Beulah Quo and agent Bessie Loo.
April 17, 1923
Stockton, California, U.S.
La Mesa, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Edwin Kwoh (?-2002) (her death) (2 children)|
Mary Ellen Shu 
Beulah Quo (April 17, 1923 – October 23, 2002) was a Chinese-American actress and activist born in Stockton, California. The spelling of her last name changed from Kwoh to Quo because she was constantly asked if KWOH was a radio station. She starred in many films and television series beginning in the mid-1950s, and was best known for her appearances in General Hospital (1963), Chinatown (1974), and Brokedown Palace (1999). She was also an advocate of more and better screen roles for Asian actors, and founded several organizations in pursuit of that goal.
Quo received a bachelor's degree in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley and a master's degree from the University of Chicago. In the 1940s, while she was working in China as a teacher, Quo escaped Communism on a U.S. destroyer along with her husband, Edwin Kwoh, and infant son. After resettling, she also worked at the Chinese YWCA building, which is now the Chinese American National Museum and Learning Center.
Television and film career
While teaching sociology at a community college in Los Angeles, California, director Henry King was looking for an Asian dialect coach and instead hired Quo to play a small role in Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (1953). She played over 100 roles in television movies and series, as well as film. One of her notable television roles was in General Hospital, where she stayed for six years and played a housekeeper and confidante named Olin starting in 1963. Uncredited appearances that she made throughout her career in her earlier work included her first film, Love is a Many-Splendored Thing, Two Weeks In Another Town (1962), and Gypsy (1962). Her final featured film role was in Forbidden City in 2001 as Mrs. Lee; her last television appearance was in a 2002 episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent.
Quo co-starred in a made-for-television drama, An Apple, An Orange a story of two immigrants and their differences in cultural, sociological and philosophical viewpoints while in midlife. The program, produced by Maryland Public TV in association with Baltimore's Center Stage was telecast nationally in prime time on PBS. It aired on Oregon Public Broadcasting. The author and dramatist, Diane Johnson, won an O. Henry Award for the story on which it was based.
In 1965, The East West Players, the first Asian-American repertory theater in the U.S., was co-founded by Quo and eight other actors, including James Hong. The East West Players continues to advocate for diverse representation and elimination of stereotypes of Asian-Americans in Hollywood and across mass media.
Quo was heavily involved in the high-profile and racially driven Vincent Chin case, producing a play to honor him entitled Carry The Tiger To The Mountain in July 1998. It was based on a true story of a Chinese-American man who was beaten to death in Detroit, Michigan, in 1982 by two white men who had mistaken him for a Japanese man. It premiered in West Virginia; Quo played Chin's mother, Lily Chin. The play was later performed in Los Angeles by the East West Players.
In 1997, Quo commissioned a musical project called "Heading East: California Asian Pacific American Experience" to promote and commemorate the history of Asian-Pacific Americans in California for the past 150 years.
Quo continued to dismiss any statements that Asians in leading roles are not "bankable", pointing out that Haing S. Ngor, cast in The Killing Fields (1984), won the Oscar for best supporting actor, while Pat Morita was nominated for the same award for his role in The Karate Kid (1984).
Awards, nominations and honors
1990: "The Jimmie" Lifetime Achievement Award by the Asian Pacific American Artists, for her outstanding work on The Sand Pebbles (1966), MacArthur (1977), and Chinatown (1974). She also won a local Emmy award for her achievements on "James Wong Howe – The Man and His Movies", a documentary on the award-winning cinematographer James Wong Howe.
On October 23, 2002, Beulah Quo died of heart failure during emergency cardiac surgery in La Mesa, California at the age of 79. She was survived by her husband, Edwin; her daughter, Mary Ellen Shu; her son, Stewart Kwoh; and five grandchildren.
Films and television appearances are from IMDb.
