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Anna May Wong

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The Anna May Wong Quarter is the fifth coin in the American Women Quarters™ Program. Anna May Wong was the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood. Wong was born January 3, 1905, in Los Angeles. Her birth name was Wong Liu Tsong, and her family gave her the English name Anna May. She was cast in her first role as an extra in the film “The Red Lantern” (1919) at 14 and continued to land small roles as extras until her first leading role in “The Toll of the Sea” (1922).

Her career spanned motion pictures, television, and theater. She appeared in more than 60 movies, including silent films and one of the first movies made in Technicolor. Wong also became the first Asian American lead actor in a U.S. television show for her role in “The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong” (1951).

After facing constant discrimination in Hollywood, Wong traveled to Europe and worked in English, German, and French films. She also appeared in productions on the London and New York stages.

Wong was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. She died on February 3, 1961. She is remembered as an international film star, fashion icon, television trailblazer, and a champion for greater representation of Asian Americans in film. She continues to inspire actors and filmmakers today.

The obverse (heads) depicts a portrait of George Washington, originally composed and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser to mark George Washington’s 200th birthday. A recommended design for the 1932 quarter, then-Treasury Secretary Mellon ultimately selected the familiar John Flanagan design.

The reverse (tails) features a close-up image of Anna May Wong with her head resting on her hand, surrounded by the bright lights of a marquee sign.

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