NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
The trailblazing Asian American actor Wood Moy died on Nov. 8 at the age of 99, according to an obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Moy is best known for his iconic role as Jo in Wayne Wang’s classic 1982 film “Chan is Missing.” The film noir, shot in black and white, is highly regarded as the first Asian American film to gain not only theatrical distribution, but critical acclaim.
Moy played a cab driver, who together with his nephew Steve (Marc Hayashi), go in search for a man who took off with the $4,000 Jo wanted to use to buy a taxi license. Their search for Chan unveils a multi-dimensional character quite different from the fortune cookie characterization portrayed in Charlie Chan films.
Moy was born in 1918 in Canton City, China and came to the United States in 1921. He graduated with a BA from New York University in 1941 and served in the U.S. Army’s 987th Signal Company, one of two all-Chinese American companies, during World War II from 1942-1945.
In 1947, Moy along with his future wife, Mamie Louie, and his future brother-in-law, Henry Louie, arrived in San Francisco from Cleveland to grow East Wind, a magazine that focused on the Chinese American experience.
Mamie and Moy were married from 1947 until her death in 2007. He is survived by his children Lincoln, Kenneth, and Cynthia and his grandchildren Brian, Matthew, Jacqueline, Travis, and Quentin.