Ke Huy Quan
|Alma mater||University of Southern California|
|Years active||1984–2002; 2021–present (acting)|
2000–2004 (production assistant)
|Vietnamese||Quan Kế Huy|
Ke Huy Quan (born August 20, 1971), also known as Johnathan Ke Quan (/kiːˈkwɑːn/), is an American actor. As a child actor, Quan rose to fame playing Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and Data in The Goonies (1985). Following a few roles in the 1990s, he took an almost 20-year acting hiatus during which he worked as a stunt choreographer and assistant director.
Quan returned to acting as an adult with the science fiction film Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), a performance which won him several accolades, including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award. Quan is one of two actors of Asian descent to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and the first Vietnam-born actor to win an Academy Award.
Ke Huy Quan was born on August 20, 1971, in Saigon, South Vietnam. He was born into a family of Chinese descent with eight siblings. In 1975, the North Vietnamese occupied the South and unified Vietnam; three years later, Quan fled from Vietnam with his family. He, along with his father and five siblings, fled to Hong Kong, while Quan's mother and three other siblings went to Malaysia. After staying at a refugee camp in Hong Kong, Quan's entire family was admitted to the United States as part of the Refugee Admissions Program in 1979. In the U.S., Quan grew up in California, where he attended the Mount Gleason Junior High School in Sunland-Tujunga, Los Angeles and the Alhambra High School in Alhambra. Quan subsequently studied film at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts.
Quan became a child actor at age of 12, starring as Harrison Ford's sidekick Short Round in the Steven Spielberg film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984. The casting director auditioned a number of children at Castelar Elementary School, including Quan's younger brother. He described the role as "one of the happiest times of my life". For his performance, he was nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor. In 1985, Quan co-starred in The Goonies as a member of the eponymous group of children, the inventor Richard "Data" Wang. He played a pickpocket orphan in the 1986 Taiwanese movie It Takes a Thief. In 1987, he appeared in the Japanese movie Passengers (Passenjā Sugisarishi Hibi) with the Japanese idol singer Honda Minako. He played Sam on the short-lived TV series Together We Stand (1986–1987) and played Jasper Kwong in the sitcom Head of the Class from 1990 to 1991. In 1991 he starred in the movie Breathing Fire, and had a small role in Encino Man the following year. He played the starring role in the 1993 Mandarin-language Taiwan TV show Eunuch & Carpenter which ran for forty episodes. He also starred in the 1996 Hong Kong-Vietnam co-production Red Pirate. He studied Taekwondo under Philip Tan on the set of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and later trained under Tao-liang Tan.
As an adult, Quan found it difficult to find acting work in the United States. He eventually quit acting and enrolled in the film program at University of Southern California. During his time there, he edited a comedy horror short film titled Voodoo alongside fellow student Gregg Bishop, who directed the film. Voodoo won the Audience Award at the 2000 Slamdance Film Festival, and continues to be shown to USC students to this day. After graduating from USC, Quan was asked by Corey Yuen to go to Toronto, Ontario, to help choreograph fighting sequences in X-Men (2000). For the next decade, he worked behind the scenes on various productions in Asia and the United States. He again helped Yuen as a stunt choreographer for The One (2001). Quan worked as assistant director on Wong Kar-wai's 2046 (2004).
Quan was inspired to return to acting following the success of Crazy Rich Asians in 2018. That same year, filmmaking duo Daniels began casting for their film Everything Everywhere All at Once. They struggled to cast an actor in the role of Waymond Wang, a character who would appear in three different incarnations in the film. Co-director Daniel Kwan stumbled upon Quan on Twitter. Two weeks after getting a talent agent, the actor received a call to audition for the film. In January 2020, Quan was announced as a cast member of Everything Everywhere All at Once. The film was released in March 2022 to overwhelming acclaim, with Quan's performance receiving near unanimous praise and media attention, eventually leading to him winning a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Academy Award for his role. The Screen Actors Guild Award win made him the first Asian man to win any individual category at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, with his win of the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role. He was the first Vietnamese-American actor to be nominated in that category. Quan is one of two actors of Asian descent to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the other being Haing S. Ngor in 1985, and is the first Vietnam-born actor to win an Academy Award. Everything Everywhere All at Once is also the most awarded film of all time.
In 2019 he was cast in a supporting role in the Netflix film Finding ʻOhana, released in 2021. Quan approached director Jude Weng after overhearing her describing the film as The Goonies meets Indiana Jones, in both of which Quan had appeared. In February 2022, it was announced that he had joined the cast of the TV adaptation of American Born Chinese for Disney+. In September 2022, Quan was announced to have joined the cast for the second season of the Marvel Cinematic Universe series Loki for Disney+.
Quan is of Han Chinese ancestry from the Hoa ethnic minority group of Vietnam. He is fluent in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese. Quan is married to Echo Quan, who served as the on-set translator for Everything Everywhere All at Once, and resides in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles. He remains close friends with his Goonies co-star Jeff Cohen, who is also Quan's entertainment lawyer and helped Quan negotiate his contract to star in Everything Everywhere All at Once.
|1984||Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom||Short Round|
|1985||The Goonies||Richard "Data" Wang|
|1986||It Takes a Thief||Little Guan|
|1991||Breathing Fire||Charlie Moore|
|1996||Red Pirate||Kwan Chia Chiang|
|2002||Second Time Around||Sing Wong|
|2021||Finding ʻOhana||George Phan|
|2022||Everything Everywhere All at Once||Waymond Wang|
|2024||The Electric State||TBA||Post-production|
|2000||X-Men||Assistant fight choreographer, translator|
|1986–1987||Together We Stand||Sam||19 episodes|
|1990–1991||Head of the Class||Jasper Kwong||Main cast (seasons 4–5)|
|1991||Tales from the Crypt||Josh||Episode: "Undertaking Palor"|
|1993||Eunuch & Carpenter||Ba Dajia||Main role; TV series from Taiwan, 40 episodes|
|2023||Loki||TVA employee||Season 2|
|2023||American Born Chinese||Freddy Wong||Upcoming series|
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Ke Huy Quan
In 2023, Quan won a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award, for Best Supporting Actor, for his role in Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022). Notably, he was the first Asian man to win any individual category at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for the same role, as well as the first Vietnamese-American actor to be nominated in the supporting category.