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Sandra Oh
Sandra Oh

Birth Date: November 30, 1970

Birth Place: Nepean, Ontario, Canada

Quote: "You just don't care about what people think. But it's hard to do because people tell you what they think all the time. It's sort of nuts. We actors, we're a fragile bunch, and yet we need to be strong because 90% of our lives is rejection. You have to figure out what really is important."

 

Sandra Oh Biography

Sandra Oh secured leading parts in her native Canada, but found that for a woman of Korean heritage, such roles were harder to come by outside of that nation's insular independent film world, and instead advanced her US career with a series of scene-stealing supporting roles in film and television. Possessing a likable combination of realized self-assurance and a childlike vulnerability, Oh brought added dimension to all of her roles. She began acting at age ten, working on stage, and later was featured in Marc Voizard's 1989 short film "The Journey Home". Her breakthrough role came in 1993, starring in the CBC television production "The Diary of Evelyn Lau", a fact-based tale of a young woman who falls into a life of drugs and prostitution. This impressive performance won the young actress a great deal of acclaim and recognition in Canada. She followed up later that same year with a starring role in the CBC biopic "Adrienne Clarkson Presents", playing the titular Canadian broadcaster. In 1995, Oh made her feature breakthrough, winning acclaim for her portrayal of a young Chinese-Canadian woman struggling to live her own life and break free from her family's somewhat oppressive traditions in Mina Shum's feature "Double Happiness". Here Oh proved a remarkable screen presence, brimming with an understated but nevertheless luminous vitality and charm. She capably handled both the lighter romantic moments of the film and the family-clashing dramatic fare. For her exceptional turn, she was awarded that year's Best Actress Genie (the Canadian equivalent of an Academy Award).

After a failed attempt at breaking through on US television with a recurring role on the quickly cancelled sitcom "If Not For You" (CBS, 1995), Oh won the part of Rita an overworked and underpaid assistant to tactless sports agent Arliss Michaels (Robert Wulh) in the HBO comedy "Arli$$" (1996-2002). She was awarded a 1997 Cable ACE Award for her performance, and proved her comic capabilities while exposing her talents to an American audience. The abbreviated "Arli$$" seasons (only 13 episodes per year) gave Oh an opportunity to remain active in features, and the actress gave a memorable turn as a stereotypical Los Angeles publicist in 1997's "Bean" and appeared in the fact-based drama "Permanent Midnight" (1998) before taking a leading role in Canadian actor-director-writer Don McKellar's acclaimed Armageddon-themed feature "Last Night" (1998). The thoughtful and straightforward film, which follows several Torontonians' last few hours on earth before a mysterious but pre-warned apocalyptic event, paired Oh with McKellar as two lost souls who see life out together. She played a woman whose car is vandalized in the rioting surrounding the final day and is unable to get home or to reach her husband (David Cronenberg), with whom she had planned to commit suicide in the last moments rather than be killed by whatever force was taking life on Earth away. She then meets up with McKellar's Patrick Wheeler, a man more than happy to spend his last hours alone. Oh's performance in this quietly fascinating feature was impressive and unsettling while remaining highly watchable. "Last Night" also starred Callum Keith Rennie, who played Oh's love interest in "Double Happiness", and not surprisingly earned the actress her second Genie. She was featured the following year in the Canadian films "The Five Senses" and Francois Girard's "The Red Violin". The latter, an epic tale co-scripted by McKellar spanning centuries and following the travels of the titular instrument was a festival favorite. Later that year she was featured in Audrey Wells' "Guinevere", playing a previous protégée of Connie (Stephen Rea), an artist and procurer of young women. Also in 1999, Oh had a two-episode stint as a no-nonsense faculty member on The WB's high school teen drama "Popular.”

She had one of her best roles playing a romantically challenged exotic dancer in Michael Radford's Los Angeles strip club-set "Dancing at the Blue Iguana" (2000), a feature also starring Jennifer Tilly and Daryl Hannah; played a school principal in Garry Marshall's teen Cinderella fantasy "The Princess Diaries" (2001), had a significant role as Bambi Kanetaka in the ensemble cast of Showtime's Armistead Maupin's Further Tales of the City" (2001),had a recurring role on the family legal drama "Judging Amy" as police detective Shelly Tranin 2001, appeared in a supporting turn in the Frankie Muniz kid revenge comedy "Big Fat Liar" (2002) and cameoed in director Steven Soderbergh's A-list indie effort "Full Frontal" (2002). Her highest profile file role at that point was as Patti, one of Diane Lane's sympathetic gal pals who sends her on a trip to Tuscany to shake off her romantic malaise in the romantic comedy "Under the Tuscan Sun" (2003), but her career got a major boost in 2004 when she appeared in the serio-comic "Sideways" as a winery employee who become romantically entangled with a libidinous bridegroom (Thomas Hayden Church) on a pre-wedding road trip. The film was written and directed by Oh's husband, Alexander Payne, and resulted in much critical acclaim for the actress—however, Payne and Oh announced their split shortly after the 2005 awards season.

