Tag Archives: canadian koreans

Sandra Oh and Father

sandra-oh1Here is Sandra Oh with her father on The Bay’s Ad for Dolce Gabana perfume.  This ad was shown in The National Post and The Globe and Mail newspapers.  The caption says:

My parents started me in dancing to correct my pigeon toes but I caught the acting bug instead. In a family of scientists, lawyer and academics, becoming an actor was a bit of a head-scratcher. But in his own way, my father understood. Thanks Dad.

This is a Dolce Gabana perfume ad, so I guess, Sandra’s dad will get perfume for Father’s day.

Few Canadians made it to Hollywood stardom, and when they do,  we like to point out their Canadian origins.  Even fewer Canadian Korean immigrants made it to Hollywood, in fact, has there been one other than Sandra Oh?

Sandra Oh was born in Nepean, Ontario, to middle-class Korean immigrant parents Joon-Soo (John) and Young-Nam, who had come to Canada in the early 1960s. Her father is a businessman and her mother a biochemist.  Oh grew up living on Camwood Crescent in the Ottawa suburb of Nepean, where she began acting and dancing ballet at an early age.

She was the only one in her family not to have a masters degree of something, so she had to try very hard to prove herself.  So, what a wonderful feeling it must be to have her dad be proud of her.  On this youtube interview of Sandra Oh by Ellen Degeneres, Sandra Oh talked about her family and their experience as Canadian immigrants.

In her youth, Sandra played the flute, took ballet lessons and acting studies.  She decided that she “was not good enough to be a professional dancer” and eventually focused on acting, and took drama classes, joined the drama club.

Against her parents’ advice, she rejected a four-year journalism scholarship to Carleton University to study drama at the prestigious National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal, paying her own way. She told her parents that she would try acting for a few years, and if that failed, will return to school. Ironically, while studying at the National Theatre School, she portrayed a waitress in the made-for-television film, School’s Out, in which her co-worker, Caitlin Ryan (Stacie Mistysyn) also considers turning down her acceptance into Carleton University’s journalism programme.

Soon after graduating from the National Theatre School in 1993, she starred in a London, Ontario stage production of David Mamet’s Oleanna. Around the same time, she won roles in biographical TV films of two significant female Chinese-Canadians: as Vancouver author Evelyn Lau in The Diary of Evelyn Lau (Oh won the role over more than 1,000 others who auditioned); and as Adrienne Clarkson in a CBC biopic of Clarkson’s life.

Oh became known in Hollywood after the movies “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Sideways”.  She is a regular on the TV hit series “Grey’s Anatomy” as Dr. Christina Yang, for which she won the 2006 Golden Globe Best supporting Actress Award.

Oh has one brother, named Ray, who works as a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University and a sister, named Grace, who works as a Crown attorney in Vancouver, British Columbia.