Toshia Mori (Toshia Mori)

Toshia Mori

Toshia Mori began her film career in the late 1920s in silent films as a teenager. In Mr. Wu (1927) she was credited as Toshia Ichioka. In Streets of Shanghai (1927), she was credited as Toshiye Ichioka. In The Man Without a Face she was also credited as Toshiye Ichioka. (The film is presumed lost.) Finally, she entered the sound era as Toshia Mori. She played Miss Ling, in The Hatchet Man (1932). In the same year, she played another Chinese character, “Butterfly”, in Roar of the Dragon, an action-melodrama produced by David O. Selznick. The storyline consisted of a group of Occidentals turning to an alcoholic riverboat captain Chauncey Carson (Richard Dix) for help when they are trapped at a hotel in a Mandarin town under siege. In 1932, Toshia Mori became the only Asian and non-Caucasian actress to be selected as a WAMPAS Baby Star, an annual list of young and promising film actresses. The whole WAMPAS jamboree may have actually led to the most significant film role of her career. For shortly afterwards, she was in Frank Capra’s film The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933), playing a role which was scheduled for Anna May Wong at first. The story involved the erotically charged relationship between a missionary (Barbara Stanwyck) and a Chinese warlord (Nils Asther). The script also featured a vital character, “Mah-Li”, a concubine whose scheming throws a spanner into the plots and plans of those around her. Capra and Columbia Pictures, both extremely happy with her work, awarded her third billing. The final icing on the cake may have come from Time magazine’s review: “Stanwyck is satisfactory … but the most noteworthy female member of the cast is Toshia Mori, a sloe-eyed Japanese girl…”

Toshia Mori returned to minor characters in her subsequent films, in The Painted Veil (1934), starring Greta Garbo, she materializes as the centerpiece of “The Moon Festival” sequence. In Chinatown Squad (1935) she played “Wanda”. In the 1930s, she married a Chinese-American from San Francisco, Allen Jung. In Charlie Chan on Broadway in 1937. Lee (Keye Luke) gets himself hooked up with Ling Tse (Toshia Mori), pert employee of the Hottentot Club. After her film career ended, Mori worked as a researcher for Robert Ripley on his short films, Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Toshia Mori died in The Bronx, New York, aged 83. She is interred at the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.

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Born

  • January, 01, 1912
  • Kyoto, Japan

Died

  • November, 26, 1995
  • USA
  • The Bronx, New York

Cemetery

  • Woodlawn Cemetery
  • Bronx, New York
  • USA

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