Ming-Na Wen

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Ming-Na Wen
Ming-Na Wen (48379514697) (cropped).jpg
Wen in 2019
Born (1963-11-20) November 20, 1963 (age 59)
Other namesMing-Na
CitizenshipUnited States
EducationCarnegie Mellon University (BFA)
Occupations
  • Actress
  • model
Years active1985–present
Spouses
Kirk Aanes
(m. 1990; div. 1993)
Eric Michael Zee
(m. 1995)
Children2
Websitewww.ming-na.com Edit this at Wikidata
Signature
Ming-Na Wen signature.svg
Ming-Na Wen
Traditional Chinese溫明娜
Simplified Chinese温明娜

Ming-Na Wen (Chinese: 溫明娜; born November 20, 1963)[1] is an American[2] actress and model. She is best known for voicing Mulan in the animated film Mulan and its sequel and for playing Melinda May / The Cavalry in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013–2020) and Fennec Shand in the Star Wars franchise in The Mandalorian (2019–2020), The Bad Batch (2021) and The Book of Boba Fett (2021–2022). She was named TVLine's Performer of the Week for her work in the episode, "Melinda".

Wen made her breakthrough in The Joy Luck Club (1993) as June Woo. She also played Dr. Jing-Mei "Deb" Chen in the medical drama series ER (1995–2004). She has also reprised the role as Mulan in the video game Kingdom Hearts II (2005), Sofia the First (2014), and Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018). Additionally, Wen made a cameo appearance in the live-action remake of Mulan (2020).

She has also had starring roles as Chun-Li in Street Fighter (1994), Detective Ellen Yin in The Batman (2004–2005) and Camile Wray in Stargate Universe (2009–2011). She was honored as a Disney Legend in 2019 and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2022.

Early life[edit]

High school yearbook photo of Ming-Na Wen (1981)

Wen was born on November 20, 1963, in Coloane, one of the two main islands of Macau.[1] Her mother Lin Chan Wen moved to Macau in the mid-1960s, from Suzhou, China.[3] Her father is of Malaysian Chinese descent.[4] She has an older brother named Jonathan.

Wen's parents divorced when she was an infant, and she moved with her brother and mother to Hong Kong. Wen attended a Catholic school in Hong Kong, while her mother held down three jobs to provide for her and her brother. Her mother remarried to Chinese American Soo Lim Yee, and when Wen was four years old, the family moved to New York City.[5] Her younger brother Leong was born there. After five years, Wen's mother and stepfather relocated again, this time to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area, where they opened The Chinatown Inn restaurant, which is still operating.[1] Raised in the suburb of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, she attended Mount Lebanon High School[6] and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1986 having majored in Theatre.[7]

Career[edit]

1985–1997: Breakthrough with The Joy Luck Club[edit]

Wen's first television role was as a royal trumpeter in the children's television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in 1985.[8] From 1988 to 1991, she played Lien Hughes, the daughter of Tom Hughes, on the soap opera As the World Turns.

After starring in the acclaimed 1993 film The Joy Luck Club,[9] she landed the role of Dr. Jing-Mei "Deb" Chen on the NBC drama series ER.[1] She first starred in a recurring role during the 1994–1995 season before returning in 1999 as a series regular, remaining on the show until midway through Season 11 in 2004. Wen also played Chun-Li in Street Fighter[9] and co-starred on the sitcom The Single Guy from 1995 to 1997.[1]

1998–2012: Mulan, established actress and other ventures[edit]

Wen in October 2006

She provided the voice for the title character in the 1998 animated film Mulan, its direct-to-video sequel, Mulan II, and the video game Kingdom Hearts II, subsequently winning an Annie Award. She voiced Aki Ross in the computer animated film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within,[10] and Detective Ellen Yin in the animated series The Batman.[10] She was also the voice actress for Jade, a minor character in the HBO animated series Spawn.[9]

In 2004, she took part in a Hollywood Home Game on the World Poker Tour, and won.[11] In fall 2005, she starred on the NBC drama series Inconceivable as the lead character, Rachel Lu. However, the series was canceled after only two episodes. Her next TV role was an FBI agent in the Fox kidnap drama series Vanished, which premiered in the fall of 2006 but was canceled. She also played a college professor in the comedy series George Lopez.

