Daniel Dae Kim: AAPI Heritage Month Actor Highlights

At the beginning of AAPI Heritage Month, we highlight activist and veteran actor Daniel Dae Kim.

Chuck Walton

By Chuck Walton

Daniel Dae Kim AAPI Heritage Month Stowaway

© Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

He's starred in movies and tv shows for 30 years. And he's rightfully been at the forefront of activism against Asian hate. We're honored to celebrate actor, producer, and activist Daniel Dae Kim for AAPI Heritage Month.

How You Know Him

He's appeared in over 25 films, including Disney's animated "Raya and the Last Dragon" and Netflix's sci-fi hit "Stowaway."

© Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

© Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

He's also shown up in nearly 50 tv projects. Main roles included characters on "Lost" and "Hawaii 5-0." Recurring roles included parts on "The Good Doctor" and "New Amsterdam."

Most recently, he's been a leading light in the fight against Asian hate. He's appealed to Congress for support. He posted this quote from Bruce Lee on Instagram. "I think of myself as a human being, because under the sky we are but one family, it just so happens we look different."

His Life So Far

The actor was born in South Korea but moved to the US when he was one year old. He grew up in New York and Pennsylvania. He graduated Haverford College with a bachelor's degree in theater and political science, and earned an MFA from NYU in acting in the mid '90s.

Throughout the decade, Kim appeared in episodes of popular tv shows including "Beverly Hills, 90210," "Seinfeld, "NYPD Blue," "Ally McBeal," and "Party of Five." At the same time, he had small roles in movies like "The Jackal" and "For Love of the Game."

During the '00s, Kim rocketed to stardom as one of the main characters on the tv blockbuster "Lost," playing the reserved, heroic Jin-Soo Kwon. For the role, he had to relearn the Korean language, which he had spoken only infrequently.

When "Lost" ended, Kim transitioned immediately into another successful role on the hit revival of "Hawaii 5-0." The actor left the series in 2017 after a contract dispute, hoping to earn as much as co-stars Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan.

The actor has been prominent in the cturrent fight against Asian hate crimes. He partnered with filmmaker Daniel Wu to offer $25,000 for information that would lead to arrests for attacks against older Asian-Americans in San Francisco.

Daniel Dae Kim remains a strong advocate for the AAPI community within Hollywood. Besides seeking equal pay on "Hawaii 5-0," Kim talked to "Lost" producers about Asian stereotypes, and fought for "The Good Doctor" to have an Asian lead.

The Movie to Watch

While Kim's role in the Netflix sci-fi space drama thriller "Stowaway" is a must-see, we're recommending Disney's "Raya and the Last Dragon" which is in many ways a classic animated adventure. It also does an awesome job creating representation for another culture. In the movie, Daniel Dae Kim provides the strong voice of Raya's father, Chief Benja.

© Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

© Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Raya and the Last Dragon Poster

Raya and the Last Dragon



March 5, 2021

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What's Next

Nothing's been announced yet for movies, but Kim has tv shows "The Hot Zone: Anthrax" and "Pantheon" in the works. In the meantime, check out "Raya" and "Stowaway."

Chuck Walton

Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango, Movies.com, MediaTrip, Hollywood.com and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.

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