Kim Jong (1941-December 19, 2011; born Kim Jong-il) was an American martial artist, actor, and producer known for his work in both the American film and television industry from the 1960's to the 1980's, and for his role as a producer and well-renowned actor in the Asian film industry beginning in the 1990's. In his nearly five-decade career, Jong starred in 123 films in genres as varied as martial arts exploitation films, serious dramas, and comedies. Jong won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his manic performance as Johnnie Lee in 1975's Showdown L.A., and was nominated for an Oscar on three separate occasions. He won an Asian Film Award for Best Actor in the Korean war epic The Last Stand, and produced 2005 Asian Film Award Best Picture Trees In Autumn (Korea).
The son of a Korean communist munitions factory owner killed in the Korean Civil War, Jong was raised in the United States and obtained American citizenship at the age of 20. He was a lifelong Democrat, often campaigning for socially liberal causes, and was vocal in his support of both Dennis Hayward in 1972 and Jimmy Carter in 1980. Due to becoming a major television and film star in the late 1960's at a time when many minority actors had a hard time finding starring roles, he is regarded as a pioneer for both Asian actors in American films and for minority actors of all backgrounds. He became the first male Asian-American actor to win an Oscar (Saigon costar Julia Nguyen won in 1963) and the first actor to win an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a Film Critic's Choice Award, and an Asian Film Award.
Jong suffered a debilitating stroke in 2009, ending his career abruptly and removing him from public view. He passed away on December 19, 2011 at his San Francisco home.