June 20, 2024

Rae Dawn ChongĀ (born February 28, 1961; Age: 63 years) is a legendary Canadian-American actress. The actress debuted on the big screen in 1978 with Stony Island. Later, she featured in Quest for Fire, for which she won the Best Actress Genie Award. She is the daughter of comedian and actor Tommy Chong and has acted in several movies.

Early Life & Education

Rae Dawn was raised by her African-American mother and her father, who was of mixed Scottish-Irish and Chinese-Canadian descent. Rae Dawn was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She grew up in Vancouver and then relocated to Los Angeles, where she became part of the comedic team Cheech & Chong, thanks to her father’s success as a nightclub comedian. 

In the 1970s, they were well-known for their drug-addled routine and stoner personas, and they starred in several successful films. Due to issues arising from her mixed lineage in her teens, Chong was transferred to an Ojai, California, boarding school, where she started her career in entertainment. Her upbringing and mixed heritage had a part in her career in Hollywood.

Career

Rae Dawn Chong began her television career in 1974, debuting with Disney’s “The Whiz Kid and the Riddle at Riverton.” Although almost cast in the sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes,” the role ultimately went to Janet Jackson. Her entrance into feature films occurred in 1978 with “Stony Island,” an urban drama set on Chicago’s South Side.

The turning point in Chong’s career came in 1981 with “Quest for Fire,” a prehistoric adventure directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. Filmed across Scotland, Kenya, and Alberta, Canada, the movie garnered significant media attention upon its early 1982 release.

However, Chong faced challenges in her subsequent projects, including the breakdancing drama “Beat Street” in 1984, Alan Rudolph’s “Choose Me,” “Fear City,” and “Playboy.” In 1985, she became a subject of discussion when Mick Jagger selected her for a 90-minute video accompanying his solo album, “She’s the Boss.”

Chong narrated a 20-minute educational film, “The Subject Is AIDS,” produced for New York City public schools. Despite being mandated by prominent public health authorities, the film faced legal battles for years due to its failure to endorse abstinence as a means to prevent AIDS explicitly.

Chong’s acclaim also brought personal challenges, as she married a stockbroker in 1982 and had a child, only for the union to be short-lived. Notable roles followed, including her appearance in Steven Spielberg’s “The Color Purple” and as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s companion in the 1985 film “Commando.”

While box-office success eluded her, Chong continued her career, receiving positive reviews in 2000 for “The Visit,” where she starred alongside Hill Harper. She also ventured into television with roles in short-lived series such as “Strange Ways” and “Wild Card.” In 2005, she appeared in “Group of Stars” alongside Billy Dee Williams, a narrative exploring a mixed-race Southern family.

Beyond acting, Chong showcased her versatility by writing and directing films, starting with her debut “Boulevard” in 1994. She helmed the horror movie “Cursed and Part 3” and wrote and directed the short film “Mary Stigmata” in 2002. 

Her screenplay “Limit,” described as a “modern-day Cheech and Chong movie,” earned recognition by winning the 2007 WildSound Screenplay Challenge in Toronto, Canada. With her multifaceted talents, Chong appeared poised for a sustained presence in the entertainment industry.

Filmography

  • Stony Island
  • Quest for Fire 
  • Beat Street
  • Choose Me
  • Fear City
  • Chain dance
  • Rude Awakening
  • Amazon
  • Boca
  • Small Time
  • Goodbye America
  • Highball
  • Dangerous Attraction
  • Constellation
  • Deadly Skies
  • Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer
  • Mud Lotus
  • Drizzle of Hope
  • Reborn
  • The Sleeping Negro

Awards & Nominations

  • Genie Awards
  • Women Film Critics Circle Awards

Personal Life

Rae Dawn Chong’s journey through marital life has been marked by a series of unfortunate events. Her first marriage was to stockbroker Owen Bayliss, and from this union, a son named Morgan was born. However, their marital bliss was short-lived, culminating in a divorce in 1982.

Subsequently, Chong entered into matrimony with actor C. Thomas Howell, with whom she had shared the screen in the 1989 film “Soul Man.” Despite the apparent on-screen chemistry, their off-screen relationship faced challenges, leading to a divorce in 1990.

In 2011, Chong took another plunge into marriage, this time with Nathan Ulrich, known for his role as one of the founders of Xootr. Sadly, the union encountered its own set of difficulties, ultimately resulting in a divorce in 2014.

Social Media

  • Instagram: @realraedawnchong
  • Twitter: @rae_dawn_chong

Net Worth

Rae Dawn Chong is a successful Canadian-American actress estimated to be worth around US$4 million.


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