On October 8 through October 29, 2007, Wen (billed as Ming Wen) appeared in a four-episode arc of CBS's Two and a Half Men, playing Charlie Sheen's love interest, a judge closer to his own age.[12] In November 2008, she guest-starred on two ABC series: Private Practice and Boston Legal. From December 5–6, 2008, Wen starred in a benefit production of the musical Grease with "Stuttering" John Melendez at the Class Act Theatre.[13]

She was cast as a regular in the Stargate Universe television series as political attaché Camile Wray from October 2009 to May 2011.[1] Wen made an appearance in Disney Through the Decades, a short documentary about the history of The Walt Disney Company through to the present, as the hostess of the 1990s section.

Wen appeared on the Syfy series Eureka as the inquisitive U.S. Senator Michaela Wen,[14] beginning in season four in 2011 and serving as a major villain in the fifth and final season in 2012.[15]

2013–present: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and current work[edit]

Wen in 2017 at the Heroes and Villains Fan Fest

Wen starred as Agent Melinda May in the ABC superhero drama series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which premiered on September 24, 2013.[16]

In August 2014, Wen reprised her role as Mulan for the first time since Kingdom Hearts II in the Disney Channel series Sofia the First.[10] Wen's daughter has a recurring role on the show as Princess Jun.[17]

On December 7, 2017, Marvel Entertainment launched a new animation film franchise Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors. Wen voiced Hala the Accuser, the main antagonist of the film, working with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. co-star Chloe Bennet.[18] That same year, she once again provided the voice of Mulan in Ralph Breaks the Internet.[10][19]

In 2019, it was announced that Wen would be a cast-member of the Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian, playing Fennec Shand.[20] She reprised the role vocally in Star Wars: The Bad Batch, and the live-action series The Book of Boba Fett.[20] In September 2021, Wen was cast as Ivy in the LGBTQIA+ jukebox musical feature Glitter & Doom with Missi Pyle.[21]

In 2022, Wen made an appearance on Young Sheldon as Dr. Lee, an experimental physicist responsible for mitigating conflict within a team of scientists.[22] She is set to recur on the second season of HBO Max's Hacks.[23]

Artistry and legacy[edit]

Wen honored as a Disney Legend at the Disney D23 Expo 2019

Wen's roles as Melinda May and Fennec Shand in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Book of Boba Fett respectively, have received critical acclaim.[24] In December 2021, she was included in the list of BBC's 100 Women of 2021.[25] Wen is set to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2022 alongside Ewan McGregor and Carrie Fisher.[26][27]

She is also well known for her work with Disney.[28] WDW Magazine writer Aaron Widmar called Wen an "incredibly talented Chinese actress, who has had a remarkable career that seems to only gain steam as it progresses—a rarity in Hollywood".[28] He went on to say that she has "broken through barriers for Asian performers".[28] She was named a Disney Legend at the 2019 D23 Expo for her outstanding contributions to the Disney company.[29][30]

Personal life[edit]

In 1990, Wen married American film writer Kirk Aanes. They divorced three years later. On June 16, 1995, Wen married Eric Michael Zee[1] and together they have a daughter and a son.[31] Wen's first pregnancy was written into the ER script, with her character giving up the child for adoption. Wen's daughter followed her mother's footsteps in voice acting, and voices Princess Jun in the Disney Channel-animated series Sofia the First.[17]

Wen is trilingual, fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.[5]

Filmography[edit]

Wen at the January 2009 premiere for Push

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1993 Rain Without Thunder "Uudie" Prisoner
The Joy Luck Club Jing-Mei "June" Woo
1994 Terminal Voyage Han
Hong Kong 97 Katie Chun
Street Fighter Chun-Li Zang
1997 One Night Stand Mimi Carlyle
1998 Mulan Fa Mulan (voice)
12 Bucks Gorgeous
2001 Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within Dr. Aki Ross (voice)
2002 A Ribbon of Dreams Mei-Ling (voice)
Teddy Bears' Picnic Katy Woo
2004 Mulan II Fa Mulan (voice) Direct-to-video
Perfection Woman Short film
2008 Prom Night Dr. Elisha Crowe
2009 Push Emily Wu
2010 BoyBand Judy Roberts
2012 Super Cyclone Dr. Jenna Sparks Direct-to-video
2013 April Rain Hillary
2016 The Darkness Wendy
2018 Ralph Breaks the Internet Fa Mulan (voice)
2019 Swimming Lilian Short film
2020 Mulan Esteemed Guest Cameo[32]
2020 Pearl Headmistress
2023 Persephone[33] Pre-production
TBA Glitter & Doom[34] Ivy Post-production

