Thuy Trang

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Thuy Trang
Thuy Trang.jpg
Trang in 2000
Native name
Thùy Trang
Born(1973-12-14)December 14, 1973
DiedSeptember 3, 2001(2001-09-03) (aged 27)
Cause of deathCar accident
Resting placeRose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier, California
OccupationActress
Years active1993–1996
Known forTrini Kwan
Height5 ft 5 in (165 cm)

Thuy Trang (Vietnamese: Thuỳ Trang [tʰʷɪj˨˩ ʈaːŋ˧˧]; December 14, 1973 – September 3, 2001) was a Vietnamese-born American actress. She was best known for her role as Trini Kwan, Yellow Ranger in the television series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Trang died in a car accident on September 3, 2001 near San Francisco at the age of 27.

Early life[edit]

Trang was born in Saigon, South Vietnam (now Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam). Her father, a South Vietnamese army (ARVN) soldier, was tasked with protecting Saigon from the communist North Vietnamese army during the fall of Saigon in 1975. Her father's battalion was low on ammunition and air support during the fierce battle. Communist forces ultimately overcame his battalion. Her father tried to return home to get his family, but the route was blocked by the North Vietnamese army. Fearing for his life, Trang's father fled South Vietnam and was eventually granted political asylum by the United States. He vowed to bring his family to the United States. Trang's father contacted US government officials to politically pressure the communist government of the unified Vietnam.[citation needed]

Trang and her family were forced to flee Saigon when she was 2. They secretly boarded a cargo ship in 1979 bound for Hong Kong. Trang and her family were among hundreds of other persecuted Southern Vietnamese fleeing to Hong Kong, with the ultimate aim of reaching the United States. Trang was ill and nearly died on the journey.[citation needed]

Trang and her family lived in a Hong Kong detention camp while her father petitioned the US government for his family to get political asylum. They were eventually reunited in California in 1980. Trang began to study kung fu with her father's encouragement when she was about 9. Her father died of cancer in 1992 when she was 18.

Trang graduated from Banning High School and earned a scholarship to study civil engineering at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). She planned on pursuing a family career in engineering. A chance run-in with a Hollywood agent in 1992, however, sparked an interest in acting and changed her plans.

Career[edit]

Trang's agent got her a spot in a Church of Scientology commercial. Trang was believed to have been a Buddhist.[citation needed] Trang later spotted for a public service announcement about racism.[citation needed]

Trang landed her first major role in 1993 as Trini Kwan, the Yellow Ranger on the original cast of the TV series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Producers later claimed that while they insisted on racial diversity, the casting of an Asian actress as the Yellow Ranger was coincidental.[citation needed] Trang was on the show for about 1½ seasons. She left the show along with Austin St. John and Walter Emanuel Jones in the middle of the 2 part episode "The Power Transfer," due to payment disputes and was replaced as the Yellow Ranger by Karan Ashley.[citation needed]

Trang later played a lead villain, Kali, in the 1996 feature film, The Crow: City of Angels. Earlier that same year, she also played a manicurist in the 1996 movie Spy Hard. Trang's credits were erroneously switched with Tara Leon, who played a masseuse in the same short scene.

Trang and Power Rangers co-star Austin St. John were interviewed in a 1995 video documentary, The Encyclopedia of Martial Arts. Trang made cameo appearances in Austin St John's Martial Art's Video and Walter Jones Hip Hop Dance Video. Trang planned to do an aerobics video of unknown name to go alongside them, but the video was apparently never made.

Trang was set to appear in a project called Cyberstrike alongside St. John and Jones, but it never entered production.

Death[edit]

Trang died on September 3, 2001 near San Francisco after a car accident. She was 27 years old. Trang and former actress/model Angela Rockwood (for whom Trang was to be a bridesmaid in her then upcoming marriage to Dustin Nguyen) were passengers in a car traveling on Interstate 5 between San Francisco and Los Angeles. They were returning late at night from visiting Rockwood-Nguyen's maid of honor, when the driver (also one of the bridesmaids) lost control. The car swerved violently across the road before hitting the roadside rockface, flipping several times before hitting the safety rail and plunging over the bank. Rockwood-Nguyen (who has claimed both that she was and was not wearing a seat belt) survived after being thrown out of the vehicle through a window before its final impact; having suffered catastrophic injuries, she was rendered a quadriplegic. It is unknown whether Trang or the driver were wearing seat-belts. The driver survived the accident; however, Trang died before reaching the hospital, due to the internal injuries she had sustained.

Trang's body was cremated a week later on September 10 and her ashes are interred at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California. Her Power Rangers co-stars Amy Jo Johnson, Austin St. John, David Yost and Walter Emanuel Jones attended the funeral and memorial service to pay respect to their fallen co-star. Another co-star Jason David Frank was unable to attend, due to the death of his older brother Erik, but nonetheless sent his condolences to Trang's family.

The episode "Circuit Unsure" of Power Rangers Time Force was dedicated to Trang's memory.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1993–1994 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Trini Kwan Lead role; 88 episodes
1994 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Video game; Voice
1995 Encyclopedia of Martial Arts: Hollywood Celebrities Herself Video documentary
1996 Spy Hard Manicurist
The Crow: City of Angels Kali (final film role)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]