Cho promoting Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay in 2008
June 16, 1972
Seoul, South Korea
|Alma mater||University of California, Berkeley|
|Spouse(s)||Kerri Higuchi (m. 2006)|
|Revised Romanization||Jo Yohan|
John Cho (born Cho Yo-han; June 16, 1972) is an American film and television actor and musician. Of Korean background, he is best known as Harold Lee in the Harold & Kumar films; as the character John, MILF Guy No. 2, who popularized the term "MILF" in the American Pie films; and as the character Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek reboot film series. Early in his career he also starred in the Asian-American films Better Luck Tomorrow, Shopping for Fangs, and Yellow.
On television, he played FBI agent Demetri Noh in the science fiction television drama FlashForward; as Chau Presley on the sitcom Off Centre; and, in a recurring role, Andy Brooks in the horror drama Sleepy Hollow. His role as Henry Higgs in the 2014 sitcom Selfie, co-starring Karen Gillan, made him the first Asian-American romantic male lead on American television.
Cho was born in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to the United States in 1978. He was raised in Los Angeles, where his family settled after living in Houston, Seattle, Daly City, California, and Monterey Park, California. His father was a minister in the Church of Christ, and was originally from North Korea. Cho graduated from Herbert Hoover High School, in Glendale, California, in 1990. He then attended the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1996 with a BA degree in English, and taught English at Pacific Hills School in West Hollywood, California while working at East West Players's theater in downtown Los Angeles.
Cho began his career after graduating from Berkeley, when he moved to Los Angeles and worked with the Asian American theatre company East West Players. There, he appeared in Edward Sakamoto's The Taste of Kona Coffee in 1996, and in Euijoon Kim's movie My Tired Broke Ass Pontificating Slapstick Funk in 2000. He gained attention with a small role as "MILF Guy #2" in the 1999 comedy American Pie, in which he popularized the slang term "MILF". Cho reprised the role in three sequels: American Pie 2, American Wedding, and in the latest installment American Reunion in which he has a much larger role. The character initially had no name but he was given the name "John" in the third film, named after Cho himself.
He had a successful starring role as Harold Lee in 2004's Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and reprised the role in 2008's Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, which raked in $38 million at the theaters, and again in 2011's A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas which made $35 million. Cho's role in the popular franchise was written specifically for him by Hayden Schlossberg, and Cho has recounted that when Schlossberg first approached him with the role, he was initially suspicious.
Cho guest-starred on Charmed as a ghost in 1998 and was one of the stars of the short-lived situation comedy Off Centre in 2001–2002. He was a costar of the now-defunct Fox sitcom Kitchen Confidential based on Anthony Bourdain's best-selling book. He had supporting roles in Evolution, a sci-fi comedy directed by Ivan Reitman, Down to Earth, starring Chris Rock, and Bowfinger, with Steve Martin.
In 2002, he had a starring role in the ensemble cast of Justin Lin's Better Luck Tomorrow, a drama focusing on the travails of a group of Asian Americans living in Southern California who are academically successful but socially discontented, and as a result engage in wantonly violent, criminal behavior. It was well received by critics, with the New York Times's Elvis Mitchell describing Cho's character's "lazy magnetism of which he is charmingly aware." Later that year, the movie Big Fat Liar was released, in which Cho played a Hong Kong-based movie director. He refused to do the accent scripted for his character. The director worked with him to re-develop the role.
Cho appeared on July 2004 issue of KoreAm Journal and in September 2006 was cast in NBC's new comedy The Singles Table, but the series never aired due to changes in scheduling and production. In 2006 and again in 2009, Cho was selected as one of the sexiest men alive in People Magazine.
In 2007, Cho was added to the cast of Ugly Betty as a recurring character. Cho plays Kenny, a best friend of accountant Henry Grubstick (played by Christopher Gorham). Cho played helmsman Hikaru Sulu in J. J. Abrams's feature film Star Trek. Manohla Dargis of The New York Times praised him, along with Anton Yelchin, Chris Pine, and Zachary Quinto, for making their roles "ultimately and rather wonderfully their own".
Cho appeared in Nas' "Be a Nigger Too" music video along with various celebrities, and had a guest appearance on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, in the episode "I'm Not That Guy" where he played a partner in an evil law firm. Of the latter, Staci Krause of IGN, wrote that Cho was "the scene stealer in this episode" and that she would "definitely like to see more of him" in the series.
From 2009 to 2010, Cho starred in the television series FlashForward as FBI Special Agent Demetri Noh. His character was originally slated to be killed off during what turned out to be the show's only season, but after his turn as Sulu in Star Trek boosted his popularity, the producers revised the show's storyline so that he survived, in an attempt to boost declining ratings.
He starred as Henry Higgs in the short-lived sitcom Selfie, a re-tooling of the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. In the role, he became the first Asian American romantic male lead on American television.
He is the lead singer for Viva La Union (formerly known as Left of Zed), a Los Angeles garage rock band composed of former Berkeley and USC students. They have one album, self-titled, while their song "Chinese Baby" is featured on the Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay soundtrack.
