The trailblazing Chinese American actress Anna May Wong will be the first Asian American featured on U.S. currency as part of a program that includes notable women on American quarters.
Wong, who is considered the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood, is the fifth and final woman to be individually featured on a quarter this year.
The quarter, which will enter general circulation on Monday, will feature President George Washington on one side and Wong on the other.
Ventris C. Gibson, director of the U.S. Mint, called Wong "a courageous advocate who championed for increased representation and more multi-dimensional roles for Asian American actors."
“This quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of accomplishments by Anna May Wong, who overcame challenges and obstacles she faced during her lifetime," Gibson said in a statement.
Wong, whose birth name was Wong Liu Tsong, was born in Los Angeles in 1905 to Chinese immigrants, according to IMDB. She was cast in her first role at 14 as an extra in the film “The Red Lantern” and continued to take on smaller parts until her lead role in “The Toll of the Sea” in 1922.
Wong had a substantial acting career despite the limited roles available to actors of Asian descent in Hollywood at the time and anti-miscegenation laws that prevented her from kissing any person of another race, according to the New York Historical Society Museum and Library.
She worked in theater, film and television, appearing in over 60 movies, including silent films and one of the first made in Technicolor.
She also became the first Asian American lead actor in a U.S. television show, “The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong,” in which she played a Chinese detective.
Wong appeared on stages in London and New York, and eventually traveled to Europe to work in English, French and German films after facing discrimination in the U.S.
She was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. She died in 1961, at age 56.
“She is remembered as an international film star, fashion icon, television trailblazer, and a champion for greater representation of Asian Americans in film. She continues to inspire actors and filmmakers today,” the U.S. Mint said on its website.
The American Women Quarters Program began this year and features five women each year through 2025, including the Native Hawaiian hula teacher Edith Kanaka’ole in 2023.
Gemma Chan, known for her roles in “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Eternals,” is set to portray Wong in an upcoming biopic about the star's life; she is also the film's executive producer.
“A dream!” Chan said on Instagram.