The actress remained highly visible with her role as the cynical, snarky physician Cristina Yangon the ABC medical drama "Gray's Anatomy" (2005 - ) who strikes up a complicated interracial romance with a cocky surgeon (Isaiah Washington). She won a Golden Globe award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series.

In addition to her film and television work, Oh has accumulated a number of theater credits, beginning her stage work in community productions at age ten. After completing high school, Oh left her home in the Ottawa suburb Nepean for Montreal to train at National Theatre School of Canada. She went on to take strange roles including that of a chubby young boy (odd for a thin grown woman) in Peter Hinton's "The Witch of Edmonton" before a notable turn in David Mamet's difficult "Oleanna" at London, Ontario's Grand Theatre. The following year she gave a memorable performance in "Inquest", convincingly playing a police officer in this fact-based tale of the murder of an indigenous Canadian man. In 1998 she was featured in San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse production "Dogeaters" and also starred in the New York stage production "Stop Kiss", earning a Theater World Award for her performance as a sexually conflicted young woman who is the target of a vicious hate crime. In 2002 Oh played Adela in "The House of Bernarda Alba" play by Federico Garcia Lorca, adapted by Chay Yew at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

Sandra Oh Filmography

"Odd Job Jack" (voice) .... Vanessa (2 episodes, 2006)
"American Dragon: Jake Long" (voice) .... Sun Park (3 episodes, 2006)
For Your Consideration (2006) .... Marketing Person 1
The Night Listener (2006) .... Anna
"Grey's Anatomy" .... Dr. Cristina Yang (2005 - )
"American Dad!" .... Katie (1 episode, 2005)
Sorry, Haters (2005) .... Phyllis MacIntyre
3 Needles (2005) .... Sister Mary John
Cake (2005) .... Lulu
Break a Leg (2005) .... Young Turk
Hard Candy (2005) .... Judy Tokuda
Mulan II (2004) (V) (voice) .... Ting Ting
8 Minutes to Love (2004) .... Joy
Sideways (2004) .... Stephanie
Wilby Wonderful (2004) .... Carol French
Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) .... Patti
... aka Sotto il sole della Toscana (Italy)
Rick (2003) .... Michelle
Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity (2002) .... Kin Ho Lum
Full Frontal (2002) .... Fourth Fired Employee
Barrier Device (2002) .... Audrey
Big Fat Liar (2002) .... Mrs. Phyllis Caldwell
... aka Lügen haben kurze Beine (Germany)
"The Proud Family" .... Marsha Mitsubishi (5 episodes, 2001-2002)
"Judging Amy" .... Detective Shelly Tran (3 episodes, 2001)
The Princess Diaries (2001) .... Vice Principal Gupta
"Six Feet Under" .... Porn Starlet (1 episode, 2001)
"Further Tales of the City" (2001) (mini) TV Series .... Bambi Kanetaka
... aka Armistead Maupin's Further Tales of the City (USA: complete title)
Date Squad (2001) (TV) .... Alpha Baby
Dancing at the Blue Iguana (2000) .... Jasmine
Waking the Dead (2000) .... Kim
Three Lives of Kate (2000) .... Narrator
"Popular" .... Humanities Teacher (2 episodes, 1999)
Guinevere (1999) .... Cindy
Permanent Midnight (1998) .... Friend
Violon rouge, Le (1998) .... Madame Ming (Montréal)
... aka The Red Violin (Canada: English title) (USA)
... aka Violino rosso, Il (Italy)
Last Night (1998) .... Sandra
... aka Minuit (Canada: French title)
Bad Day on the Block (1997)
... aka The Fireman (International: English title)
... aka Under Pressure
Bean (1997) .... Bernice Schimmel
... aka Bean: The Movie (USA: video box title)
... aka Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie (Hong Kong: English title)
"Arli$$" .... Rita Wu (1996-2002)
Cowgirl (1996) .... Sara Hwang
"Kung Fu: The Legend Continues" .... Mai Chi (1 episode, 1996)
Cagney & Lacey: The View Through the Glass Ceiling (1995) (TV) .... Officer Angela Lum
"Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years" .... Ming Li (1 episode, 1995)
"If Not for You" (2 episodes, 1995)
Prey (1995) .... Il Bae
... aka Automatic (Canada: English title)
Double Happiness (1994) .... Jade Li
... aka Bonheur aigre-doux (Canada: French title)
The Diary of Evelyn Lau (1993) (TV) .... Evelyn Lau
School's Out (1991) (TV) (uncredited) .... Waitress
... aka Degrassi High: School's Out (Canada: English title: video title)
"Denim Blues" (1989) TV Series .... Gwen
The Journey Home (1989)

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