Name:
Sandra Oh
Birth Date:
November 30, 1970
Birth Place:
Nepean, Ontario, Canada
Height:
5' 6
Nationality:
Canadian
Famous for:
Her role as Rita Wu on the HBO sitcom Arli$$ (1996-2002)
Profession:
actress
Education:
Sir Robert Borden High School in Nepean, Ontario
BIOGRAPHY
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A Fragile Bunch

Background:

"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

Winner of double Canadian Genie Awards for Best Actress, Sandra Oh received applause while starring in the Canadian films Double Happiness (1994) and Last Night (1999). The Korean descendant actress later gained recognition in America after portraying playful Rita Wu (1996-2002) on the HBO's comedy series, Arli$$.

Currently, Sandra Oh is involved in ABC's new medical drama, Grey's Anatomy, in which she plays the lead role of Dr. Christina Yang. Her recent film work includes Long Life, Happiness, and Prosperity (2002), Rick (2003), Sideways (2004), and Hard Candy (2005).

On the personal front, the Canadian actress is reported to have filed for divorce from her husband, the Oscar winning director Alexander Payne (Sideways). One source stated, "They have been together for five years and were married in 2003. The couple will remain friends."


Communal Kitchen

Childhood and Family:

"And on a Canadian set, everybody is equal. You get paid the same. You live together in barracks. You have a communal kitchen. You buy and cook your own food." Sandra Oh

Canadian actress Sandra Oh was born on November 30, 1970, to Korean parents. She was born and raised in the Ottawa small town of Nepean, Ontario, Canada and started ballet lessons when she was four years old.

While studying at Sir Robert Borden High School in Nepean, Sandra was an avid theater member and Honor Roll student, and excelled at a citywide contest, the High School Improv Games, in 1988. She was also active in the Student Council and was voted Head Girl (co-president) in her senior year. Other activities included volleyball, cross-country skiing and being a pioneer for the Borden Active Students for the Environment organization. Following her graduation, Sandra enrolled with the National Theatre School of Canada, in Montreal.

On January 1, 2003, Sandra Oh tied the knot with writer-director Alexander Payne, but they separated on March 12, 2005. The couple filed for divorce on April 15, 2005. There are no children involved.


Double Happiness

Career:

Acting since she was ten years old, Sandra was seen in several Canadian plays (her foremost play was The Canada Goose) and commercials. She later landed a job in the 29-minute film, The Journey Home (1989). After acting in the series Denim Blues (1989), she worked on her acting skills at Montreal's National Theatre School of Canada and performed on stage in Peter Hinton's The Witch of Edmonton. In 1993, Sandra was handed the lead role of troubled teenager Evelyn Lau in the CBC life story drama, The Diary of Evelyn Lau, which netted her a Cannes FIPA d'Or for Best Actress. In that year, Sandra also starred in the CBC biography movie, Adrienne Clarkson Presents.

The portrayal of lively, 20-something Chinese/Canadian Jade Li, in Mina Shum's drama, Double Happiness (1994), was Sandra's breakout role. Her brilliant acting work received critical acclaim and earned her a Genie Award for Best Actress. In the following years, Sandra was seen in the short film Prey and in the CBS TV movie, Cagney & Lacey: The View Through the Glass Ceiling (both in 1995). She also returned on stage, starring in David Mamet's Oleanna at the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario, Canada (1995) and in the Toronto production Inquest (1996).

Sandra broke in to the America's film scene in 1996. She nabbed the lead role of lighthearted assistant Rita Wu on the HBO's long-running comedy, Arli$$ (1996-2002), which handed her a Cable ACE award for Best Actress in a Comedy. Meanwhile, she also played bit parts in Bad Day On the Block (1997, thriller) and the hit comedy Bean (also 1997).

In 1998, Sandra flew back to Canada to star in Don McKellar's comedy-drama about the end of the world, the acclaimed Last Night (USA, 1999). Cast as a woman who tries to embark on a suicidal pact with her husband, Sandra received her second Genie Award for her character. Afterwards, Sandra appeared in the European film, Francois Girard's acclaimed feature Le Violon rouge (The Red Violin, 1998), as well as the American films Permanent Midnight (1998) and Guinevere (1999).

Always a stage performer, Sandra performed in Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters at San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse and in Diana Son's off-Broadway production of Stop Kiss at Joseph Papp's Public Theatre in New York, the latter of which handed her a Theater World Award for her performance (both in 1998). She also provided her voice to the Three Little Pigs sequel, in HBO's animated series, Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child (1999) and was handed a recurring role on the WB's teen soap, Popular.

The new millennium saw Sandra in such films as the mysterious psychological drama Waking the Dead (2000, starring Billy Crudup and Jennifer Connelly) and in Garry Marshall's comedy The Princess Diaries (2001). She also teamed with Daryl Hannah, Jennifer Tilly, Charlotte Ayanna and Sheila Kelley as one of the exotic dancers who loves to write poetry in Michael Radford's drama, Dancing at the Blue Iguana (2001), which nabbed her a Best Performance award at the Milan Film Festival in 2001. Audrey Wells then cast her to work with Diane Lane and Raoul Bova in her drama film, Under the Tuscan Sun (2003).

More recent, Sandra received recognition after costarring with Paul Giamatti in Alexander Payne's adaptation of Rex Pickett's novel, the adventure drama comedy Sideways, in which she portrayed free-spirited wine pourer Stephanie. She also played roles in Curtiss Clayton's Wall Street drama Rick (alongside Bill Pullman), Mina Shum's family drama Long Life, Happiness, and Prosperity (with Valerie Tan), and David Slade's thriller drama Hard Candy (opposite Patrick Wilson). On the small screen, Sandra joined Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey in ABC's new medical drama, Grey's Anatomy.

Sandra is currently busy filming such upcoming films as Thom Fitzgerald's drama 3 Needles, Jeff Stanzler's Untitled Post-9/11 Cab Drama, and Nisha Ganatra's romantic comedy Cake. She will also share the screen with Robin Williams in Patrick Stettner's adaptation of Armistead Maupin's novel, the drama mystery, The Night Listener.


Awards:

  • Theatre World, Stop Kiss, 1999

  • Genie Award, Best Actress, Last Night, 1998

  • Cable ACE: Best Actress in a Comedy, Arli$$, 1997

  • Cannes FIPA d'Or: Best Actress, The Diary of Evelyn Lau, 1994

  • Genie Award: Best Actress, Double Happiness, 1994

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