Dennis Gong Dun was born in Stockton, California, on April 19th, 1952. This Chinese-American actor is best known for his stage performances and for appearing in several cult classic films, most notably Big Trouble In Little China.
He currently resides in Los Angeles, California, but has spent a significant portion of his career in the San Fransisco area.
Dennis Dun began acting at the Asian American Theater Company in San Francisco, California. This period would start a long career of stage performances for the 5’ 5” (1.65 m) actor. He has appeared onstage at East West Players, The Berkley Repertory Theater, and the Lodestone Theater Ensemble.
He has also won awards for his stage performances, such as his performance in Chay Yew’s A Language of Their Own at the Celebration Theater. He has even written his one-person show titled Giant Oranges.
His first two on-screen roles were in film and television. He appeared in an episode of the 1984 crime drama Partners in Crime (1984). Following that, he appeared in the film Year of the Dragon in 1985. Dennis Dun played the character of Herbert Kwong in this crime drama, who was an up-and-coming rookie cop.
Big Trouble in Little China
Dennis Dun’s most significant and influential role was as Wang Chi in the cult-classic martial arts fantasy adventure Big Trouble in Little China. This 1986 film was directed by John Carpenter and starred Kurt Russel, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, and James Hong.
Dun played Wang Chi, a restaurant owner who was actually the story’s hero as Kurt Russell’s Jack Burton’s bravado and clumsiness often got him into trouble. The story follows Chi and Burton as they seek to rescue Chi’s fiancée from an evil wizard named Lo Pan, played by James Hong.
The film has gone on to become a cult-classic and beloved by many 1980s film fans, despite initially disappointing box office results and critical appraisal.
Dennis mentions on a podcast that he was cast for the role after John Carpenter noticed Dennis from the movie ‘Year of the Dragon‘
I met him. Didn’t have to read or anything. That’s how he cast. He kind of knows he has a vision in his head, and I think I fit in his vision.
Dennis also mentions that while filming Big Trouble in Little China, John Carpenter told him that he was the hero of the movie.
John Carpenter always said that to me when I worked. You are the hero of the film. You are the hero of the film. He always kept telling me that. But he just wanted me to feel that confidence, and that’s how he saw it.
In fact, Kurt would find new ways to be more bumbling. He was very open. We got along very well. So it was kind of a phenomenal once in a lifetime experience. So long ago but yeah, that will always be close to my heart during the film.
And Carpenter was respectful of all of us, and it employed so many Asian American actors.
What did Dennis Dun do after Big Trouble in Little China?
The Last Emperor
Dennis Dun would team up with John Carpenter again following Big Trouble In Little China with the 1987 horror film Prince of Darkness. That year he would also appear in The Last Emperor as Big Li.
Dun would continue to appear in film and television over the years, with his most significant role in 1998 when he was cast as Billy Po in the NBC drama Midnight Caller. He would play Billy Po across 61 episodes from 1998 to 1991. He was top-billed along with star Gary Cole.
What is he doing now?
Dennis Dun is still acting these days, and while he does not appear as much in film and television, he does a lot of theater working in the Los Angeles area, seemingly content to perform live.
His last film appears to have been 2018’s Something Horrible, which is a loose adaptation of the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, where he played the character of Randolph Carter. His last television appearance was in the short-lived horse racing and crime drama Luck, which aired on HBO in 2012. He played an antagonistic gambler named Leo Chan on the critically praised show before its cancellation following the accidental deaths of several horses.
His most recent role is in the fantasy comedy King of the Yees, currently running at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, in Sierra Madre, CA. The play, written by Lauren Yee, explores a generational divide in San Fransisco’s Chinatown community. Dennis Dun plays the character of Larry Yee, one of several versions of the father in the story.
Is he married?
Dennis Dun’s relationship history is not readily known, however he does mention that he has a wife and his wife was an actress.
Does he have kids?
There is not much information on Dennis Dun’s personal life, so it is unclear if he has children. There have been no articles or reports of the actor having had kids to date. As it stands, we can report that Dennis Dun does not seem to have children.
Is Dennis Dun on social media?
Dennis Dun does not seem to have a social media profile. He seems content to maintain his privacy, which is a respectable position.