Bee Vang

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Bee Vang
Born (1991-11-04) November 4, 1991 (age 26)
Fresno, California, United States
Occupation Actor, activist, student
Years active 2008—

Bee Vang (born November 4, 1991) is an American actor. He is the co-star of Clint Eastwood's 2008 film Gran Torino, playing the character 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 attends 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 is 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 Assocation". 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]