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Wong, B. D. (b. 1960)  
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The only actor to win the Tony Award, the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Clarence Derwent Award, and the Theater World Award for the same performance, Asian-American actor B. D. Wong came to prominence with his extraordinary performance in the title role of David Hwang's M. Butterfly (1988).

While few of his subsequent roles have been as challenging or as celebrated, Wong has since established himself as a talented character actor in film and television, as well as on stage, and as a champion of glbtq causes.

Born Bradley Darrell Wong on October 24, 1960 in San Francisco, Wong is a fourth-generation Chinese-American. He was raised in the San Francisco Bay area. Following high school graduation, he traveled to New York to pursue his dream of becoming an actor.

In New York, he studied acting, accepted dinner theater and summer stock opportunities, appeared in off-Broadway productions and in small television and film roles.

His career did not shift into high gear until he returned to the West Coast as a member of the cast of the Los Angeles production of the Jerry Herman-Harvey Fierstein musical La Cage aux Folles. His adeptness at playing a female impersonator prepared him for the lead in M. Butterfly.

Wong's performance as Song Liling in his Broadway debut was no less than mesmerizing. Playing a male Chinese spy who successfully poses as a woman in a twenty-five year relationship with a French male diplomat, Wong not only convincingly portrayed the fluidity of gender, but also brought to the role a rare humanity and complexity.

He conveyed the racialized stereotype of the Asian man as an emasculated sissy and the Asian woman as a submissive object of desire, while also turning the stereotypes on their heads. In his role as Song, Wong was at once a "Cio-Cio San," or abandoned and exploited lover, and a manipulative spy. He vividly brought to life the themes of sexual and political imperialism and gender fluidity at the heart of Hwang's play.

Wong also gave a highly acclaimed performance as Kico Govantes, the lover of activist Bill Kraus, played by Ian McKellen, in the HBO television production of And the Band Played On (1993), the adaptation of Randy Shilts' searing account of the first years of the AIDS epidemic.

He was also memorable in the New York Shakespeare Festival's production of gay Singapore playwright Chay Yew's A Language of Their Own (1995), a play that explores a gay interracial relationship.

Wong co-starred as Margaret Cho's brother in the short-lived ABC situation comedy, All American Girl (1994-1995), the first situation comedy on American network television to deal with the Asian-American experience.

From 1997 until 2002, Wong had a recurring role as a priest in the gritty Australian television series Oz, seen on HBO, which was set in a maximum security prison.

In 2002, Wong joined the cast of NBC's Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, playing Dr. George Huang, a forensic psychiatrist. He left the series in July 2011 to join the cast of the short-lived NBC series Awake, but returned as a guest star in a Law and Order: SVU episode in May 2012.

Wong is a notably versatile actor. Hence, despite the paucity of roles specifically written for Asian Americans, he has kept busy on both the large and small screens.

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B. D. Wong attending a party at the One Institute in Los Angeles in 2004. Photograph by Angela Brinskele.
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