Conrad Yama

Conrad Yama Brief Biography

Conrad Yama born Kiyoshi Conrad Hamanaka, October 8, 1919 - March 10, 2010, was an Asian American theatre, film and television actor.

Born in Fresno California, Yama's first major credits were television appearances in Asian specific roles. In New York, he made his first appearance on Broadway in the original production of Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Flower Drum Song as Dr. Li, and understudying Keye Luke's character. It was a significant musical due to being one of the first instances of Asian characters being played by Asians, whereas white actors in Asian makeup was the norm, such as in The King and I. Later Broadway credits included the musicals I Had a Ball, Plenty, and Pacific Overtures where he played a trio of roles. Yama auditioned for the role of Mr. Oshira, an elderly English speaking Okinawan craftsman in the musical Lovely Ladies, Kind Gentlemen. The part eventually went to David Thomas, a white actor. Off-Broadway, Yama originated roles in Plenty during its pre-Broadway run, and in Frank Chin's Year of the Dragon.

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