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Kendrick Kang-Joh "Ken" Jeong (born July 13, 1969) is an American comedian, actor and physician (internist).[1][2][3] He is best known for his roles as Ben Chang on the critically acclaimed NBC/Yahoo! sitcom Community and gangster Leslie Chow in The Hangover Trilogy. He was the lead in the ABC sitcom Dr. Ken until the show was cancelled, in which he is also the creator, writer and executive producer/director.

Early life and educationEdit

Jeong was born in Detroit to South Korean immigrants.[4][5][6] Jeong was raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, and attended Walter Hines Page High School,[7] where he took part in the Quiz Bowl team, played violin in the orchestra, and was elected to student council.[citation needed] He graduated at 16 and his achievements earned him Greensboro's Youth of the Year award.[4] Jeong graduated from Duke University in 1990 and obtained his M.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine in 1995.[3]

CareerEdit

MedicineEdit

Jeong completed his internal medicine residency at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans while developing his stand-up comedy].[8] Jeong is a licensed physician in California,[9] but is not currently practicing.

ActingEdit

Jeong won the Big Easy Laff-Off in 1995, of which NBC president Brandon Tartikoff and The Improv founder Budd Friedman were judges, and they both urged Jeong to move to Los Angeles.[10] He began performing regularly at the Improv and Laugh Factory comedy clubs. After moving to Los Angeles, he initially practiced medicine for several years as a physician at a Kaiser Permanente hospital in Woodland Hills.[11]

Jeong's background in theater and improv has led to several television appearances, including NBC's The Office, HBO's Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm. He made his film debut in Judd Apatow's Knocked Up as Dr. Kuni, which proved to be his breakout performance. From that point forward he was able to transition from medicine into a full-time career in the entertainment industry. Subsequently, he has appeared in Pineapple Express; Role Models as King Argotron; All About Steve; The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard; Couples Retreat; and as Mr. Chow in The Hangover trilogy. He co-starred in Zookeeper and Transformers: Dark of the Moon, released in summer 2011.

Jeong played Señor Ben Chang on the NBC sitcom Community and was nominated for the show's "Male Breakout Star" at the 2010 Teen Choice Awards. He was nominated for two 2010 MTV Movie Awards, winning the award for Best WTF Moment and for Best Villain for The Hangover. In fall 2010, Adidas basketball began a wide-ranging marketing campaign in which he starred as "Slim Chin", alongside NBA stars Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose. On May 22, 2011, he hosted the 2011 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on ABC[12] and was featured in a Hands Only CPR PSA campaign from the American Heart Association on June 15, 2011.[13]

Jeong won a Streamy Award for "Best Guest Appearance" for Burning Love.[14]

In 2013, he appeared in Michael Bay's Pain & Gain (2013), as Johnny Wu, a motivational speaker,[15] and returned, in a significantly expanded role, as Mr. Chow in The Hangover Part III.[16]

In an unusual, if informal, partnership, Jamie Foxx and Jeong have each agreed to star in movies written and produced by the other. Foxx has agreed to take a lead role in a new movie Jeong will produce called After Prom. Jeong will star in All-Star Weekend, a comedy Foxx is developing at his production company about two friends who find themselves fans of opposing NBA stars.[17]

In 2015, Jeong stars, writes and executive produces the pilot of his new ABC medical comedy, Dr. Ken, as a frustrated HMO doctor juggling his career, marriage and parenting, but succeeding at none of them. On May 7, 2015, the series was ordered by ABC to debut in the '15–'16 TV season.[18][19] [20]

Personal lifeEdit

Jeong's wife, Tran Ho, is Vietnamese American, a family physician and a breast cancer survivor.[21][22][23]

Jeong became engaged to Ho around 2003 or 2004. They have twin daughters (born 2008).[24]

