You may not know that he had roles in Sesame Street. You may not recall his recurring part in E.R. You may not know that he was the voice of Ling in Disney’s animated classic Mulan (and the direct-t0-video sequel Mulan II). In fact you probably don’t even know that his name is Gedde Watanabe. But I’m sure everybody in reading readius of the website will know that this was the dude who played Long Duk Dong in the 80’s mega-classic Sixteen Candles.
From his initial head-drop over the bunk bed in which he asks Molly Ringwald “Whatsa happenin’ hot stuff?” to his drunken fall from the tree and confrontation with his foreign exchange grandparents (“No more yankee my wankee, the Donga need food!”), his role from the film was often imitated and will never be forgotten by my generation.
I met him at the Hollywood Show in Burbank on Saturday, April 24, 2010. He was extremely pleasant guy, grateful and friendly to the fans, more than willing to pose for a picture and meet the demands of my autograph inscription, and had a great sense of humor about the role he played in Sixteen Candles – although many have later criticized him for the stereotypical characterization of an Asian foreign exchange student. But let’s not take the fun out of it. He was pretty darn funny and he will forever continue to make fans of the film smile.
UPDATE: I ran into Gedde Watanabe again at the Chiller Theatre show in Parsippany, New Jersey on April 26, 2014. I didn’t really need anything else from him, but I wanted my girlfriend Carolyn to have a photo with him. He was charging $10 for a ‘selfie’ which I though was reasonable enough, so we snapped her picture, and then he did another free one with me.
I did fall on my face a bit when a fan was trying to come up with a line of dialogue from Sixteen Candles and he couldn’t remember either. I told him that I nearly had the movie memorized and asked what he wanted to know. Naturally I couldn’t remember the dialogue when he was riding the exercise bike with his large busty date. Oh well, we laughed it off and he didn’t ridicule me.
One question though: why does his head always look so darn much bigger than mine??
Celebrities of the Spring 2010 Hollywood Show will continue…
Celebrities of the Spring 2014 Chiller Theatre Show will continue…