Richard Loo (October 1, 1903 – November 20, 1983) was a third generation Chinese-American film actor who was one of the most familiar Asian character actors in American films of the 1930s and 1940s. A prolific actor, he appeared in over 120 films between 1931 and 1982.
Early life and career
Chinese by ancestry and Hawaiian by birth, Loo spent his youth in Hawaii, then moved to California as a teenager. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and began a career in business. However, the stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent economic depression forced him to start over. He became involved with amateur, then professional, theater companies and in 1931 made his first film. Like most Asian actors in non-Asian countries, he played primarily small, stereotypical roles, though he rose quickly to familiarity, if not fame, in a number of films.
His stern features led him to be a favorite movie villain, and the outbreak of World War II gave him greater prominence in roles as vicious Japanese soldiers in such successful pictures as The Purple Heart (1944) and God Is My Co-Pilot (1945). Loo was most often typecast as the Japanese enemy pilot, spy or interrogator during the Second World War. According to his daughter, Beverly Jane Loo, he didn't mind being typecast as a villain in these movies as he felt very patriotic about playing those parts.
In 1944 he appeared as a Chinese army lieutenant opposite Gregory Peck in The Keys of the Kingdom. He had a rare heroic role as a war-weary Japanese-American soldier in Samuel Fuller's Korean War classic The Steel Helmet (1951), but he spent much of the latter part of his career performing stock roles in films and minor television roles.
Loo was also a teacher of Shaolin monks in three episodes of the 1972–1975 hit TV series Kung Fu and made a further three appearances as a different character. His last acting appearance was in The Incredible Hulk TV series in 1981, but he continued to act in Toyota commercials into 1982. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage on November 20, 1983.
Loo's first wife, Bessie Sue, was a well-known Hollywood agent. They had twin daughters: Angela Marie Loo and Beverly Jane Loo(born June 28, 1931, Los Angeles County, California). Beverly Loo was prominent in publishing while Angela Loo Levy was a Hollywood agent and accomplished ski patroller.
Richard Loo remained with his second wife, Hope, until his death in 1983 at the age of 80. He had a step-daughter, Christel Hope Mintz.
- Summer Theater 1 episode (Foo Young) (1953)
- Fireside Theater 2 episodes (I Cover Korea) (1953) (Major Chang in The Traitor) (1953)
- December Bride 1 episode (The Chinese Dinner) (1954) as Client
- My Little Margie 1 episode (San Francisco Story) (1954) as Mr. Tang
- Cavalcade of America 2 episodes (Ordeal in Burma) (1954) (Ho Chung in Diplomatic Outpost) (1956)
- TV Reader's Digest 2 episodes (Officer in The Brainwashing of John Hayes) (1955) (Lew Gar Mun in The Smuggler) (1956)
- Navy Log 1 episode (Dr. Van) (1956) as General Hashimoto
- Crossroads 1 episode (Calvary in China) (1956) as Colonel
- The Man Called X 1 episode (Assassination) (1956)
- Four Star Playhouse 1 episode (Wall of Bamboo) (1956) as Jo-Kai
- Tombstone Territory 1 episode (Tong War) (1958) as Quong Key
- Hong Kong 2 episodes (Low in The Jade Empress) (1960) (Thug in Suitable for Framing) (1961)
- Maverick 1 episode (The Golden Fleecing) (1961) as Lee Hong Chang
- Follow the Sun 1 episode (The Woman Who Never Was) (1961) as District Attorney
- Bonanza 1 episode (Day of the Dragon) (1961) as General Mu Tsung
- The Beachcomber 1 episode (Charlie Six Kids) (1962) as Ah Wei
- Hawaiian Eye 1 episode (Two Too Many) (1963) as C.K. Yang
- The Dakotas 1 episode (The Chooser of the Slain) (1963) as George Yang
- The Outer Limits 1 episode (The Hundred Days of the Dragon) (1963) as Li-Chin Sung
- Wagon Train 1 episode (The Widow O'Rourke Story) (1963) as Liu Yang
- Perry Mason 1 episode (The Case of the Floating Stones) (1963) as Mr. Eng
- I Spy 1 episode (So Long, Patrick Henry) (1965) as Mr. Tsung
- Honey West 1 episode (The Owl and the Eye) (1965) as Tog-Chinese fine arts thief
- Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea 1 episode (Timebomb) (1965) as Li Tung
- Burke's Law 1 episode (Deadlier Than the Male) (1965) as Grass Slipper
- The Wackiest Ship in the Army 2 episodes (Admiral Osuma in The Lamb Who Hunted Wolves: Parts I & II) (1966)
- The Wild Wild West 1 episode (The Night the Dragon Screamed) (1966) as Wang Chung
- I Dream of Jeannie 1 episode (Jeannie and the Kidnap Caper) (1966) as Wong
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E. 1 episode (The Indian Affairs Affair) (1966) as Dr. Yahama
- Family Affair 1 episode (The Mother Tongue) (1967) as Mr. Chen
- My Three Sons 1 episode (Weekend in Paradise) (1967) as Mr. Chang
- Hawaii Five-O 1 episode (Twenty-Four Karat Kill) (1968) as Wong Tou
- It Takes a Thief 3 episodes (Clown in A Case of Red Turnips) (1968) (Dr. Langpoor in Payoff in the Piazza) (1969) (Wong in Project X) (1970)
- Marcus Welby, M.D. 1 episode (A Matter of Humanities) (1969) as Kenji Yamashita
- Here Comes the Brides 1 episode (Marriage, Chinese Style) (1969) as Chi Pei
- Bewitched 1 episode (Samantha's Better Halves) (1970) as Mr. Tanaka
- The Sixth Sense 1 episode (With This Ring, I Thee Kill) (1972) as Matsuo
- The Delphi Bureau 1 episode (The Deadly Little Errand) (1972) as Shen Si
- Kung Fu 6 episodes (Master Sun in Pilot (1972) Blood Brother (1973) Besieged: Cannon at the Gates (1974)) (Chen in The Tong) (1973) (Wu Chang in Arrogant Dragon) (1974) (Ho Fai, the weapons master in The Devil's Champion) (1974)
- Ironside 1 episode (In the Forests of the Night) (1973) as Lin Chu Tai
- McCloud 1 episode (The Solid Gold Swingers) (1973) as Y.S. Chen (uncredited)
- Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law 1 episode (The Attacker) (1974) as Tanaka
- Collision Course: Truman vs. MacArthur TV movie (1976) as Chiang-Kai-Shek
- The Quest 1 episode (Welcome to America, Jade Snow) (1976) as Dr. Li Po
- Police Story 1 episode (The Blue Fog) (1977) as Eddie Lee
- The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries 1 episode (The Secret of the Jade Kwan Yin) (1977) as Chen Lee
- The Incredible Hulk 1 episode (East Winds) (1981) as Kam Chong (final appearance)