Bee Vang

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Bee Vang
Born (1991-11-04) November 4, 1991 (age 27)
Fresno, California, United States
OccupationActor, activist, student
Years active2008—

Bee Vang (born November 4, 1991) is an American actor. He is best known for starring in Clint Eastwood's 2008 film Gran Torino as Thao Vang Lor. Before this role, he did not have any known acting experience.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Vang was born in Fresno, California, four years after his Hmong parents emigrated from Thailand.[1] He had five brothers and one sister.[2]

He resided in the Twin Cities area. He grew up in a neighborhood in Minneapolis that he described as "poor."[3] He later lived in Robbinsdale, Minnesota.[4] For his freshman year he attended Patrick Henry High School, and he was in the University of Minnesota's advanced program.[5] He also attended Robbinsdale Armstrong High School in Plymouth, Minnesota.[6] Vang, before being cast in Gran Torino, had planned to go into a premed program.[7] Due to his role in Gran Torino, Vang considered getting into filmmaking.[8]

He attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.[3] At Brown, Vang planned to pursue an acting career and study filmmaking and the Chinese language.[9] He was also part of the Asian American Students Association at Brown.[10]

As a youth he mainly watched Asian films. In an interview, Vang said that from his early teenage years he had watched various Western films, A Clockwork Orange, Heaven & Earth, Heavenly Creatures, Rambo, and other war movies.[11] He also watched Clint Eastwood westerns,[12] and had been a fan of Eastwood for a long period of time. Vang owned copies of several films starring Eastwood, such as Dirty Harry, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and Letters from Iwo Jima.[7] Vang said that he had a preference for Asian films, and specifically the original language versions with English subtitles. In an interview he criticized the film Heaven & Earth.[11]

By 2010,[13] Vang became an activist.[14] Vang collaborates on social justice film, internet, and print products with Louisa Schein, a Hmong media expert, Va-Megn Thoj, a Hmong filmmaker, and Ly Chong Thong Jalao, a University of California Santa Barbara Ph.D. student. Vang travels around the United States doing public speaking regarding Gran Torino and post-Gran Torino issues related to the Hmong community.[13] In 2011, Vang wrote an editorial criticizing a KDWB radio comedy segment, saying that it offensively portrayed Hmong people.[3]

Filmography and television[edit]

Year Film Role
2008 Gran Torino Thao Vang Lor
2011 Modern Family Himself

Since Gran Torino Vang acted in independent films and stage performances.[13] Vang acted in a YouTube parody of one scene in Gran Torino, titled "Thao Does Walt: Lost Scenes from Gran Torino."[15] In addition, he acted in "Anatomically Incorrect," "Fallen City," and "Sunset on Dawn."[13]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Baenen, Jeff (16 January 2009). "Clint Eastwood makes novice teen actor's day". Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-05-18.
  2. ^ "Gran Torino's Hmong Lead Bee Vang on Film, Race and Masculinity Conversations with Louisa Schein, Spring, 2010." p. 7.
  3. ^ a b c Vang, Bee (7 April 2011). "Opinion: Why I can't shrug off KDWB's hateful slur against Hmong community". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
  4. ^ Xamoua. ""Gran Torino" interview with Bee Vang." Hmong Today at Twin Cities Daily Planet. January 27, 2009. Retrieved on March 14, 2012.
  5. ^ C. J. "A big, new Hollywood star? Why, he says: 'No, I'm Bee Vang'." Minneapolis Star Tribune. February 9, 2009. Retrieved on March 15, 2012.
  6. ^ Hewitt, Chris (9 January 2009). "He auditioned on a lark. Now, he's Eastwood's co-star". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Archived from the original on 22 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
  7. ^ a b Schein, Louisa. "Hmong Actors Making History Part 2: Meet the Gran Torino Family Archived 2011-06-17 at the Wayback Machine.." Hmong Today at New America Media. October 4, 2008. Retrieved on March 17, 2012.
  8. ^ Baenen, Jeff (January 20, 2009). "Teen makes acting debut after auditioning 'on a lark'". The Post and Courier. Associated Press. p. 2A. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
  9. ^ "Gran Torino's Hmong Lead Bee Vang on Film, Race and Masculinity Conversations with Louisa Schein, Spring, 2010." p. 8.
  10. ^ "About Asian American Students Association". Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Gran Torino's Hmong Lead Bee Vang on Film, Race and Masculinity Conversations with Louisa Schein, Spring, 2010." p. 2.
  12. ^ "Bee Vang feels lucky: Actor debuts opposite Eastwood in 'Gran Torino'." Salisbury Post. Tuesday January 27, 2009. Retrieved on March 15, 2012.
  13. ^ a b c d "After Gran Torino: Forum on Race, Violence, Sexuality, and Asian American Masculinities." (Archive) University of California Berkeley.
  14. ^ "Beyond Gran Torino: Hmong Persepctives and Media Futures (Lecture)." (Archive) Asian Studies Center, Michigan State University. Retrieved on March 18, 2012.
  15. ^ "Gran Torino's Hmong Lead Bee Vang on Film, Race and Masculinity Conversations with Louisa Schein, Spring, 2010." p. 1.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]