Daniel Dae Kim, 52, has emerged as one of show business’ most active players, at unimaginable tiers both on screen and off.
We locals best know him from his role as Jin-Soo Kwon in ABC’s “Lost” and more recently as Chin Ho Kelly in CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0.” Both were filmed in Hawaii, establishing Kim as a powerhouse figure, and giving him island roots in the process.
Since then, he’s been all over the map –a man of all reasons.
I saw him several years ago, portraying the King of Siam, in Lincoln Theatre’s award-winning Broadway musical, the beloved “King and I.” He also did a stint in London.
After “Five-0,” he distinguished himself as a TV producer-actor via his 3AD production company, tapping a Korean drama and retrofitting the storyline to America in ABC’s “The Good Doctor,” still on the air.
He’s been a TV figure for an incredible 35 years now, a rarity among Asian Americans in an industry favoring mostly white, and more recently black, thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Of Korean descent, he’s become perhaps the most visible face and voice of the current Asian American hate front, speaking with clarity and earnest about the hate crimes that have targeted innocent Asians in racially motivated physical attacks.
No wonder he’s been tagged as The Diplomat, in an April interview in New York magazine’s The Culture Pages, where he discussed his zeal to combat inequities in salaries. Perhaps the most successful alumni of the “Five-0” cast, he (joined by colleague Grace Park, who played Kono Kalakaua) walked away from the show in protest of paychecks smaller than their two other white leads, Alex McLoughlin and Scott Caan, in a situation where the four actors were, in reality, an ensemble.
As a producer, Kim is quoted, “Now, whenever I develop a show, I specify right off the top what ethnicity the lead is,” making salaries tantamount to intention.
He will have the lead role of Matthew Ryker in National Geographic Channel’s “The Hot Zone: Anthrax.”
His credits are vast and varied. He played Ben Daimio in “Hellboy,” has a recurring role in NBC’s “New Amsterdam” as Dr. Cassian Shin.
He was heard but not seen in the animated “She-Ra and the Princess of Power” and “Raya and the Last Dragon.” And he’s been filming episodes—not yet released — of the animated “Pantheon,” portraying David. Gamers may know him from a series of video games.
And that’s “Show Biz.” …