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“I was so desperate for a job”: Oscar Winner Ke Huy Quan Nearly Changed His Birth Name to Get Into Hollywood Before Making Triumphant Comeback After Nearly Retiring from Acting

ke huy quan

Ke Huy Quan was overjoyed when he was called out by his birth name at the Oscars on March 12 to fetch his well-deserved trophy on stage. And given how he’d almost changed his name at the beginning of his Hollywood career, the moment was all the more special for him.

Ke Huy Quan
Ke Huy Quan at the 95th Academy Awards

The Everything Everywhere All at Once star witnessed his very first Oscar-win at the 95th Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor. After hitting such a monumental milestone in his career, Quan was overcome with emotion when he was chatting away with reporters in the press room next to the Dolby Theatre. Taking a trip down memory lane, the Vietnamese-American actor and stunt choreographer recalled his early days in the film industry as he opened up about the plights of his journey and the delight of conquering them.

Related: “Mom, I just won an Oscar”: Ke Huy Quan Breaks the Internet With First Ever Oscar for Everything Everywhere All at Once at 95th Academy Awards

Ke Huy Quan Almost Had His Name Changed to Save His Career

Ke Huy Quan started off his career as a young actor in the film industry at the innocent age of 12. But even after appearing in popular movies like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies, to list a few, Quan’s path hadn’t been free of hindrances. So, when things started to get “really tough,” his manager coaxed him to change his real name to one that sounded more American.

“When I started as a kid, it was my real name, Ke Huy Quan, and then I remember, when it got really tough, my manager told me that, ‘Maybe it will be easier if you were to have an American-sounding name.” 

Ke Huy Quan
Ke Huy Quan was emotional after winning his first-ever Oscar

In some of the early projects that he partook in like Encino Man and Breathing Fire, the Oscar winner wasn’t credited as Ke Huy Quan but as Jonathan Quan/Jonathan Ke Quan instead. And while talking about it in the press room, the actor dwelled on how he was willing to try out just about anything to make things work out.

“I was so desperate for a job that I would do anything. And it’s insane that … I would try a different name — not the name that was given to me — but it can only show you how desperate I was to try and try and try to make things different.”

But standing on the grand stage at Dolby on Sunday evening and receiving an Academy Award for his relentless dedication and hard work, and that too, by his birth name, Quan couldn’t be any happier about it.

Related: “Nobody wants to hire me”: Everything Everywhere All at Once Star Ke Huy Quan Lost His Health Insurance After Hollywood Rejected Him, Made Epic Comeback With Brendan Fraser to Prove Everyone Wrong

Ke Huy Quan Was Exhilarated After His Birth Name Was Called Out at Oscars 2023

While reminiscing about his early days, Quan further revealed how the first thing he had in mind after getting back into acting was to go back to his birth name. And after Ariana DeBose used his real name on stage to announce his win, the 51-year-old actor couldn’t be more glad about his decision. He also mentioned his mother as he expressed gratitude toward her and all that she’d done for him.

Related: Everything Everywhere All at Once Star Ke Huy Quan Inspires Struggling Actors Trying To Make it Big in Hollywood: “Please keep going, the spotlight will one day find you”

Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All At Once
Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All At Once

“When I decided to get back into acting … the very first thing that I wanted to do was to go back to my birth-given name. And tonight, to see Ariana [DeBose] open that envelope and say, ‘Ke Huy Quan’ … I was so emotional. The first image that I had in my mind was my mom … who is the reason why I am in America, was the reason why I have a better life. I have all these opportunities. … She sacrificed so much.” 

Regardless of who won and who lost on Sunday, one thing’s for sure – Quan truly deserved that Oscar.

Source: LA Times

Written by Khushi Shah

An author at FandomWire, an abnormal psychology student, and an avid reader of dark fiction, I love to read and write and have been indulging in the same for years.