|1955||Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing||Third Aunt||Film, Uncredited|
|1961||Ada||Wife of Chinese Restaurant Proprietor||Film, Uncredited|
|1961||Flower Drum Song||Woman||Film, Uncredited|
|1962||Two Weeks in Another Town||Chinese Woman||Film, Uncredited|
|1963||Girls! Girls! Girls!||Madam Yung||Film|
|1964||The 7th Dawn||Ah Ming||Film|
|1966||The Sand Pebbles||Mama Chunk||Film|
|1970–1971||The Bill Cosby Show||Second Teacher / Mrs. Rogers||TV Series|
|1971||The Rome with Love||Mrs. Okada||TV Series|
|1971||If Tomorrow Comes||Midori||TV movie|
|1972||The Smith Family||Anna||TV Series|
|1973||Voyage of the Yes||Native Nurse||TV movie|
|1973||Hawaii Five-O||Madame Souvang||TV Series|
|1973||Genesis II||Primus Lu-Chan||TV movie|
|1974||Love, American Style||Lu See||TV Series|
|1973–1974||Adam-12||Mrs. Tohito / Mrs. Hong Toy||TV Series|
|1975||Police Story||The Supervisor||TV Series|
|1975||The Last Survivors||Mrs. Peters||TV movie|
|1973–1975||Kung Fu||Madam Chun / Mai Chi / Soong's Wife||TV Series|
|1976||S.W.A.T.||Madame Yang||TV Series|
|1976||City of Angels||unknown||TV Series|
|1977||Starsky and Hutch||Dr. Quo||TV Series|
|1977||Baretta||Mrs. Chu||TV Series|
|1977||Black Market Baby||Mrs. Yamato||TV movie|
|1978||Meeting of Minds||Tz'u-Hsi / Empress Tz'u-Hsi||TV Series|
|1978||The Immigrants||So-Toy||TV movie|
|1979||How the West Was Won||Ah Kam||TV Series|
|1979||Samurai||Hana Mitsubishi Cantrell||TV movie|
|1980||The Children of An Lac||Madame Ngai||TV movie|
|1981||The Incredible Hulk||Huyn||TV Series|
|1982||The Letter||Ong's Mother||TV movie|
|1982||Yes, Giorgio||Mei Ling||Film|
|1982||Quincy M.E.||Mrs. Inoko||TV Series|
|1982||Magnum, P.I.||Mrs. Iko Tamura||TV Series|
|1982-1983||Marco Polo||Empress Chabi||TV Mini-Series|
|1985||Airwolf||Mae's Mother||TV Series|
|1985||Street Hawk||Auntie Pearl||TV Series|
|1985||Into the Night||Mrs. Yakamura||Film|
|1985||The Lady from Yesterday||Mai Ling Luong||TV movie|
|1986||MacGyver||Mrs. Chung||TV Series|
|1986||Scarecrow and Mrs. King||unknown||TV Series|
|1986||Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Herbalist||TV Series|
|1986||Beverly Hills Madam||Lil's maid||TV movie|
|1986||American Geisha||Kangoro's Mother||TV movie|
|1987||Daniel and the Towers||Lynn Chow||TV movie|
|1987||Le palanquin des larmes||Mime Chen||Film|
|1988||Hunter||Mrs. Chin||TV Series|
|1990||Forbidden Nights||Vice Dean Yin||TV movie|
|1994||Bad Girls||Chinese Herbalist||Film|
|1995||Bless This House||Old Woman||TV Series|
|1996||Suddenly Susan||Dr. Ni||TV Series|
|1999||ER||Grandma Fong||TV Series|
|1999||Brokedown Palace||Guard Velie||Film|
|2000||Chicago Hope||Grandmother Wang||TV Series|
|2000||The Michael Richards Show||Mai||TV Series|
|2001||Forbidden City||Mrs. Lee||Short|
|2002||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Cecilia Wang||TV Series, (final appearance)|
- McLellan, Dennis (25 October 2002). "Beulah Quo, 79; Actress Started East West Players". Retrieved 20 November 2017 – via LA Times.
- "Beulah Quo, 79; Actress Started East West Players". Los Angeles Times.
- "Beulah Quo Biography - Fandango". Fandango.
- Wong, Gerrye (November 6, 2002). "Community Mourns Sudden Death of APA Actress: Beulah Quo; April 17, 1923 – Oct 23, 2002". Asian Week.
- "Beulah Quo". IMDb.
- "Eugene Register-Guard - Google News Archive Search". google.com.
- "The O. Henry Prize Stories". www.randomhouse.com. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
- "About". East West Players.
- Horwitz, Jane, Washington Post "Taming the 'Tiger,' In Shepherdstown, WVA, Beulah Quo Sinks Her Teeth Into a Fiercely Demanding Role", 7/21/1998
- http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/jaas/summary/v003/3.1liu.html Liu, Judith, "Heading East: California's Asian Pacific Experience," Journal of Asian American Studies. Vol 3, No.1, Pages 122-123 (2000)
- "Meeting of Minds: Volume 7 by Steve Allen on Audio Download". learnoutloud.com.
- "Beulah Quo". Television Academy.
- "Articles about James Wong Howe - Los Angeles Times". latimes.com.
- "Beulah Kwoh ( - 2000) - Find A Grave Memorial". findagrave.com.
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