PROFILE
Name:
Rosalind Chao
Birth Date:
September 23, 1957
Birth Place:
California, USA
Nationality:
American
BIOGRAPHY
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Star Trek Botanist

Background:

"When I leave Los Angeles to do something, that's when I notice how into ‘Star Trek’ and how loyal to the shows' actors the fans are. The fans will notice me on the street and ask me questions about Keiko's personal relationships, especially the female fans. They're very concerned, because they want her to maintain her career. They always talk to me about that. It's very funny." Rosalind Chao

Actress Rosalind Chao was first noticed in the early '70s while playing Princess Serena, the King's eldest daughter, on the short-lived CBS series "Anna and the King" (1972). She then played the recurring role of school teacher Miss Chung (1981-1983) on the popular, long-running sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes," and appeared on the final two-hour episode of the acclaimed CBS medical comedy series "M*A*S*H," as Soon-Lee (1983), a Korean woman who meets, loves and marries Jamie Farr's Corporal Klinger character. She also played the recurring role of Li-Ying Chi (1986), daughter of enigmatic housekeeper Chao-Li, on the CBS primetime television soap opera "Falcon Crest."

Chao is probably best known as the Japanese botanist Keiko O'Brien (1991-1992), the wife of Colm Meaney's Miles Edward O'Brien, on the syndicated sci-fi series "Star Trek: The Next Generation." She would later reprise the role on the syndicated sci-fi spinoff series, "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (1993-1999) and guest-star as Dr. Kim (2003-2006) on several episodes of FOX’s teen drama series "The O.C."

Meanwhile, moviegoers could catch her in the films "The Big Brawl" (1980), "Slam Dance" (1987), "Thousand Pieces of Gold" (1991), "Memoirs of an Invisible Man" (1992), "The Joy Luck Club" (1993), "The End of Violence" (1997), "Enemies of Laughter" (2000), "I Am Sam" (2001), "Freaky Friday" (2003) and "Just Like Heaven" (2005).

The 5' 6" actress is married to voice actor Simon Templeman and has one son with him.


First-Generation Californian

Childhood and Family:

A first-generation Californian, Rosalind Chao was born on September 23, 1957, in Anaheim, California. Her parents ran a successful Chinese American pancake restaurant, Chao's, across the street from Disneyland, and employed her there from an early age.

After moving from Garden Grove to Villa Park, California, Chao attended Marywood, an all-girls school where she was the only non-Caucasian student. She studied literature at Pomona College, in Pomona, California, and graduated in 1978. She also went to The Loft Studio, in Los Angeles, California, and was enrolled in the communications department at U.S.C. where she hoped to go into broadcasting. However, she decided to return to acting after a disillusioning year at the CBS-owned radio station in Hollywood.

Chao is the wife of well-known voice actor Simon Templeman, who is best known for voicing the character "Kain" in the “Legacy of Kain” video game series. She has one son with him.


M*A*S*H

Career:

Rosalind Chao, who convinced her parents to let her perform with the Peking Opera traveling company in California when she was 7, studied acting during Christmas and summer vacations and began appearing on TV in commercials and in guest spots as a teen. After being enrolled in the communications department at U.S.C. where she hoped to go into broadcasting, she decided to return to acting after signing a two-year contract with a comedy development team at Embassy Television and worked part-time as a news writer at KNX, the CBS-owned and operated all-news radio station in Los Angeles.

Around the late '60s, Chao's father encouraged her to audition for the 70s TV sitcom "Here's Lucy" (1968). After being featured in the pilot titled "Almost American" in 1972, she became a TV series regular on the short-lived CBS series "Anna and the King," playing Princess Serena, the king's eldest daughter.

The newcomer subsequently landed guest spots in a string of TV series, including ABC’s award-winning western/drama starring David Carradine, "Kung Fu," ABC's "The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries," CBS/USA Network’s crime/drama starring Telly Savalas, "Kojak," CBS’ live-action series starring Lou Ferrigno and based on the Marvel comic book character, "The Incredible Hulk," the western show "How the West Was Won," CBS’ live-action series starring Nicholas Hammond based on the popular comic book, "The Amazing Spider-Man," and NBC’s secret agent adventure television series starring Robert Conrad, "A Man Called Sloane." She also appeared in ABC Afterschool Specials' “P.J. and the President's Son” (1976) and in the made-for-television movies "The Incredible Hulk: Married" (1978), "The Ultimate Impostor" (1979) and "Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women" (1979).

In the early '80s, Chao acted in her first feature films, writer/director Robert Clouse's martial arts movie "The Big Brawl," which marked Jackie Chan's first attempt to break into the American movie market, and "Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge," alongside Nicholas Hammond. From 1981 to 1983, she played the recurring role of Miss Chung, a school teacher, on NBC/ABC’s popular, long-running sitcom "Diff'rent Strokes."

