Name at birth: Kwan Ka Shen
Nancy Kwan was a ballet dancer in London before she made her acting debut in the hit movie The World of Suzie Wong (1960, with William Holden). Her second movie, Flower Drum Song (1961), was also a critical and popular success, and Kwan became internationally famous as Hollywood's first Eurasian female star. Kwan grew up in Hong Kong, the daughter of a British model and a Chinese architect. She studied dance in England as a teenager and spent four years with the Royal Ballet in London. After her first two movies, her career tapered off a bit, but Kwan continued to work steadily in features, often in light comedies such as Lt. Robin Crusoe, USN (1966, with Dick Van Dyke), Arrivederci, Baby (1968, starring Tony Curtis) and The Wrecking Crew (1970, starring Dean Martin). She also ran her own production company in Hong Kong in the 1970s. Kwan has since acted on stage, made many guest appearances on TV, and appeared in cosmetics infomercials.