A Little Tribute to a Big Man

Victor Wong

Died on 12 September 2001 – Victor Wong, Chinese-American actor who appeared in many films, including “Dim Sum,” “The Last Emperor,” and “Tremors,” but who is best-remembered for his role as the bus-driving sorcerer Egg Shen in John Carpenter’s “Big Trouble in Little China.”

Wong was a well-educated, multi-talented man who led an uncommonly interesting life. He studied political science and journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and then, after having decided that he needed to investigate spiritual matters, Wong explored theology at the University of Chicago, where his teachers included Paul Tillich, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Martin Buber. When he returned to San Francisco, Wong enrolled at the San Francisco Art Institute under the guidance of Mark Rothko, and he eventually met and befriended both Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Jack Kerouac, and the latter included him as the character Arthur Ma in his novel “Big Sur.”

The last words Victor Wong spoke before his death were, “The world will never be the same,” and for those of us who fondly recall his many wonderful cinematic performances, in some small but nonetheless telling way, he was right.

Below – Victor Wong as Egg Shen: “See? That was nothing. But that’s how it always begins. Very small.”

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