Afterward, Chao appeared on the final two-hour episode of the acclaimed CBS medical comedy series, "M*A*S*H" (1983) had a breakthrough TV-movie role in the HBO movie "The Terry Fox Story" (1983). She revisited the role of Soon-Lee Klinger on the CBS spinoff series, "AfterMASH" (1983) and appeared in the comedy film directed and co-written by David Steinberg, "Going Berserk" (1983), alongside John Candy, Joe Flaherty, and Eugene Levy.

1986 saw Chao in her first leading role on TV in the PBS drama adaptation of "Paper Angels." She also played the recurring role of Li-Ying Chi on the CBS primetime television soap opera "Falcon Crest."

Chao spent the rest of the decade guest-starring in such TV shows as NBC’s detective show "Riptide," NBC’s medical drama series "St. Elsewhere," NBC’s action adventure television series "The A-Team," the spy show starring George Hamilton, "Spies," the short-lived NBC crime/drama starring Nick Mancuso, "Stingray," ABC's short-lived science fiction series "Max Headroom," CBS’ romantic drama "Beauty and the Beast," CBS’ Vietnam war/drama "Tour of Duty," NBC’s crime/drama "Miami Vice," and CBS crime/drama starring William Conrad and Joe Penny, "Jake and the Fatman." She also appeared in the TV movies "Jack & Mike" (1986) and "Shooter" (1988), as well as in the films "Shao ye de mo nan" (1986), "Slam Dance" (1987) and "White Ghost" (1988).

Entering the '90s, Chao landed a lead role in the feature film "Thousand Pieces of Gold" (1991), Nancy Kelly's romantic western film adapted from Ruthanne Lum McCunn's novel in which she portrayed a young Chinese girl sold into marriage by her impoverished father. Afterward, she played the recurring role of the Japanese botanist Keiko O'Brien (1991-1992), the wife of Colm Meaney's Miles Edward O'Brien, on the syndicated sci-fi series "Star Trek: The Next Generation." She would later reprise the role on the syndicated sci-fi spinoff series, "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," which premiered in 1993 and ended in 1999.

While auditioning for the part of Keiko O'Brien on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987), Chao was up against actress Patti Yasutake who also auditioned for the role. Chao eventually received the role and Yasutake got the part of Nurse Allysa Ogawa on the same show. Chao turned down the chance to work full-time on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (1993) so she could spend more time with her family.

Chao also played a lead in Wayne Wang's film adaptation of Amy Tan's 1989 best-selling novel "The Joy Luck Club" (1993) and was cast in the films "North" (1994), "Love Affair" (1994) and "The End of Violence" (1997). She also had minor roles in Vincent Ward's film version of Richard Matheson's novel, "What Dreams May Come" (1998), alongside Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Annabella Sciorra, and Max von Sydow.

"I'm very grateful to the 'Star Trek' people because they made it possible for me to participate in a movie that really made a difference to Asian-Americans and it made a difference in my life as well." Rosalind Chao

On the small screen, Chao could be seen in the TV movies "Web of Deception" (1994), "Special Report: Journey to Mars" (1996) and "To Love, Honor, and Deceive" (1996). She also guest-starred in the TV series "Murder, She Wrote," "Chicago Hope," "The Magic School Bus," "Brimstone," "Get Real" and "ER."

Hitting the new millennium, Chao co-starred with David Paymer and Judge Reinhold in Joey Travolta's romantic comedy "Enemies of Laughter" and was spotted as a guest in an episode of CBS’ romantic crime drama series starring Kathleen Quinlan, "Family Law." She then appeared in the films "The Man from Elysian Fields" (2001), "I Am Sam" (2001) and "Impostor" (2001) and the TV movie "Three Blind Mice" (2001).

From 2003 to 2006, Chao guest-starred as Dr. Kim on several episodes of FOX’s teen drama series "The O.C." During this time, she played Lt. Maggie Chen on the short-lived ABC police drama series "10-8: Officers on Duty" (2003-2004) and appeared in three episodes of HBO’s "Six Feet Under." She was spotted as a guest in an episode of "Without a Trace," "Monk," "The Parkers," "Medical Investigation," "Center of the Universe," "According to Jim," and "Ben 10" and had a small role in the remake of "Freaky Friday" (2003). She was then cast in the films "Life of the Party" (2005) and "Just Like Heaven" (2005).

Cho recently lent her voice in a November episode of the French animated television series based on the Italian comic book series, "W.I.T.C.H.," and played a recurring guest role on the HBO series "Tell Me You Love Me" (2007).


Awards:

  • Western Heritage: Bronze Wrangler - Theatrical Motion Picture, "Thousand Pieces of Gold," 1992

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