Nancy Kwan

May 19 was Nancy’s birthday. A quick search showed she had only garnered a mention in the comments. This shall not stand!

Nancy was born 1939/5/19 in Hong Kong, to a Chinese father and a Caucasian mother of English/Scottish ancestry. She’s had quite an interesting life, but for our purposes, we’ll touch on just the event that made her. She answered an advertisement in a newspaper regarding auditions for a novel adapted play called The World of Suzie Wong. Although she had no prior acting experience, she was hired, and after attending acting school joined The World of Suzie Wong as it began to tour. She was initially assigned the part of a bar girl, although she did become the understudy for the female lead, France Nuyen.

When Paramount Studios began making the play into a motion picture, France was chosen over Nancy—who was still in the touring production—as the lead, although the film’s director and lead actor, William Holden, preferred Nancy. France was in a rocky relationship with Marlon Brando, had a nervous breakdown and her erratic behavior caused her to be fired from the film and Nancy, auditioning for the part, beat out 30 other actresses. The rest is history. Since then Nancy has about 50 roles to her credit, including the bit of video (from The Wrecking Crew) at the end of the post where she engages in one of the greatest celluloid chopsocky scenes (with Sharon Tate) ever filmed.

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  1. Avatar of Seems

    Pretty woman with a great figure. Nice post of a “classic”.

  2. Avatar of Sugarbushmadman

    Oldie but goodie

  3. Avatar of ChickenEssence

    Suzie Wong, “hongkie” call girl and mother … Her role annoyed me so much, but she looked classy.
    Nice memories!

  4. Avatar of mralex714

    Saw the movie as a kid and have been in love with Asian women ever since.

  5. Avatar of wingsfan19

    That fight scene was REALLY bad. I remember the Matt Helm movies as being funnier, also. Nancy sure is gorgeous though.

  6. Chuck’s avatar

    I remember Nancy Kwan quite fondly. Thanks for refreshing my memory of this beautiful, talented actress.

  7. Avatar of Romanticwarrior

    wingsfan19,

    You wouldn’t think it was bad if Nancy threw a little mad monkey kung fu on you!

  8. Avatar of arf

    Very Very Lovely woman! she got sex appeal!

  9. Avatar of wingsfan19

    Romanticwarrior,

    She wouldn’t need kung fu, she could knock me over with a feather. But yeah, I’ve seen a lot of bad chop-socky movies but never fight scenes this bad. I’m wondering if it wasn’t intentional because the Matt Helm movies were supposed to be parodies, but still they were laughable.

  10. Avatar of Romanticwarrior

    wingsfan19,

    All those films were done with tongue firmly in cheek.

  11. Avatar of salmo

    For me, Nancy Kwan was and is one of the most beautiful women in the world. I too have loved her since first seeing The World of Suzie Wong.

  12. Avatar of wingsfan19

    Romanticwarrior,

    Yes I know, it’s just that the scenes here were awful. I’ll have to watch some of the others again to see if they hold up at all.

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