Pioneer Asian American Broadway star Alvin Ing passes away from COVID-19 complications at 89

Alvin Ing

Alvin Ing, a pioneering Asian American Broadway actor, has died from COVID-19 complications at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Calif. He was 89.

What happened: Ing was diagnosed with pneumonia in mid-July and contracted COVID-19 a few days later, the actor’s representative said in a statement, according to Variety.

  • The actor battled the illness for two weeks and succumbed to cardiac arrest on July 31.
  • Lea Salonga, who starred alongside Ing in “Flower Drum Song,” said the late actor “was a joyful presence to be around at every rehearsal and performance.”
  • “There was always a gentleness to him, but also a sassy sense of humor,” the Filipino actress and singer added. “He was a gift to everybody that got to work with him, and I’m only extremely blessed to have had that opportunity.”
  • “Since forever, the reputation of Asian American actors has been defiled by a well known, but rarely spoken, sentiment: we will never be as good as our colleagues of other colors, never mind better,” BD Wong, who appeared alongside Ing in “Pacific Overtures,” said. “One day Alvin Ing sang for me, and I finally knew, for keeps, that anyone who thought this was pitifully mistaken.”
  • In a tweet, Broadway star Telly Leung said, “There was only one Alvin Ing,” Bloomberg reported.

  • The Actor’s Equity Association also honored the late actor on Twitter.

Past work: Born in Honolulu, Ing studied music at the University of Hawaii and later earned his master’s degree in music education from Columbia.

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  • He was a U.S. Army veteran and an advocate for the Asian American Pacific Islander community in the entertainment industry. He was also an active member of the American Asian Performing Arts Theatre.
  • Ing played roles on Off Broadway before landing his Broadway debut in the 1976 production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Pacific Overtures.” He once again reprised his role as the Shogun’s mother in the 2004 revival.
  • He starred in the 2002 revival of “Flower Drum Songs,” where he sang “My Best Love.”
  • Ing also appeared in several television shows, including the daytime drama “The Doctors” from 1947 to 1975. He also made an appearance in “Fantasy Island,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Benson,” “Dallas,” “Falcon Crest,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and in the “Hawaii Five-0” reboot.
  • Ing is also credited in several movies, including “Stir Crazy,” “Smilla’s Sense of Snow,” 2021’s “Bad Detectives” and 2014’s “The Gambler,” where he co-stars with Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg and Jessica Lange.

Featured Image via Dean Friedman

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