John Lone

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John Lone
John Lone in 1984 promoting his film Iceman
Background information
Chinese name尊龍 (traditional)
Chinese name尊龙 (simplified)
BornNg Kwok-leung (吳國良)
(1952-10-13) October 13, 1952 (age 66)
Hong Kong
Years active1976–present
Spouse(s)Nina Savino (1972–1979)

John Lone (Chinese: 尊龍; pinyin: Zūn Lóng; born October 13, 1952) is a Hong Kong-born American actor. Lone is best known for his roles in Iceman (1984), Year of the Dragon (1985), The Last Emperor (1987), and M. Butterfly (1993).

Personal life[edit]

Lone was born in October 1952 as Ng Kwok-leung (Chinese: 吳國良; pinyin: Wú Guóliáng) in Hong Kong. He was raised in an orphanage and later adopted by a Shanghainese woman. He began training in Beijing opera at Hong Kong's Chiu Chiu Academy. It was here, at the age of ten, where he was given the name "Johnny". He later chose the name Lone to reflect the fact that he was an orphan and for its similarity to Leung, part of his given name.

Sponsored by an American family, he left the Beijing opera troupe and emigrated to Los Angeles, California. In the United States, he married fellow Santa Ana Community College student Nina Savino in 1972, and gained American citizenship. The couple divorced in 1979. Lone also continued his performing arts studies at American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena, California. Eventually, he would move to New York City, in order to pursue a career on stage.


Lone struggled for a time until the actor Mako recognized his talent and suggested him for a role in David Henry Hwang's first play F.O.B.. From his performance in this play, Lone received an Obie Award.[1] While in New York City he was discovered by the talent agent Jadin Wong, who helped him to launch his career.[citation needed] Wong subsequently discovered Joan Chen, Bai Ling and Lucy Liu.[citation needed]

His first major role in films was as the title character in Iceman. He is probably best known for his portrayal of Puyi in The Last Emperor and crime boss Joey Tai in Year of the Dragon in the mid-1980s,[2] as well as an opera performer playing female roles in M. Butterfly (with Jeremy Irons). Further international film appearances included the role of corrupt Hong Kong cop Ricky Tan in Rush Hour 2. In the 1995 film The Hunted he played dangerous assassin Kinjo alongside Christopher Lambert.

Despite his Hollywood fame, he chose to further his career in the Asian market. He played the Qianlong Emperor, another Chinese emperor, in the 30-episode television drama series Qianlong and the Fragrant Concubine (乾隆与香妃) in 2004. Lone appeared in the fifth season, in the title role of Emperor Kangxi, in Records of Kangxi's Travel Incognito, a Chinese television series (1998-2007) about the Manchu-ruling Qing Empire monarch Kangxi Emperor. His last film appearance was in War and, as of 2017, he has not been involved in any projects.


Title Year Role Notes
King Kong 1976 Chinese Cook
Kate Bliss and the Ticker Tape Kid 1978 Houseman TV movie
Americathon 1979 Chinese
Iceman 1984 Charlie, the Iceman
Year of the Dragon 1985 Joey Tai
Echoes of Paradise 1987 Raka
The Last Emperor 1987 Emperor Puyi (adult)
The Moderns 1988 Bertram Stone
Shadow of China 1989 Henry Wong
Shanghai 1920 1991 Billy Fong
M. Butterfly 1993 Song Liling
The Shadow 1994 Shiwan Khan
The Hunted 1995 Kinjo
Task Force 1997 Thug Cameo appearance
Rush Hour 2 2001 Ricky Tan
Bamboo Shoot 2004 Mi Jihong
Qianlong and the Fragrant Imperial Concubine 2004 Qianlong Emperor TV series
Paper Moon Affair 2005 Keiko's Husband
War 2007 Li Chang

Award nominations[edit]


  1. ^ "1981 - Winners". Obie Award. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  2. ^ Tracey Wong Briggs (Jan 7, 1988). "John Lone, earnest `Emperor'". USA Today. Retrieved 29 April 2010.

External links[edit]