John Lone

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John Lone
Chinese name 尊龍 (traditional)
Chinese name 尊龙 (simplified)
Birth name Ng Kwok-leung (吳國良)
Born (1952-10-13) October 13, 1952 (age 62)
Hong Kong
Occupation Actor
Years active 1976–present
Spouse(s) Nina Savino (1972-1979)

John Lone (Chinese: 尊龍; pinyin: Zūn Lóng; born October 13, 1952, as 吳國良) is a Hong Kong-born American actor. Lone has played roles as diverse as a caveman in Iceman (1984), the last Emperor of China in The Last Emperor (1987), and an apparently female opera performer in M. Butterfly (1993).

Personal life[edit]

Lone was born as Ng Kwok-leung in Hong Kong, of Chinese descent. He was raised in a Hong Kong orphanage and later adopted by a Shanghainese woman. He began training at Hong Kong's Chiu Chiu Academy and at the Peking Opera. It was here, at the age of ten he was given the name Johnny. He later chose the name Lone to reflect the fact that he was an orphan and for its similarity to Leung, his Chinese name.

Sponsored by an American family, he left the Peking Opera troupe and emigrated to Los Angeles, California. In the United States he married fellow Santa Ana Community College student Nina Savino in 1972, gaining U.S. citizenship. (The couple finally divorced in 1979.) John also continued his performing arts studies at American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena, California. Eventually, he would move to New York City, in order to pursue a career on stage.


Lone struggled for a time until the actor Mako recognized his talent and suggested him for a role in David Henry Hwang's first play F.O.B. From his performance in this play, Lone received an Obie Award. While in New York City he was discovered by the talent agent Jadin Wong, who helped him to launch his career. Wong subsequently discovered Joan Chen, Bai Ling, Lucy Liu, and Ken Leung.

His first major role in films was as the title character in Iceman. He is probably best known for his portrayal of the Emperor Puyi in The Last Emperor and crime boss Joey Tai in Year of the Dragon in the late 1980s,[1] as well as an opera performer playing female roles in M. Butterfly (with Jeremy Irons). Further international film appearances included the role of corrupt Hong Kong cop Ricky Tan in Rush Hour 2. In the 1995 movie The Hunted he played dangerous assassin Kinjo alongside Christopher Lambert.

Despite his Hollywood fame, he chose to further his career in the Asian market. He played Emperor Qianlong, another Manchu emperor, in a 30 episode TV drama series Qianlong Yu Xiangfei (乾隆與香妃) in 2004.


Title Year Role Notes
Iceman 1984 Charlie, the Iceman
Year of the Dragon 1985 Joey Tai
The Last Emperor 1987 Emperor Puyi
The Moderns 1988 Bertram Stone
Echoes of Paradise 1989 Raka
Shadow of China 1990 Henry Wong
Shanghai 1920 1991 Billy Fong
M. Butterfly 1993 Song Liling
The Shadow 1994 Shiwan Khan
The Hunted 1995 Kinjo
Rush Hour 2 2001 Ricky Tan
Qianlongyuxiangfei 2004 Emperor Qianlong
War 2007 Li Chang

Award nominations[edit]


  1. ^ Tracey Wong Briggs (Jan 7, 1988). "John Lone, earnest `Emperor'". USA Today. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 

External links[edit]