Who is Anna May Wong, the first Asian American on US currency

Who is Anna May Wong, the first Asian American on US currency
Anna May Wong One Of 5 Women To Grace U.S. Quarters

Anna May Wong, considered Hollywood's first Chinese-American star, will appear on currency in a landmark move.

The pioneering golden age actress began her career in the silent film era and was featured in over 60 movies and will appear on quarters.

The coin, which will start to ship on 24 October, will have a close-up of Wong's head resting on her hand.

She's also donning her signature blunt flapper-era bangs, and in an ode to her showbiz legacy, the coin is framed by dots representing marquee lights.

"Along with the hard work, determination, and skill Anna May Wong brought to the profession of acting, I think it was her face and expressive gestures that really captivated movie audiences, so I included these elements next to her name," said Emily Damstra, the designer of the coin for the US Mint.

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The coin also includes the words "quarter dollar" and "E pluribus unum," the Latin phrase "out of many, one."

The backside of the coin, like other quarters, shows the face profile of George Washington.

Anna May Wong

Wong was born Wong Liu Tsong in 1905 in Los Angeles. She made her film debut as an extra aged 14 in 1919's The Red Lantern. And in 1922, she got her breakthrough role in the silent drama The Toll of the Sea.

During her career, Wong hit out against biases in Hollywood that limited Asian American actors to stereotypical roles.

In the Times, it was said that she was angered by the laws at the time that banned people from different races from kissing onscreen.

Wong left the US in 1928 to seek better roles in Europe, where she had greater success, The Los Angeles Times reported.

In 1960, Wong was granted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The following year, she died of a heart attack aged 56, the National Women's History Museum noted.

Wong is one of the many women being honoured as part of the US Mint's American Women Quarters Program.

From 2022 to 2025, the program will unveil five new quarters commemorating influential women from American history.

Alongside Wong, other honourees this year also include the remarkable writer, and civil rights advocate Maya Angelou and astronaut, physicist, and third woman to fly in space, Sally Ride.

The two other honourees are Nina Otera-Warren, a leader in New Mexico's suffrage movement, and Wilma Mankiller, the first woman to be elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.

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