Cho married actress Kerri Higuchi in 2006 and has a son, born in 2008, and a daughter, born in 2013. They currently reside in Los Angeles, California. He supported the 2012 re-election campaign of Democratic U.S President Barack Obama. Though his character in Harold & Kumar smokes marijuana, he has indicated that he does not partake in the use of the drug through a Larry King interview. He is very close to his father, a former preacher, and would like to play a role in the story of his father's generation in North Korea when growing up through the Korean War in times of hardships. In a tweet he said, "Dear Dad: sometimes I need advice, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I am just telling you stuff. Thanks. Love you." He is acquainted with other fellow Korean actors, such as Daniel Dae Kim, Sandra Oh, and his "hero" Margaret Cho.
Being an Asian American in Hollywood
In another interview with Larry King, Cho indicates that he has found freedom in being Harold in the film because the character is against the grain of an Asian American in that of being an Asian American stoner. According to the Washington Post, Cho states that he has experienced racism throughout his career in Hollywood and that he tries to take roles that don't fall in the views of Asian stereotypes. Through an interview with Glamour, he has responded that Hollywood seeks to follow trends and acts like followers of culture rather than starting and leading social trends or artistic movements, which is one of his biggest frustrations with Hollywood. In another interview, he exclaims that he is "attracted to things that Asian Americans haven't done in film."  He acknowledges that he still faces challenges in the movie industry from being a statistical minority because of the different genres he's excluded from, such as American history movies.
When asked to do an Asian accent for Big Fat Liar, Cho refused. “I don’t want to do this role in a kid’s comedy, with an accent, because I don’t want young people laughing at an accent inadvertently”, he wrote. In a tweet on March 24, 2015 he said, "Stop turning Asian roles white. It's bullshit and we all know it." On being the first Asian to play a romantic lead on a U.S. television series, he described it as being “revolutionary” and a “personal revolution” for him because of its uniqueness in Hollywood. “Asians narratively in shows are insignificant. They’re the cop, or waitress, or whatever it is. You see them in the background. So to be in this position ... is bit of a landmark,” he has said on the inability of Asians getting offered such roles. On the inter-racial relationship role in Selfie, which was made a non-issue in the storyline, Cho exclaims, “To not even talk about it is really new and, I think, mature way to look at it.” He also states, “There’s a reason we still have to call it ‘colorblind casting’ instead of just casting.” 
|1997||The Jeff Foxworthy Show||Pizza Delivery Man||Episode: "Twister of Fate"|
|1998||Felicity||Larry||Episode: "The Last Stand"|
|1998||Charmed||Mark Chao||Episode: "Dead Man Dating"|
|2001–2002||Off Centre||Chau Presley||28 episodes|
|2002||The Jamie Kennedy Experiment||Himself||1 episode|
|2003||Kim Possible||Hirotaka||Episode: "Exchange"|
|2005||The Men's Room||Bob||4 episodes|
|2005||House M.D.||Harvey Park||Episode: "Love Hurts"|
|2005–2006||Kitchen Confidential||Teddy Wong||10 episodes|
|2006||Grey's Anatomy||Marshall Stone||Episode: "Damage Case"|
|2006–2013||American Dad!||Vince Chung||4 episodes|
|2007||How I Met Your Mother||Jefferson Coatsworth||Episode: "I'm Not That Guy"|
|2007||Ugly Betty||Kenny||3 episodes|
|2007||'Til Death||Lucas Bender||Episode: "Come Out and Play"|
|2008||Hollywood Residential||Himself||Episode: "It Happens"|
|2009–2010||FlashForward||Demetri Noh||22 episodes|
|2010||Childrens Hospital||Park||Episode: "Frankfurters. Allman Brothers. Death. Frankfurters"|
|2011||30 Rock||Lorne||Episode: "Double-Edged Sword"|
|2011||NTSF:SD:SUV::||Chip||Episode: "The Birthday Part That Was Neither"|
|2012–2013||Go On||Steven||22 episodes|
|2013–2014||Sleepy Hollow||Andy Brooks||7 episodes|
|2014||Selfie||Henry Higgs||Main Cast|
|2015||BoJack Horseman||Lead Improv-er||Episode: "Yes And"|
|2015||The Mindy Project||Big Murder||Episode: "Lahiri Family Values"|
|2016||New Girl||Daniel||Episode: "Jury Duty"|
|2016||House of Lies||Sean Chew||Episode: "Holacracy"|
|2016||Drunk History||William Shakespeare||Episode: "Landmarks"|
|2016||The Hindenburg Explodes!||Reggie||Pilot|
|2015||Parallel Man: Infinite Pursuit||Agent Nick Morgan||Voice role|
|2013||Star Trek||Hikaru Sulu||Voice and likeness|
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- Kevin Pollak's Chat Show, Hulu.com and Ustream, episode 96
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- "Will John Cho Be Television's First Asian Romantic Lead?". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
- Wong, Tony (2014-07-16). ""Asians narratively in shows are insignificant," says John Cho, the romantic lead in the fall series Selfie. "So to be in this position ... is a bit of a landmark."". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2015-11-30.
- Berkshire, Geoff (January 29, 2017). "Sundance Film Review: 'Columbus'". Variety.