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1985 Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Royal Trumpeter 2 episodes
1987 Another World Abby Episode: "#1.5950"
1988–1991 As the World Turns Lien Hughes 42 episodes
1993 Blind Spot Mitsuko Television film
1994 All-American Girl Amy Episode: "Redesigning Women"
Vanishing Son II Mai Television film
Vanishing Son IV Television film
1995, 2000–2004 ER Dr. Jing-Mei "Deb" Chen 118 episodes
1995–1997 The Single Guy Trudy 43 episodes
1997 Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child Lani (voice) Episode: "Puss in Boots"
1998 Tempting Fate Ellen Moretti Television film
1998–1999 Todd McFarlane's Spawn Jade / Lisa Wu (voice) 5 episodes
2002 I Got You Kaila Unsold ABC pilot
Disney's House of Mouse Fa Mulan (voice) Episode: "Salute to Sports"
2004 The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius Princess Guan Qi "Peggy" Tsu (voice) Episode: "The Great Egg Heist/The Feud"
2004–2005 The Batman Detective Ellen Yin (voice) 16 episodes
2004 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Li Mei Episode: "Debt"
2005 Robot Chicken Mary-Kate Olsen (voice) Episode: "Kiddie Pool"
Inconceivable Rachel Lu 9 episodes
2006 George Lopez Professor Tracy Lim 2 episodes
Vanished Lin Mei 13 episodes
2007 American Masters Narrator (voice) Episode: "Novel Reflections: The American Dream"
2007, 2010 Two and a Half Men Judge Linda Harris 5 episodes
2008–2015 Phineas and Ferb Dr. Hirano (voice) 3 episodes
Ginger Hirano (teenage voice) Episode : "Act Your Age"
2008 Private Practice Kara Wei Episode: "Let It Go"
Boston Legal Ming Wang Shu Episode: "Roe"
2009 Ni Hao Kai-Lan Gu Nai Nai (voice) Episode: "Kai-lan's Trip to China"
2009–2011 Stargate Universe Camile Wray 31 episodes
2011–2012 Eureka Senator Michaela Wen 7 episodes
2011 Celebrity Ghost Stories Herself Episode: "Keshia Knight Pulliam, Ming-Na, Chi McBride, Mia Tyler"
2012 Adventure Time Farmworld Finn's Mom (voice) 2 episodes
2013 Nashville Calista Reeves Episode: "You Win Again"
2013–2020 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Melinda May Main cast; 134 episodes
2014 Sofia the First Fa Mulan (voice) Episode: "Princesses to the Rescue"
2017–2018 Milo Murphy's Law Savannah (voice) 7 episodes
2017 Fresh Off the Boat Stephanie Episode: "The Flush"
2017–2018 Sofia the First Vega (voice) 5 episodes
2017 We Bare Bears Ranger Zhao (voice) Episode: "Ranger Games"
2018 Guardians of the Galaxy Phyla-Vell (voice) 4 episodes
Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors Hala the Accuser (voice) Television film
2018–2019 Hot Streets Soo Park (voice) 6 episodes
Fresh Off the Boat Elaine 2 episodes
2019 Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron Hala the Accuser (voice) Television short film
Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart Tanya Keys (voice) Episode: "Meet Tanya Keys"
2019–2020 The Mandalorian Fennec Shand 4 episodes
2020 Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens Sandra 2 episodes
2021 Star Wars: The Bad Batch Fennec Shand (voice)[35] 2 episodes
Yasuke Natsumaru (voice)[36] Main cast
Pretty Smart Jayden's mom Guest star
2021–present The Book of Boba Fett Fennec Shand[37] Main cast
2022 Young Sheldon Dr. Carol Lee[38] Episode: "A Free Scratcher and Feminine Wiles"
2022 Hacks Janet Stone Recurring role
2023 Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai Fong Wing (voice) 10 episodes[39]
2023 Velma Carroll 2 episodes

Web series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2015 Parallel Man: Infinite Pursuit Major Mackenzie Cartwright (voice) Short film
2016 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot Agent Melinda May 2 episodes
2020 50 States of Fright Susan 3 episodes

