    U.S.
    Monday Feb 02, 1925

    Wong was singled out for critical praise in a manipulative Oriental vamp role in the film Forty Winks.


  • U.S.
    1925

    Wong joined a group of serial stars on a tour of the vaudeville circuits

    U.S.
    1925

    In early 1925 Wong joined a group of serial stars on a tour of the vaudeville circuits; when the tour proved to be a failure, Wong and the rest of the group returned to Hollywood.


  • Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    1926

    Wong put the first rivet into the structure of Grauman's Chinese Theatre

    Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    1926

    In 1926, Wong put the first rivet into the structure of Grauman's Chinese Theatre when she joined Norma Talmadge for its groundbreaking ceremony, although she was not invited to leave her hand- and foot-prints in cement.


  • U.S.
    Saturday Mar 26, 1927

    Mr. Wu

    U.S.
    Saturday Mar 26, 1927

    In Mr. Wu (1927) Wong played a supporting role as increasing censorship against mixed-race onscreen couples cost her the lead. In The Crimson City, released the following year, this happened again.


  • California, U.S.
    1927

    Re-titled The Dragon Horse

    California, U.S.
    1927

    Wong starred in The Silk Bouquet. Re-titled The Dragon Horse in 1927, the film was one of the first U.S. films to be produced with Chinese backing, provided by San Francisco's Chinese Six Companies. The story was set in China during the Ming Dynasty and featured Asian actors playing the Asian roles.


  • California, U.S.
    Tuesday Jun 21, 1927

    Old San Francisco

    California, U.S.
    Tuesday Jun 21, 1927

    Wong continued to be assigned supporting roles. Hollywood's Asian female characters tended toward two stereotypical poles: the naïve and self-sacrificing "Butterfly" and the sly and deceitful "Dragon Lady". In Old San Francisco (1927), directed by Alan Crosland for Warner Brothers, Wong played a "Dragon Lady", a gangster's daughter.


  • Europe
    1928

    Wong left Hollywood for Europe

    Europe
    1928

    Tired of being both typecast and being passed over for lead Asian character roles in favor of non-Asian actresses, Wong left Hollywood in 1928 for Europe.


  • Germany and United Kingdom
    Aug, 1928

    Schmutziges Geld

    Germany and United Kingdom
    Aug, 1928

    In Europe, Wong became a sensation, starring in notable films such as Schmutziges Geld (aka Song and Show Life, 1928) and Großstadtschmetterling (Pavement Butterfly).


  • Vienna, Austria
    1930s

    Operetta

    Vienna, Austria
    1930s

    In Vienna, she played the title role in the operetta Tschun Tschi in fluent German.


  • United Kingdom
    Saturday Jun 01, 1929

    Piccadilly

    United Kingdom
    Saturday Jun 01, 1929

    Wong made her last silent film, Piccadilly, in 1929, the first of five English films in which she had a starring role. The film caused a sensation in the UK.


  • Germany
    1930s

    Wong became an inseparable friend of the director Leni Riefenstahl

    Germany
    1930s

    While in Germany, Wong became an inseparable friend of the director Leni Riefenstahl. Her close friendships with several women throughout her life, including Marlene Dietrich and Cecil Cunningham, led to rumors of lesbianism which damaged her public reputation.


  • United Kingdom
    Mar, 1930

    The Flame of Love

    United Kingdom
    Mar, 1930

    Wong's first talkie was The Flame of Love (1930), which she recorded in French, English, and German. Though Wong's performance – particularly her handling of the three languages – was lauded, all three versions of the film received negative reviews.


  • Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    1930

    Back to Hollywood

    Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    1930

    During the 1930s, American studios were looking for fresh European talent. Ironically, Wong caught their eye, and she was offered a contract with Paramount Studios in 1930.


  • Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    Nov, 1930

    Wong's mother was struck and killed

    Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    Nov, 1930

    In November 1930, Wong's mother was struck and killed by an automobile in front of the Figueroa Street house.


  • U.S.
    Monday Mar 02, 1931

    The Good Earth

    U.S.
    Monday Mar 02, 1931

    In the 1930s, the popularity of Pearl Buck's novels, especially The Good Earth, as well as growing American sympathy for China in its struggles with Japanese imperialism, opened up opportunities for more positive Chinese roles in U.S. films.


  • U.S.
    Saturday Sep 05, 1931

    Daughter of the Dragon

    U.S.
    Saturday Sep 05, 1931

    With the promise of appearing in a Josef von Sternberg film, Wong accepted another stereotypical role – the title character of Fu Manchu's vengeful daughter in Daughter of the Dragon (1931).


  • Inner Manchuria, China
    Sep, 1931

    Mukden Incident

    Inner Manchuria, China
    Sep, 1931

    Wong began using her newfound celebrity to make political statements: late in 1931, for example, she wrote a harsh criticism of the Mukden Incident and Japan's subsequent invasion of Manchuria.


