A Year: Day to Day Men: 10th of October


October 10, 1916 is the birthdate of American character actor Benson Fong.

Born in Sacramento, California, Benson Fong’s acting career resulted from a chance meeting with a Paramount Pictures talent scout. He was approached and asked if he would like to be in a movie. Fong was given an uncredited role as a guerrilla soldier in the 1943 film “China”, a story occurring during the Japanese occupation of China. He was offered a ten-week contract at $250 a week.

First appearing onscreen in “Charlie Chan at the Opera” as an extra, Benson Fong returned to the series and is best remembered playing Number Three Son “Tommy Chan” opposite Sidney Toler in six “Charlie Chan” movies between 1944 and 1946. Othe films in which he appeared included “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo”; “The Keys of the Kingdom” as Joseph; “His Majesty O’Keefe”; “Flower Drum Song” as Wang Chi-Yang: and “Our Man Flint” in the role of Doctor Schneider. a mad scientist threatening the world.

Benson Fong’s career as an actor included appearances in several television series. He made four guest appearances on “Perry Mason”, seven appearances on “My Three Sons” as Ray Wong, and four on the “Kung Fu” television series. He also appeared in Walt Disney’s “The Love Bug” starring Dean Jones and Michele Lee.

While appearing in “Keys of the Kingdom” with Gregory Peck, a casual remark by Peck inspired Benson Fong to start a chain of restaurants. After two years of saving his own capital, Fong opened in 1946 his first Ah Fong’s restaurant on Vine Street in Hollywood. After the Vine Street restaurant’s success, Fong opened four more restaurants . He retired from the restaurant business in 1985..

Benson Fong died, at the age of seventy, of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California, in 1987.