Jeong was encouraged by his wife to quit his job as a physician and pursue acting full-time; Jeong states that "I had just finished filming Knocked Up, and it was life-changing. But I didn't have the courage to go for it until she persuaded me. Medicine is a hard-won skill, and acting can be a fickle profession, so I tried to be realistic. Now, I'm a spoiled actor. I get weekends off and hiatus weeks — time I never got as a doctor".[25]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Ancestry.com. U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 1 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, US: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
  2. Barshad, Amos (May 23, 2011). The Surprisingly Earnest Ken Jeong on the Secret Messages of The Hangover. Vulture.com. Nymag. Retrieved on March 18, 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Medical Board of California – Physician/Surgeon License.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Lopez, Robert. "Greensboro native finds funny bone in movie", News & Record, June 19, 2009. Retrieved on 2010-03-22. 
  5. Lee, Chris. "Doctor provides best medicine", The Columbus Dispatch, June 10, 2009. Retrieved on September 13, 2009. 
  6. Ken Jeong (October 4, 2015). Ken Jeong on Twitter: "@S0fak1ng83 born in Detroit, moved to NC when I was 4. My father got his PhD in Economics from Wayne State.". Retrieved on August 31, 2016.
  7. "Ken Jeong was a doctor, and now he plays one on TV", Greensboro News & Record, 1 October 2015. Retrieved on 15 December 2016. 
  8. Dr. Ken Jeong. Justforlaughs. Retrieved on July 18, 2013.
  9. State of California Department of Consumer Affairs, Physician License #65869 for Jeong, Kendrick Kang-Joh, Issued 07/01/1998, Expires 05/14/1995, DCA BreEZe License Verification
  10. 'Hangover' actor saw his career start in New Orleans -- at Ochsner. Retrieved on 2015-10-24.
  11. Ken Jeong: How to Ditch Medicine for a Career in Comedy and Diagnose Castmates (August 27, 2015). Retrieved on 8 September 2015.
  12. Far*East Movement will perform at Ken Jeong-hosted Billboard Music Awards. Asia Pacific Arts (May 12, 2011).
  13. Ken Jeong AHA Hands-Only CPR video (June 15, 2011). Retrieved on July 18, 2013.
  14. Nominations Are Announced For 3rd Annual Streamy Awards. The Streamy Awards (December 17, 2012). Retrieved on July 18, 2013.
  15. Kit, Borys. "'Community' Star Ken Jeong Joins Michael Bay's 'Pain and Gain' (Exclusive)", The Hollywood Reporter, April 5, 2012. Retrieved on July 18, 2013. 
  16. "Ken Jeong Signs on for Expanded Role in 'Hangover: Part III' (Exclusive)", The Hollywood Reporter, July 12, 2012. Retrieved on September 7, 2012. 
  17. Jamie Foxx and Ken Jeong agree to trade movies. Los Angeles Times (2012-10-10). Retrieved on July 18, 2013.
  18. ABC Orders Ken Jeong’s Comedy ‘Dr. Ken’ to Series (May 8, 2015). Retrieved on September 8, 2015.
  19. Medical Comedy Starring 'Community's' Ken Jeong Scores ABC Pilot Order. The Hollywood Reporter (2015-02-10). Retrieved on September 8, 2015.
  20. Dr. Ken Series Premiere Date Announced. ABC Go (2015-06-10). Archived from the original on September 4, 2015. Retrieved on September 8, 2015.
  21. Jeong, Ken (May 7, 2011). For My Wife, in Celebration of Mother's Day. Huffington Post.
  22. Deerwester, Jayme. "Ken Jeong transitions from doctor to in-demand jokester", USA Today, September 3, 2009. Retrieved on 18 July 2013. 
  23. Margarita (June 7, 2010). Dr. Ken Jeong Thanks Wife Dr. Tran Ho During MTV Movie Awards. Vitals. Retrieved on July 19, 2013.
  24. "For My Wife, in Celebration of Mother’s Day", The Huffington Post, 5 July 2011. Retrieved on 25 September 2016. 
  25. Yorio, Nicole. A Side of Community's Ken Jeong You Haven't Seen. Redbook.

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