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Alumna explores impact of Asian American Hollywood icon

Before Anna May Wong became one of 20 women chosen for a new series of U.S. quarters, Shirley Lim ’90 felt she was “toiling away in obscurity” studying and writing about the actress’ life.

Now Lim’s research has been featured in two PBS documentaries, she’s been interviewed by NPR, she appeared as a guest on the Mobituaries podcast and her book on Wong was featured in The New York Times. She’s also in the process of writing a mass market book about the life of Wong, the first Asian American actress to gain acclaim in film and television.

“Now you can go anywhere you spend cash and literally hold her in your hand,” Lim said of the coins. “The (Los Angeles) Times had a beautiful story after the coin came out, with little children in LA being shown the coin and being excited to see someone who looks like them.”

Lim visited campus in October to offer a talk as part of Cornell Cinema’s celebration of Wong and her work. Lim’s most recent book is “Anna May Wong: Performing the Modern.” 

Read the full story about Lim on The College of Arts & Sciences website.

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