In John Carpenter’s cult classic “Big Trouble in Little China,” the world met Suzee Pai as Miao Yin, a character whose beauty and grace captivated audiences in 1986. Her memorable role in the film was just the beginning of what seemed like a promising career in Hollywood. However, since her time in the mystical world of Chinatown, Suzee Pai has remained an elusive figure, largely absent from the spotlight. As fans of the movie continue to celebrate its enduring legacy, one question lingers: whatever happened to Suzee Pai?
Sue Frances Pai was born on August 8th, 1962, in Toledo, Ohio. She is a former model and actress who has retired to a life of privacy since the early 1990s. She is mainly known as Suzee Pai.
Suzee Pai’s ethnicity is usually listed simply as “American” in most biographies, but she appears to have some Indonesian or Vietnamese ancestry. However, due to her private nature and lack of information, this is hard to confirm.
How did her career start?
Suzee Pai’s career began with fashion modeling in New York City. She was also a Liberty Bells cheerleader for the Philadelphia Eagles. Beyond that, her early career and education are unknown.
At the age of 18, would appear in the January 1981 issue of Penthouse magazine. She would appear in a pictorial in the same publication in June of 1982. She would also be seen in Playboy in a 1982 feature on “Sex and the Cinema,” with pictures from her cut scene from First Blood.
In 1984 she would compete in the Spokesmodel category of Ed McMahon’s Star Search.
Suzee Pai’s first credited role was in 1981’s Sharky’s Machine. The action crime drama, directed by Burt Renolds, starred himself, Rachel Ward, and Vittorio Gassman. Suzee Pai played a blind sex worker named Siakwan.
Pai would later film a scene for 1982’s Rambo: First Blood that was cut but is ultimately included in archival footage. She would be in a flashback scene with Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo.
Big Trouble In Little China
The most significant role of her career was in the 1986 film Big Trouble In Little China. She would play the green-eyed beauty Miao Yin, who is kidnapped by the evil sorcerer Lo Pan. Big Trouble In Little China would become a cult classic directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russel and Kim Cattral.
Before retiring, one of her final roles was as a recurring character in the short-lived series Tattinger’s. In this comedy-drama series on NBC, she would play a pianist named Billie Low. The show followed those who worked in the New York restaurant Tattinger’s. The show starred Stephen Collins, Blythe Danner, and Jerry Stiller. The show ran for one season from 1988 to 1989.
How did she get the part in Big Trouble In Little China?
Suzee Pai revealed how she was cast in the cult classic Big Trouble In Little China in an interview with the Observer-Reporter in Washington, PA, in 1982:
“They needed a Eurasian girl with an exotic look. But to be honest, I don’t know why they picked me, because I had no acting experience,” the 19-year-old admits…It seems Burt, who stars and directs in his new shoot-‘em-up adventure “Sharkey’s Machine,” wasn’t too impressed with the 500 girls that he had considered for the bit part…The former cheerleader for the Philadelphia Eagles’ football Liberty Bells, Suzee was doing some fashion modeling in New York before Burt’s offer came in. She was commuting from Philadelphia to New York for her $1,200 a day shooting sessions.
Ultimately, much of Suzee Pai’s career resulted from some good luck, as her quote suggests she had no real training and happened to have a suitable look for Burt Reynolds and then later Big Trouble In Little China.
What is Suzee Pai Doing Now?
After quitting acting in the 1990s, Suzee chose to step away from Hollywood and has maintained a remarkably private life. Despite occasional curiosity from fans and entertainment enthusiasts, there have been no articles, interviews, or updates about her in recent years, and Suzee Pai has refrained from having any public presence on social media. Her whereabouts and current activities remain a mystery, leaving fans to wonder what she’s been up to since her days in front of the camera.