June 18, 1904
January 12, 1991
Whittier, California, United States
Actor, Commercial artist, Poster designer
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Born in China but raised from childhood in Seattle, Luke entered the film industry as a billboard artist and caricaturist doing layout work for movie houses. He first acted when an MGM producer needed a Chinese actor with good English diction for a supporting role in the 1934 Greta Garbo film "The Painted Veil."A featured actor in between 100-150 films, Luke is best known as Lee Chan, the No. 1 Son in 13 Charlie Chan films beginning in the late 1930s and as Kato, the clever houseboy to the masked avenger in "The Green Hornet" serials. During Hollywood's "Yellow Peril" period, when Asian actors were often cast as villains, MGM signed Luke to play the eager young intern in the "Dr. Gillespie" film series with Lionel Barrymore. He was subsequently cast as "good guys"--ambitious young lawyers or detectives. Working consistently for over 60 years, Luke also made guest appearances on numerous TV shows and played Thomas Wong on "Kentucky Jones" (1964-65), Kralahome on the series "Anna and the King" (1972), the blind monk Master Po on "Kung Fu" (1972-75) and Dr. Fong on "Harry-O" (1976). After being identified as Charlie Chan's son for so many years, Luke supplied the voice of Charlie Chan himself on the Saturday morning cartoon "Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan" (1972-74). Luke costarred on Broadway as the patriarch of a Chinese-American family in the 1958 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Flower Drum Song" for three years. More recently, he appeared as the Chinese merchant in both "Gremlin" films and made his final screen appearance as the Chinese herbalist, Dr. Yang, whose blend of Eastern herbs and Western psychiatry liberates Mia Farrow in the Woody Allen film "Alice" (1990).