John Cho

John Cho Biography

John Cho (born Cho Yo-han; June 16, 1972) is a Korean American actor and musician. He is best known as Harold Lee in the Harold & Kumar films; John (MILF Guy No. 2), who popularized the term "MILF" in the American Pie films; and Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek reboot film series. Early in his career, Cho also starred in the Asian American centered films Better Luck Tomorrow (2002), Shopping for Fangs (1997), and Yellow (1998).

On television, Cho played FBI agent Demetri Noh in the science fiction television drama FlashForward; Chau Presley on the sitcom Off Centre; Andy Brooks in the horror drama Sleepy Hollow, Henry Higgs in the 2014 sitcom Selfie, and Andrew Kim in The Exorcist.

Early life

Cho was born in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to the United States in 1978 as a young boy. He was raised in Los Angeles, where his family settled after living in Houston, Seattle, Daly City, California, and Monterey Park, California. His father was a minister in the Church of Christ, and was originally from North Korea. Cho graduated from Herbert Hoover High School, in Glendale, California, in 1990. He then attended the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1996 with a BA degree in English, and taught English at Pacific Hills School in West Hollywood, California while working at East West Players's theater in downtown Los Angeles.

Acting career

Cho began his career after graduating from Berkeley, when he moved to Los Angeles and worked with the Asian American theatre company East West Players. There, he appeared in Edward Sakamoto's The Taste of Kona Coffee in 1996, and in Euijoon Kim's movie My Tired Broke Ass Pontificating Slapstick Funk in 2000. He gained attention with a small role as "MILF Guy #2" in the 1999 comedy American Pie, in which he popularized the slang term "MILF". Cho reprised the role in three sequels: American Pie 2, American Wedding, and in the latest installment American Reunion in which he has a much larger role. The character initially had no name but he was given the name "John" in the third film, named after Cho himself.

He had a successful starring role as Harold Lee in 2004's Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and reprised the role in 2008's Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, which raked in $38 million at the theaters, and again in 2011's A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas which made $35 million. Cho's role in the popular franchise was written specifically for him by Hayden Schlossberg, and Cho has recounted that when Schlossberg first approached him with the role, he was initially suspicious.

Cho guest-starred on Charmed as a ghost in 1998 and was one of the stars of the short-lived situation comedy Off Centre in 2001–2002. He was a costar of the now-defunct Fox sitcom Kitchen Confidential based on Anthony Bourdain's best-selling book. He had supporting roles in Evolution, a sci-fi comedy directed by Ivan Reitman, Down to Earth, starring Chris Rock, and Bowfinger, with Steve Martin.

In 2002, he had a starring role in the ensemble cast of Justin Lin's Better Luck Tomorrow, a drama focusing on the travails of a group of Asian Americans living in Southern California who are academically successful but socially discontented, and as a result engage in wantonly violent, criminal behavior. It was well received by critics, with the New York Times's Elvis Mitchell describing Cho's character's "lazy magnetism of which he is charmingly aware." Later that year, the movie Big Fat Liar was released, in which Cho played a Hong Kong-based movie director. He refused to do the accent scripted for his character. The director worked with him to re-develop the role.

Cho appeared on July 2004 issue of KoreAm Journal and in September 2006 was cast in NBC's new comedy The Singles Table, but the series never aired due to changes in scheduling and production. In 2006 and again in 2009, Cho was selected as one of the sexiest men alive in People Magazine.

In 2007, Cho was added to the cast of Ugly Betty as a recurring character. Cho plays Kenny, a best friend of accountant Henry Grubstick (played by Christopher Gorham). Cho played helmsman Hikaru Sulu in J. J. Abrams's feature film Star Trek. Manohla Dargis of The New York Times praised him, along with Anton Yelchin, Chris Pine, and Zachary Quinto, for making their roles "ultimately and rather wonderfully their own".

Cho appeared in Nas' "Be a Nigger Too" music video along with various celebrities, and had a guest appearance on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, in the episode "I'm Not That Guy" where he played a partner in an evil law firm. Of the latter, Staci Krause of IGN, wrote that Cho was "the scene stealer in this episode" and that she would "definitely like to see more of him" in the series.

From 2009 to 2010, Cho starred in the television series FlashForward as FBI Special Agent Demetri Noh. His character was originally slated to be killed off during what turned out to be the show's only season, but after his turn as Sulu in Star Trek boosted his popularity, the producers revised the show's storyline so that he survived, in an attempt to boost declining ratings.

He starred as Henry Higgs in the short-lived sitcom Selfie, a retooling of the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, becoming a rare Asian-American romantic male lead in American television.

Musical career

He is the lead singer for Viva La Union (formerly known as Left of Zed), a Los Angeles garage rock band composed of former Berkeley and USC students. They have one album, self-titled, while their song "Chinese Baby" is featured on the Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay soundtrack.

Being an Asian American in Hollywood

Cho has indicated he has found freedom in being Harold in the Harold and Kumar films because the stoner character goes against the grain of Asian Americans onscreen. He has said he has experienced racism throughout his career in Hollywood and that he tries to take roles that do not perpetuate Asian stereotypes.

