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John Cho        

Actor Known for his Roles in "Searching," the "Harold & Kumar" Films, "American Pie" & the "Star Trek" Series

The son of a Christian minister, he was born Cho Yo Han in Seoul, South Korea on June 16, 1972. The family moved to the United States in 1978, and settled in Los Angeles, where Cho attended high school before enrolling at the University of California at Berkeley. Though he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature, he developed a passion for acting after appearing in the play, "Warrior Woman." He was particularly inspired by the fact that many of his cast mates still displayed such dedication to their craft, despite being well into their fifth decades. After graduation, he returned to Los Angeles, where he worked as an English teacher at Pacific Hills School in West Hollywood while making his first inroads towards a professional acting career. Appearances in print advertising led to bit parts in features like his screen debut, "Wag the Dog," and television series like "Felicity" and "Charmed." In the meantime, he began performing with the acclaimed Asian-American theater group, East West Players, in Los Angeles.

Cho's knack for dry comic delivery was soon tapped for more substantial supporting roles in features like "American Beauty" and the underrated "Bowfinger." His big-screen breakthrough, however, was as the manic high schooler John in "American Pie," whose hormonal response to Stifler's zaftig mom helped coin the catchphrase "MILF." His performance was well-received by the film's audience of teen males, and he reprised the role twice in the sequels, "American Pie 2" and "American Wedding." "Pie" creators Chris and Paul Weitz reunited Cho with his co-star Eddie Kaye Thomas for the short-lived sitcom "Off Centre," about four single men on the make in New York. Cho's performance as an accident-prone, socially unbridled Vietnamese restaurant owner was largely regarded as the show's sole saving grace. After the show's demise, he teamed once again with the Weitz brothers in "Down to Earth," a remake of "Heaven Can Wait" with Chris Rock. In 2002, Cho shifted gears to play a casually cruel young man who becomes involved with bored students on a crime spree in the dark comedy "Better Luck Tomorrow." The film, helmed by future "Fast and Furious" director Justin Lim, featured an all-Asian cast and received critical praise, as well as an Independent Spirit Award nomination in 2004. But Cho soon returned to lighter material like "Big Fat Liar."

Cho's biggest film success after "American Pie" was "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle." Cho shone as Harold Lee, an overworked Korean banker whose craving for the title restaurant -- spurred by a late night marijuana smoke-out with friend Kumar Patel (Kal Penn) -- leads to a string of surreal events that include rabid raccoons, berserk extreme sports fans, and a debauched Neil Patrick Harris, played to the hilt by the actor himself. The film was a mild box office success but proved exceptionally popular on DVD, which in turn inspired an even more popular -- and crass -- sequel, "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay" in 2008. The exposure afforded by the "Harold and Kumar" films helped to make Cho a popular fixture in film and television comedies, with occasional forays into dramas. A brief stint on the sitcom "Kitchen Confidential," based on the book by chef Anthony Bourdain, preceded guest shots on "Grey's Anatomy" and "How I Met Your Mother" opposite his "Harold and Kumar" co-star, Neil Patrick Harris. Cho also enjoyed a recurring role on "Ugly Betty" as the best friend of Christopher Gorham's nebbish accountant, Henry Grubstick.

Cho found himself at the center of considerable Internet and press buzz when he was cast as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the U.S.S. Enterprise in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek." Initially, Abrams was concerned about casting the Korean-born Cho in a role made iconic by Japanese actor George Takei, but the original Sulu appeased his concerns by stating that both he and "Star Trek" creator George Roddenberry envisioned Sulu as a symbol for all Asian people. In interviews, Cho cited how pleased he was to play a role that afforded an Asian actor the chance to play a sort of cowboy, and how much he enjoyed the physicality of the part, which required him to undergo weeks of fight training. The film showcased Cho in a new light, and led to his regular role on ABC's "FlashForward," a sci-fi drama series in which he played one of a team of FBI investigators studying a brief but international time travel incident.

After "FlashForward" ended, Cho once again reprised his role as Harold and starred in "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas." In 2012, he was a series regular on the NBC sitcom "Go On," playing the best friend to Matthew Perry's character.

Cho again starred as Sulu in 2013's "Star Trek: Into Darkness" and in 2016 "Star Trek Beyond." He received acclaim for his role in the 2018 film "Searching". Cho is set to star in the 2019 films "Wish Gragon" and "Tigertail", and the 2020 film "Grudge."

News


John Cho, Sulu of 'Star Trek Beyond,' Navigates a Beckoning Universe

John Cho in Beverly Hills, Calif. Since 2009, he has been a part of the “Trek” universe as Sulu. Credit Elizabeth Weinberg for The New York Times. In “Star Trek ...

John Cho Gets a Crack at the Leading-Man Role He Deserves ...

But in that time, there's been a bit of a sea change when it comes to John Cho. Thanks in some part to a viral meme called #StarringJohnCho, wider audiences ...

John Cho to Star in 'Columbus,' Drama Directed by Kogonada: Report

John Cho of "Star Trek," "Harold and Kumar," and #StarringJohnCho fame will be starring in the upcoming "Columbus," a dramatic film by Korean-American ...

John Cho Preps Return to TV in USA Network's 'Connoisseur' - NBC ...

The USA Network is developing an hour-long con drama called 'Connoisseur.' It will star John Cho, according to an exclusive report from Variety.

John Cho Reveals A Risk He Took Early In His Career To Promote ...

The actor took a chance in an auditionand still got the part.

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