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role Notes
1995 Street Fighter: The Movie Chun-Li
1999 Disney's Story Studio: Mulan Fa Mulan
2005 Disney's Story Studio: Mulan II
2006 Kingdom Hearts II
2015 Disney Infinity 3.0
2016 Lego Marvel's Avengers Agent Melinda May
Disney Magic Kingdoms Fa Mulan

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
1998 Annie Award Outstanding Achievement in Voice Acting, Female Mulan Won
1999 Online Film & Television Association Award Best Family Actress Won
Best Voice-Over Performer Nominated
2001 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series ER Nominated
2014 People's Choice Award Favorite Actress in a New TV Series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nominated
2015 TVLine's Performer of the Week Performance in "Melinda" Won
2016 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite TV Actress – Family Show[40] Nominated
2019 Disney Legend Film, Television, & Animation — Voice Herself Honoree
2021 1st Hollywood Critics Association TV Award Best Supporting Actress in a Streaming Series, Drama[41] The Mandalorian Nominated
BBC's 100 Women Entertainment & Sport[25] Herself Honoree
2022 2nd Hollywood Critics Association TV Award Best Supporting Actress in a Streaming Series, Drama[42] The Book of Boba Fett Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Actress in a Streaming Presentation[43][44] Won
Hollywood Walk of Fame Television[45] Herself Honoree