When asked to do an Asian accent for Big Fat Liar, Cho refused. "I don"?t want to do this role in a kid"?s comedy, with an accent, because I don"?t want young people laughing at an accent inadvertently"?, he wrote. In a 2015 tweet he said, "Stop turning Asian roles white. It's bullshit and we all know it." On being the first Asian to play a romantic lead on a U.S. television series, he described it as being "revolutionary"? and a "personal revolution"? for him because of its uniqueness in Hollywood. "Asians narratively in shows are insignificant. They"?re the cop, or waitress, or whatever it is. You see them in the background. So to be in this position ... is bit of a landmark,"? he has said on the inability of Asians getting offered such roles.

Personal life

Cho married actress Kerri Higuchi in 2006 and has a son, born in 2008, and a daughter, born in 2013. As of at least 2015, reside in Los Angeles, California. He supported the 2012 re-election campaign of Democratic U.S President Barack Obama.

He is very close to his father, a former preacher, and would like to play a role in the story of his father's generation in North Korea when growing up through the Korean War in times of hardships. In a tweet he said, "Dear Dad: sometimes I need advice, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I am just telling you stuff. Thanks. Love you." He is acquainted with other fellow Korean actors, such as Daniel Dae Kim, Sandra Oh, and his "hero" Margaret Cho.



Year Title Role Notes
1997 Wag the Dog Aide #3
1997 Shopping for Fangs Clarence
1998 Yellow Joey
1999 American Beauty Sale House Man #1
1999 Bowfinger Nightclub Cleaner
1999 American Pie MILF Guy #2
2000 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas Parking valet
2001 Delivering Milo Mr. Hugo
2001 American Pie 2 John (MILF Guy #2)
2001 Evolution Student
2001 Down to Earth Phil Quon
2001 Pavilion of Women Fengmo Wu
2002 Better Luck Tomorrow Steve Choe
2002 Solaris DBA Emissary #1
2002 Big Fat Liar Dustin Wong
2003 American Wedding John
2004 In Good Company Petey
2004 Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle Harold Lee
2004 See This Movie Larry Finkelstein
2006 American Dreamz Frank Ittles
2006 Bickford Shmeckler's Cool Ideas Tom
2007 West 32nd John Kim
2007 Smiley Face Mike
2008 Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist Hype Man
2008 Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay Harold Lee Nominated-MTV Movie Award for Best Musical Performance (with Kal Penn)
Nominated-MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Team (with Kal Penn)
Nominated-Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Rockstar Moment
2008 Harold & Kumar Go to Amsterdam Short film
2009 Star Trek Hikaru Sulu Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cast
Nominated-Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
2009 Saint John of Las Vegas Carnival Human Torch
2011 A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas Harold Lee
2012 American Reunion John
2012 Total Recall Bob McClane
2013 Identity Thief Daniel Casey
2013 Star Trek Into Darkness Hikaru Sulu
2015 Zipper EJ
2015 Grandma Chau
2016 Get a Job Brian Bender
2016 Star Trek Beyond Hikaru Sulu
2017 Columbus Jin
2017 Gemini Detective Edward Ahn
2017 Literally, Right Before Aaron Mark


Year Title Role Episodes
1997 The Jeff Foxworthy Show Pizza Delivery Man Episode: "Twister of Fate"
1998 Felicity Larry Episode: "The Last Stand"
1998 Charmed Mark Chao Episode: "Dead Man Dating"
2001–2002 Off Centre Chau Presley 28 episodes
2002 The Jamie Kennedy Experiment Himself 1 episode
2003 Kim Possible Hirotaka Episode: "Exchange"
2005 The Men's Room Bob 4 episodes
2005 House M.D. Harvey Park Episode: "Love Hurts"
2005–2006 Kitchen Confidential Teddy Wong 10 episodes
2006 Grey's Anatomy Marshall Stone Episode: "Damage Case"
2006–2013 American Dad! Vince Chung 4 episodes
2007 How I Met Your Mother Jefferson Coatsworth Episode: "I'm Not That Guy"
2007 Ugly Betty Kenny 3 episodes
2007 'Til Death Lucas Bender Episode: "Come Out and Play"
2008 Hollywood Residential Himself Episode: "It Happens"
2009–2010 FlashForward Demetri Noh 22 episodes
2010 Childrens Hospital Park Episode: "Frankfurters. Allman Brothers. Death. Frankfurters"
2011 30 Rock Lorne Episode: "Double-Edged Sword"
2011 NTSF:SD:SUV:: Chip Episode: "The Birthday Part That Was Neither"
2012–2013 Go On Steven 22 episodes
2013–2014 Sleepy Hollow Andy Brooks 7 episodes
2014 Selfie Henry Higgs Main Cast
2015 BoJack Horseman Lead Improv-er Episode: "Yes And"
2015 The Mindy Project Big Murder Episode: "Lahiri Family Values"
2016 New Girl Daniel Episode: "Jury Duty"
2016 House of Lies Sean Chew Episode: "Holacracy"
2016 Drunk History William Shakespeare Episode: "Landmarks"
2016 The Hindenburg Explodes! Reggie Pilot
2017 Difficult People Todd Ross 2 episodes
2017 The Exorcist Andrew Kim

Web series

Year Title Role Notes
2015 Parallel Man: Infinite Pursuit Agent Nick Morgan Voice role

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2013 Star Trek Hikaru Sulu Voice and likeness

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "John_Cho" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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