In 1914, Sessue Hayakawa came to Hollywood and organized an amateur theater group after graduating from the University of Chicago. Thomas Ince saw him in "Tycoon" and signed Hayakawa for his famous oriental villain roles at Paramount. After pictures like De Mille's "The Cheat," Sessue's salary was $7,500 a week. "I lived in a four story castle and gave tea parties," said Sessue. "I was very popular. Everyone came for the liquor."
He saved 90 percent of his salary and spent 10 per cent for living and pleasure, a rule he still followed. After his stint at Paramount, Sessue borrowed a million dollars, formed his own company and filmed "The First Born" and 32 other pictures. Four years after, he paid back his debt with a check for two million.