Date of Birth
Yuen Long District, Hong Kong S.A.R.Edit page
Tzi Ma (born June 10, 1962) is a Hong Kong-American actor. He has appeared in television shows including The Man in the High Castle and 24, and films including Dante's Peak, Rush Hour, Rush Hour 3, Arrival, The Farewell, Tigertail, and Mulan. In 2021, he starred in the American martial arts television series Kung Fu on The CW.
Ma was born in Hong Kong, the youngest of seven children. In 1949, Ma's father moved to Hong Kong following the Chinese Communist Revolution, and then to the United States when Ma was five years old, following political turmoil in Hong Kong.
Ma grew up in New York, where his parents ran the American Chinese restaurant, Ho Wah, in Staten Island. According to Ma, immigration activist Lau Sing Kee had previously operated the restaurant. He found his love for acting when he played Buffalo Bill in an elementary school production of Annie Get Your Gun.
Ma has deep ties to the theatre. He cites Mako's performance in Pacific Overtures in 1976 as a major influence on his acting career. He is close friends with playwright David Henry Hwang, having collaborated with him on several plays, such as FOB, Yellow Face, Flower Drum Song, and The Dance and the Railroad, throughout the years and starring in the film, Golden Gate (1993), which was written by Hwang. Ma started professionally acting in 1973 through experimental theater.
At that time, he was in a residency at Nassau Community College studying acting and teaching movement. His first theatre performance was in 1975 at an outdoor theater in Roosevelt State Park as the Monkey King in a stage adaptation of a Beijing opera titled, Monkey King in the Yellow Stone King. He estimated that there were about 5 to 10 thousand audience members in attendance.
Ma also practiced martial arts prior to doing film work. He leveraged those skills in his film debut as Jimmy Lee in Cocaine Cowboys (1979).
Rush Hour as Consul Han