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Ming-Na: Actress (1963–)". Biography.com (FYI / A&E Networks). Archived from the original on October 14, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  2. ^ Ming-Na Wen [@MingNa] (November 8, 2016). "Did my duties as a proud #American citizen this morning! #USA #Vote" (Tweet). Retrieved August 16, 2021 – via Twitter.
  3. ^ Michael, Elkin (September 23, 2016). "CMU grad Ming-Na Wen stands up for herself, on and off screen". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  4. ^ Wen, Ming-Na [@MingNa] (March 6, 2021). "Welcome to the @Disney family, Kelly! #warriorprincesses #southeastasiangals Yes, my biological father is Malaysian" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  5. ^ a b Mendoza, N.F. (October 25, 1995). "Channeling : With An Eye On. . . : Ming-Na Wen uses the power of persuasion to land on 'The Single Guy'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  6. ^ Polke, Clarece (April 3, 2014). "Admired theater teacher retiring after 33 years at Mt. Lebanon". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on April 6, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  7. ^ Elkin, Michael (September 23, 2016). "CMU grad Ming-Na Wen stands up for herself, on and off screen". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on October 17, 2017. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  8. ^ "Ming-Na". TV.com. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on February 12, 2021. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c Libuano, Patrick (October 21, 2016). "7 times Ming-Na Wen played a total badass". Kore Asian Media. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d "Ming-Na Wen". Behind the Voice Actors. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  11. ^ Patrizio, Andy (October 27, 2004). "An Interview With Ming-Na". IGN. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  12. ^ Mchance (October 14, 2013). "'Agents of SHIELD' star Ming-Na Wen calls Charlie Sheen a good kisser". Screener TV. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  13. ^ "John Melendez and Ming Na to Star in Grease Benefit". Theater Mania. Theatermania.com. November 12, 2008. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  14. ^ Darren (August 19, 2010). "Ming-Na to guest star on Eureka". Gate World. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  15. ^ Wilkins, Alasdair (April 24, 2012). "Eureka finally does something genuinely shocking". io9. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  16. ^ "Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D. recruits Ming-Na Wen". Asia Pacific Arts. October 29, 2012.
  17. ^ a b "First Look:Ming-Na Wen is Back at Mulan - This Time on Sofia the First". TV Guide. July 22, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  18. ^ Dinh, Christine (December 7, 2017). "Marvel to Launch New Animation Franchise 'Marvel Rising'". Marvel.com. Archived from the original on December 8, 2017. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  19. ^ "'Wreck-It Ralph 2' Bringing Back Original Disney Princess Voice Actresses". WWG.
  20. ^ a b Mitovitch, Matt (December 21, 2020). "Boba Fett Series Confirmed as a Mandalorian Spinoff; Pedro Pascal Will Be Back as Mando for Season 3". TVLine. Archived from the original on December 21, 2020. Retrieved December 21, 2020.
  21. ^ "Ming-Na Wen & Missi Pyle Board Indigo Girls Jukebox Musical Movie 'Glitter & Doom'".
  22. ^ "Ming-Na Wen Talks Her Character's Dynamic With 'Young Sheldon,' Working With Iain Armitage". Clayton News Daily. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
  23. ^ Cordero, Rosy (March 18, 2022). "'Hacks' Season 2 Adds Laurie Metcalf, Martha Kelly, Ming-Na Wen & Margaret Cho". Deadline. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  24. ^ "Why Ming-Na Wen Deserves Her Hollywood Walk of Fame Star". TVOM. June 27, 2021. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
  25. ^ a b "BBC 100 Women 2021: Who is on the list this year?". BBC. December 7, 2021. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  26. ^ "Ming-Na Wen Worked Her Ass Off To Be Here". Bustle. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  27. ^ "Ming-Na Wen Celebrates Her Hollywood Walk of Fame Star: My Little Nerd Heart Is Exploding". MovieWeb. June 19, 2021. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  28. ^ a b c "5 Facts About Disney Legend Ming-Na Wen". WDW Magazine. November 20, 2021. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
  29. ^ Abell, Bailee (May 16, 2019). "Robert Downey Jr. and James Earl Jones highlight the list of Disney Legends to be honored at D23 Expo 2019". Inside the Magic. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  30. ^ Dela Paz, Maggie (May 17, 2019). "RDJ, Jon Favreau, James Earl Jones & More to be Honored as Disney Legends". Comingsoon.net. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  31. ^ The Book of Boba Fett 's Ming-Na Wen Says Facing Adversity Made Her 'Fearless', Yahoo News, January 12, 2022.
  32. ^ Acuna, Kirsten; Guerrasio, Jason (September 4, 2020). "The live-action 'Mulan' has an unexpected cameo you may overlook the first time around. Here's how it came together". Insider. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  33. ^ Grobar, Matt (May 4, 2022). "Ming-Na Wen & Esai Morales Join Brianna Hildebrand In Jeffrey Morris' Sci-Fi Thriller 'Persephone'; Highland Film Group Launching Sales At Cannes". Deadline. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  34. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 30, 2021). "Ming-Na Wen & Missi Pyle Board Indigo Girls Jukebox Musical Movie 'Glitter & Doom'". Deadline. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  35. ^ Baver, Kristin (December 16, 2020). "THE RETURN OF FENNEC SHAND: MING-NA WEN ON FINDING HER VOICE AS THE ELITE ASSASSIN IN THE MANDALORIAN". StarWars.com.
  36. ^ "Yasuke Trailer Adds Mandalorian Star Ming-Na Wen and More to the Cast". CBR. April 26, 2021.
  37. ^ "THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT, A NEW SERIES, COMING DECEMBER 2021 ON DISNEY+". StarWars.com. December 21, 2020.
  38. ^ Halterman, Jim (January 27, 2022). "'Young Sheldon' Season 5: 'The Book of Boba Fett' Star Ming-Na Wen to Guest Star". tvinsider.com.
  39. ^ Zorrilla, Mónica Marie (February 16, 2021). "'Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai' Adds Ming-Na Wen, BD Wong, Matthew Rhys to Cast (Exclusive)". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  40. ^ "Kids' Choice Awards: The Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. March 12, 2016. Retrieved November 7, 2021.
  41. ^ "The Mandalorian nabs four nominations at the Hollywood Critics Association Television Awards". fanthatracks.com. July 8, 2021. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
  42. ^ Verhoeven, Beatrice (July 7, 2022). "'This Is Us,' 'Succession,' 'Severance' Lead 2022 HCA TV Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  43. ^ Tinoco, Armando (August 12, 2022). "Saturn Awards Nominations: 'The Batman', 'Nightmare Alley', 'Spider-Man', 'Better Call Saul' Top List". Deadline. Retrieved August 12, 2022.
  44. ^ O'Rourke, Ryan (October 27, 2022). "Saturn Award Winners Headlined By 'Everything Everywhere All At Once,' 'Top Gun Maverick,' and 'Better Call Saul'". Collider. Retrieved October 27, 2022.
  45. ^ "Hollywood Walk of Fame Class of 2022". walkoffame.com. June 17, 2021. Retrieved June 18, 2021.

External links[edit]