Kam Fong

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Kam Fong

Born

5/27/1918, Honolulu, HI

Died

10/18/2002

Birth Name

Kam Tong Chun

Gender

Male
8.2
out of 10
User Rating
12 votes

Biography

EDIT
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1918, Kam Fong (born Kam Tong Chun) is best known to television viewers for playing Detective Chin Ho Kelly on the long-running police drama Hawaii Five-O. A Chinese-American, Kam Fong experienced the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor first hand as he was employed…more

Credits

Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Kam Fong's grave is at Diamond Head Memorial Park on Oahu, very near the location of the sound stage used for filming scenes for later episodes of Hawaii Five-O.

    • Kam Fong's birth name, Kam Tong Chun, means "golden temple" in Chinese. An elementary school teacher mistakenly taught him to write his name as Kam Fong Chun.

    • On hearing of his death, Hawaii Five-O producer Leonard Freeman's widow said Kam Fong was a "dear, dear man and I adored him."

    • There are conflicting accounts on why Kam Fong left Hawaii Five-O at the end of Season 10. In 1996, it was intimated that he was written out against his will (though Fong denied the idea that there was talk of a lawsuit). However, in 1977, he said that he wanted to leave because the scripts had become "static" and predictable.

    • The accidental tragedy that killed his first wife and their children depressed Kam Fong severely. He began to drink heavily, was once found holding a revolver to his head, and he joined the police specifically because it was a job where his life was at risk.

    • Kam Fong enjoyed his personal vices. He once said that he wanted to be buried with a cigar, a pack of cigarettes, and a bottle of whiskey. His smoking probably contributed to the lung cancer that eventually caused his death.

    • James MacArthur believes he was Kam Fong's closest friend from the Hawaii Five-O cast. MacArthur called him "a gentleman of great dignity" and said that Kam Fong told his young son "I'm your Chinese grandfather."

    • When serving as a Honolulu police officer, Kam Fong was called "A & B Chun" because he specialized in matters of assault and battery.

    • Kam Fong sold real estate, was involved in a talent agency, and even worked as a disc jockey after leaving the Honolulu Police Department in 1959.

    • Aside from Gidget Goes Hawaiian, Kam Fong had roles in the movies Ghost of the China Sea (1958), Cry for Happy (1961), The Seven Women from Hell (1961), Diamond Head (1963), and 1991's Goodbye Paradise (with his son Dennis Chun).

    • Kam Fong attended McKinley High School in Honolulu and was a member of the football team and the drama club.

    • According to information gathered by Hawaii Five-O biographer and author Karen Rhodes, when Stephen J. Cannel attempted to revive the series in 1997, Kam Fong shot footage as Chin Ho Kelly - despite the fact that the character was murdered in the original series at the end of the 10th season.

    • The shortened stage name Kam Fong was suggested by the producers of Hawaii Five-O.

    • Kam Fong mounted a failed but mostly joking 1989 campaign to run for governor of Hawaii. Using his own radio program to promote his candidacy, one slogan he used was "Give a damn, vote for Kam!"

  • Quotes

    • Kam Fong: (on Hollywood remakes of successful TV shows like "Hawaii Five-O") If they did "Five-O" again, everybody would compare Jack Lord to the new guy. Its never the same. The original is always better than the remake.

    • Kam Fong: (on working with Jack Lord, an actor notorious for being inaccessible and aloof) (But) he was a softy with a marshmallow heart. He loved kids. He had a baby son and lost him. I think it always affected him.

    • Kam Fong: (on growing up poor and hungry after his father and mother divorced) It was a very hard life. To this day, I never have breakfast or lunch, even on Sundays. My wife gets angry with me. Its a fallback to when I was a youngster around the 1930s. We had nothing but soda crackers, water, and sugar.

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