Rae Dawn Chong

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Rae Dawn Chong
Born (1961-02-28) February 28, 1961 (age 54)
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Occupation Actress
Years active 1974–present
Spouse(s) Owen Baylis (?–1982)
C. Thomas Howell (1989–90)
Nathan Ulrich (2011–present)
Children 1
Parent(s) Maxine (née Sneed) Chong
Tommy Chong

Rae Dawn Chong (born February 28, 1961) is a Canadian-American actress. She is best known for her roles in the films Quest for Fire (1981), The Color Purple (1985), Commando (1985), and Time Runner (1993). She has become a naturalized United States citizen.

Early life[edit]

Chong was born in 1961 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the first daughter of Maxine Sneed and comedian/actor Tommy Chong.[1][2] Chong's father is of Chinese, Scotch-Irish, and French descent, and her mother is of Afro-Canadian and Cherokee descent.[3] Her sister Robbi Chong is a model and actress. They have three younger half-brothers (one adopted) and a half-sister by their father's second wife. In addition to Rae Dawn, two of her sisters and their half-brother Marcus Chong have pursued acting careers.

Chong has said that her paternal grandfather left a poor village in China in the 1930s to live with an aunt in Canada, and although he spoke Cantonese, he refused to teach his children or grandchildren; "I think my grandfather had great racial shame, which was hard on us growing up... We grew up desperate to know anything about our Chinese culture."[4]


After acting in a few television roles, Chong's second feature film was Quest for Fire (1981), for which she won the Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in 1983.[5] Other notable roles have been in the films Choose Me (1984), Beat Street (1984), The Color Purple (1985), and Commando (1985). She appeared with her father in Cheech & Chong's The Corsican Brothers (1984), and Far Out Man (1990).

Her most active period in films was during the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s. She has continued working in television and film. She was considered for the role of Anne Lindsey in Highlander: The Series.

Chong played the love interest in Mick Jagger's video "Just Another Night".[6]

Marriage and family[edit]

Chong married Owen Bayliss, a stockbroker, and they had a son named Morgan. They divorced in 1982.[7]

In 1989, she married again, to actor C. Thomas Howell, her co-star in the feature film Soul Man. They divorced in 1990.[7]

In 2011, Chong married Nathan Ulrich.[citation needed]


Chong provoked controversy with remarks about Oprah Winfrey during a June 27, 2013, interview for Matty P's Radio Happy Hour, remarking that Winfrey was a "great brown-noser. If you're in a room with her, she'll pick the most powerful person and she'll become best friends with them." Chong said that there was bad blood between them since Chong did Commando alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, saying, "That's when she was a total bioootch."

Chong also had words of admiration for Winfrey, noting, "I respect her and I say kudos to you and I don't give two cents about the other parts of it. She shifted the DNA in terms of our thinking of a woman of a certain size and a certain shape. I love her for that."[8]

Chong later posted a YouTube video saying that she was praising Winfrey, but that her words got twisted by the media. "Out of context, it's a most unfortunate choice of words and I regret it." She then stated, "Do I take back everything I said? No."[9]





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