Asia Society Southern California to Honor George Takei and ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Director Jon M. Chu
Hong Kong entrepreneur Ronnie C. Chan to be honored as a “Philanthropic Visionary;” Asia Society Southern California Chairman Emeritus Thomas E. McLain to receive “Asia Society Leadership Award”
Star Trek actor George Takei and Jon M. Chu, director of the upcoming comedy Crazy Rich Asians, from Warner Bros. Pictures and SK Global Entertainment, will be honored by Asia Society Southern California on April 22 for breaking barriers in Hollywood.
Hong Kong philanthropist Ronnie C. Chan and Asia Society Southern California Trustee Emeritus Thomas E. McLain will also be honored at ASSC’s Annual Gala Dinner, which will take place at the Skirball Cultural Center.
Takei, one of television’s pioneering Asian-American actors, will be recognized as an “Arts and Social Justice Visionary” on the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek’s debut. Imprisoned with his family in a World War II internment camp, Takei has raised awareness about injustices against Japanese Americans and championed other causes, including immigrant and LGBTQ rights and marriage equality, in the fight for an inclusive society. He has paved the way for Asian-American actors in a career spanning television, film, radio and new media – not to mention Broadway. Takei made his stage debut in 2015 in Allegiance, a musical inspired by his life, and is currently reprising his role in the play’s Los Angeles run.
Chu will receive the “Film Diversity Award” for the highly anticipated Crazy Rich Asians, opening nationwide on August 17. Based on Kevin Kwan’s bestselling 2013 novel, the film stars an international cast led by Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, and Awkwafina, with Ken Jeong, and Michelle Yeoh. Chu has previously directed Now You See Me 2, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and Step Up 2.
“We are thrilled to celebrate genuine Hollywood game changers at an important moment for Asian Americans,” said Janet Yang, Vice Chair of Asia Society Southern California and producer of 1993’s The Joy Luck Club, which had an Asian-led cast. “George broke into primetime television 50 years ago in the original Star Trek, and 25 years after the first studio-backed movie with an all-Asian cast, the arrival of a second – Jon’s Crazy Rich Asians – is long overdue.”
Ronnie Chan, who recently completed his tenure as Global Co-Chair of Asia Society’s Board of Trustees, will be honored as a “Philanthropic Visionary” for leading by example to develop a new ethos of giving in Asia. As Chan built Hong Kong’s Hang Lung Group into a world-class real-estate developer, he also spearheaded efforts to further educational causes, restore historical sites, including Beijing’s Forbidden City, and founded the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society. A civic and business leader in Hong Kong and China, Chan is nevertheless an Angeleno at heart. He received his MBA from the University of Southern California in 1976 and has served as a Trustee since 1995. In 2014, Chan and his wife, Barbara, pledged $20 million to USC's pioneering occupational science and therapy program.
Asia Society Southern California Trustee Emeritus Thomas E. McLain will receive the “Asia Society Leadership Award.” McLain has worked to connect the U.S. and Asia as an attorney, investment banker and private-equity investor. He is currently senior counsel at international law firm Hogan Lovells, where he brings more than 40 years of expertise in Asia to a practice that focuses on complex international and domestic business transactions and international corporate counseling. A Japanese speaker, McLain began his career as a foreign law trainee at Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu in Tokyo in 1974.
“Ronnie has been a game-changing leader of the global Asia Society and a driving force behind philanthropy from Asia, and Tom has dynamically led Asia Society Southern California for more than a decade,” said Dick Drobnick, Chairman of Asia Society Southern California. “It has been a privilege to work with both.”
The Annual Gala Dinner is Asia Society Southern California's most prestigious annual event, attended by some 400 leaders in business, media, philanthropy, civic affairs, and academia. Each year, the dinner features some of the world’s foremost leaders in U.S. and Asian affairs. Asian-American actor and Los Angeles native Kara Wang will emcee the dinner.