|Born||Lotus Pearl Shibata
July 18, 1909
New Jersey, U.S.A.
|Died||September 14, 1990
Orange County, California
|Other names||Karen Sorrell|
|Occupation||Actor, Writer, Producer|
Lotus Long (July 18, 1909 - September 14, 1990) was an American actress. She was born Lotus Pearl Shibata in New Jersey, to a father of Japanese ancestry and a mother of Hawaiian ancestry. She came to Southern California during the 1920s to act in Hollywood films, and usually portrayed ethnic Asian female characters in supporting roles. She used the name "Lotus Long" for stage and film. Because of her adopted surname, people generally assumed that she was of Chinese ancestry – something she later relied on to avoid mass incarceration in American internment camps with other persons of Japanese ancestry, both legal permanent residents and American citizens, during World War II.
She appeared in the MGM docudrama Eskimo (1933) as wife of the main character. Under the stage name Lotus Long as Moonflower in the 1934 film The Mysterious Mr. Wong and as the murder victim, Princess Lin Hwa, in 1939's Mr. Wong in Chinatown. She also starred alongside Keye Luke in Phantom of Chinatown as Win Len, Dr. Benton's secretary, whereas Keye Luke played Mr. Wong, this time known as Detective James Lee Wong.
She was also credited under the name Karen Sorrell in the films Flight to Nowhere (1938) starring Jack Holt and Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938) starring Peter Lorre. She was uncredited as a "native girl" in the film The Real Glory (1939) starring Gary Cooper and David Niven.
In Timothy Tau's short film bio-pic on Keye Luke, Lotus Long is portrayed by Mei Melancon, who is also of mixed ancestry (Japanese, Chinese and French), and who was inspired by the real-life figure of Tokyo Rose (Iva Toguri) to get into acting. Coincidentally, Lotus Long was the first Actor to portray Tokyo Rose in Lew Lenders' 1946 film of the same name, Tokyo Rose (1946).
- Ed Moy, Writer's Journey: Q&A with Keye Luke Director Timothy Tau, http://edmoy.blogspot.com/2012/04/q-with-keye-luke-director-timothy-tau.html