  • U.S.
    Friday Feb 12, 1932

    Shanghai Express

    U.S.
    Friday Feb 12, 1932

    Wong appeared alongside Marlene Dietrich as a self-sacrificing courtesan in Sternberg's Shanghai Express.


  • Haidian District, Beijing, China
    1932

    Peking University awarded the actress an honorary doctorate

    Haidian District, Beijing, China
    1932

    Peking University awarded the actress an honorary doctorate in 1932.


  • U.S.
    Friday Dec 23, 1932

    The Son-Daughter

    U.S.
    Friday Dec 23, 1932

    After her success in Europe and a prominent role in Shanghai Express, Wong's Hollywood career returned to its old pattern. Because of the Hays Code's anti-miscegenation rules, she was passed over for the leading female role in The Son-Daughter in favor of Helen Hayes.


  • U.S.
    1933

    "I Protest"

    U.S.
    1933

    Wong also became more outspoken in her advocacy for Chinese American causes and for better film roles. In a 1933 interview for Film Weekly entitled "I Protest", Wong criticized the negative stereotyping in Daughter of the Dragon, saying, "Why is it that the screen Chinese is always the villain? And so crude a villain – murderous, treacherous, a snake in the grass! We are not like that. How could we be, with a civilization that is so many times older than the West?".


  • China
    1934

    Wong's father returned to his hometown in China

    China
    1934

    The family remained at the house until 1934 when Wong's father returned to his hometown in China with Anna May's younger brothers and sister.


  • New York, U.S.
    1934

    "The World's best-dressed woman"

    New York, U.S.
    1934

    In 1934, the Mayfair Mannequin Society of New York voted her "The World's best-dressed woman".


  • United Kingdom
    Aug, 1934

    Java Head

    United Kingdom
    Aug, 1934

    Wong's film Java Head (1934), though generally considered a minor effort, was the only film in which Wong kissed the lead male character, her white husband in the film. Wong's biographer, Graham Russell Hodges, commented that this may be why the film remained one of Wong's personal favorites.


  • London, England, United Kingdom
    1935

    Wong also appeared in the King George Silver Jubilee program

    London, England, United Kingdom
    1935

    Wong returned to Britain, where she stayed for nearly three years. In addition to appearing in four films, she toured Scotland and Ireland as part of a vaudeville show. She also appeared in the King George Silver Jubilee program in 1935.


  • U.S.
    Jun, 1935

    Wong returned to the U.S.

    U.S.
    Jun, 1935

    Wong returned to the U.S. in June 1935 with the goal of obtaining the role of O-lan, the lead female character in MGM's film version of The Good Earth. Since its publication in 1931, Wong had made known her desire to play O-lan in a film version of the book; and as early as 1933, Los Angeles newspapers were touting Wong as the best choice for the part.


  • U.S.
    Jan, 1936

    Wong chronicled her experiences in a series of articles printed in U.S. newspapers

    U.S.
    Jan, 1936

    Embarking in January 1936, Wong chronicled her experiences in a series of articles printed in U.S. newspapers such as the New York Herald Tribune, the Los Angeles Examiner, the Los Angeles Times, and Photoplay.


  • Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    1940s

    Chinese consul gave his approval to the final scripts of two of films to Los Angeles

    Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    1940s

    In contrast to the usual official Chinese condemnation of Wong's film roles, the Chinese consul to Los Angeles gave his approval to the final scripts of two of these films, Daughter of Shanghai (1937) and King of Chinatown (1939).


  • U.S.
    Oct, 1937

    Marriage rumors

    U.S.
    Oct, 1937

    In October 1937, the press carried rumors that Wong had plans to marry her male co-star in this film, childhood friend and Korean-American actor Philip Ahn. Wong replied, "It would be like marrying my brother."


  • U.S.
    1938

    Dangerous to Know

    U.S.
    1938

    Bosley Crowther was not so kind to Dangerous to Know (1938), which he called a "second-rate melodrama, hardly worthy of the talents of its generally capable cast".


  • Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
    1938

    "The World's most beautiful Chinese girl"

    Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
    1938

    In 1938 Look magazine named her "The World's most beautiful Chinese girl".


  • California, U.S.
    1938

    Chinese Benevolent Association of California honored Wong

    California, U.S.
    1938

    In 1938, having auctioned off her movie costumes and donated the money to Chinese aid, the Chinese Benevolent Association of California honored Wong for her work in support of Chinese refugees.


  • Australia
    1939

    Wong visited Australia for more than three months

    Australia
    1939

    Being sick of the negative typecasting that had enveloped her throughout her American career, Wong visited Australia for more than three months in 1939. There she was the star attraction in a vaudeville show entitled 'Highlights from Hollywood' at the Tivoli Theatre in Melbourne.


