The dilemma for Anna May Wong was increasingly obvious. Despite her triumph in The Thief of Bagdad and continued good reviews in mediocre productions, her career was stalled in Hollywood. True, she was now a staple in movie magazines, with full-page spreads appearing regularly. But her chances of moving up from supporting or featured player to star were improbable. Production codes against interracial kissing meant that she could not graduate to star billing, even in films with Orientalist themes. Rather, she had to watch as less talented white women took the roles that might have given her more fame, and at least more sympathetic parts. Despite her great beauty, she was cast as a prostitute, an opium dealer, or simply as insignificant color. Her final scenes featured suicide by knife or death by overdose of opium.
Anna May Wong:From Laundryman’s Daughter to Hollywood Legend(Graham Russell Gao Hodges)