  • New York., U.S.
    1939

    The Campbell Playhouse

    New York., U.S.
    1939

    Wong performed on radio several times, including a 1939 role as "Peony" in Pearl Buck's The Patriot on Orson Welles' The Campbell Playhouse.


  • U.S.
    1939

    Support of the Chinese struggle against Japan

    U.S.
    1939

    Between 1939 and 1942, Wong made few films, instead engaging in events and appearances in support of the Chinese struggle against Japan.


  • Mission Inn, Riverside, California, U.S.
    1941

    Wong attended several socialite events

    Mission Inn, Riverside, California, U.S.
    1941

    Wong attended several socialite events at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California, in 1941.


  • U.S.
    1942

    New Chinese Recipes

    U.S.
    1942

    The proceeds from the preface that she wrote in 1942 to a cookbook entitled New Chinese Recipes, one of the first Chinese cookbooks, we're also dedicated to United China Relief.


  • U.S.
    1942

    Anti-Japanese propaganda

    U.S.
    1942

    Wong starred in Bombs over Burma (1942) and Lady from Chungking (1942), both anti-Japanese propaganda made by the poverty row studio Producers Releasing Corporation. She donated her salary for both films to United China Relief.


  • San Vicente Boulevard, Santa Monica, California, U.S.
    1950s

    Moongate Apartments

    San Vicente Boulevard, Santa Monica, California, U.S.
    1950s

    Later in life, Wong invested in real estate and owned a number of properties in Hollywood. She converted her home on San Vicente Boulevard in Santa Monica into four apartments that she called "Moongate Apartments". She served as the apartment house manager from the late 1940s until 1956, when she moved in with her brother Richard on 21st Place in Santa Monica.


  • U.S.
    Friday Apr 01, 1949

    Impact

    U.S.
    Friday Apr 01, 1949

    After a six-year absence, Wong returned to film the same year with a small role in a B movie called Impact.


  • Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    1949

    Wong's father died

    Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    1949

    In 1949, Wong's father died in Los Angeles at the age of 91.


  • U.S.
    Monday Aug 27, 1951

    The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong

    U.S.
    Monday Aug 27, 1951

    From August 27 to November 21, 1951, Wong starred in a detective series that was written specifically for her, the DuMont Television Network series The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong, in which she played the title role that used her birth name.


  • U.S.
    1952

    Wong was supportive of Adlai Stevenson's campaign

    U.S.
    1952

    A Democrat, Wong was supportive of Adlai Stevenson's campaign during the 1952 presidential election.


  • U.S.
    1953

    Internal hemorrhage

    U.S.
    1953

    Wong's health began to deteriorate. In late 1953 she suffered an internal hemorrhage, which her brother attributed to the onset of menopause, her continued heavy drinking, and financial worries.


  • U.S.
    1956

    Wong did guest spots on television series

    U.S.
    1956

    Wong also did guest spots on television series such as Adventures in Paradise, The Barbara Stanwyck Show, and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.


  • U.S.
    1956

    Bold Journey

    U.S.
    1956

    In 1956, Wong hosted one of the first U.S. documentaries on China narrated entirely by a Chinese American. Broadcast on the ABC travel series Bold Journey, the program consisted of film footage from her 1936 trip to China.


  • 1708 Vine Street, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    1960

    Hollywood Walk of Fame

    1708 Vine Street, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    1960

    For her contribution to the film industry, Anna May Wong received a star at 1708 Vine Street on the inauguration of the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.


  • U.S.
    Jun, 1960

    Portrait in Black

    U.S.
    Jun, 1960

    In 1960, Wong returned to film in Portrait in Black, starring Lana Turner. She still found herself stereotyped, with one press release explaining her long absence from films with a supposed proverb, which was claimed to have been passed down to Wong by her father: "Don't be photographed too much or you'll lose your soul", a quote that would be inserted into many of her obituaries.


  • Santa Monica, California, U.S.
    Friday Feb 03, 1961

    Death

    Santa Monica, California, U.S.
    Friday Feb 03, 1961

    On February 3, 1961, at the age of 56, Anna died of a heart attack as she slept at home in Santa Monica, two days after her final screen performance on television's The Barbara Stanwyck Show.


  • United Kingdom
    2016

    The Fortunes

    United Kingdom
    2016

    In 2016, the novelist Peter Ho Davies published The Fortunes, a saga of Chinese-American experiences centered around four characters, one of whom is a fictionalized Anna May Wong, imagined from childhood until her death. In a conversation published in the 2017 paperback edition, Davies described his novel as an exploration of the Chinese-American quest for authenticity – a third way of being Chinese-American – with Anna May Wong representing an iconic example of that struggle.


  • 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, California, U.S.
    Wednesday Jan 22, 2020

    Google Doodle celebrated Wong

    1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, California, U.S.
    Wednesday Jan 22, 2020

    On January 22, 2020, a Google Doodle celebrated Wong, commemorating the 97th anniversary of the day The Toll of the Sea went into general release.


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