CLYDE KUSATSU
2021 Inductee
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Clyde Kusatsu was born on September 13, 1948, in Honolulu, Hawaii and attended 'Iolani School where he began acting and in Honolulu summer stock. After graduating a theatre major at Northwestern University, he started to make his mark on the small screen in the mid-1970s, and got his first TV role on Kung Fu where he also guested for four episodes during its run.

 

MASH was another show early in his career where he was cast in three roles in four episodes during its run. With his quiet, wry line delivery, Kusatsu made a memorable debut and hilarious sparring partner to Archie Bunker (Carroll O'Connor) as Rev. Chong on several episodes of All in the Family. During this period Kusatsu also was a member of East West Players, the oldest Asian-American Theatre in Los Angeles. Kusatsu has been a regular on several series beginning with Bring 'Em Back Alive (1982–83)CBS and the Hawaii-set medical drama Island Son (1989–90) CBS playing Richard Chamberlain's best friend Dr. Kenji Fushida.

 

His many television movies have included the film adaptation of Farewell to Manzanar (1976), about Japanese American internment during World War II. (Kusatsu also guest-starred on an episode of Lou Grant on Japanese internment in the U.S.); Other television films and mini-series have been "And The Sea Will Tell", and "American Tragedy" playing Judge Lance Ito. He had a memorable role in the "Baa Baa Black Sheep" episode "Prisoners of War" as a downed Japanese fighter pilot in the Pacific (1976); Golden Land (1988), a Hollywood-set drama based on a William Faulkner story; and the AIDS drama And the Band Played On (1993). Kusatsu also recurred as Vice Admiral Nakamura on Star Trek: The Next Generation. In comedy he also recurred as Principal Shimata in several episodes of the 1990s ABC situation comedy Family Matters, the usual foil of that series' main protagonist Steve Urkel. He later starred in the short-lived ABC series All American Girl (1994–1995), the first Asian American family sitcom in the U.S.. In films, he has worked with Toshiro Mifune in Midway (1976) and again in John Frankenheimer's "The Challenge" (1981). Kusatsu had roles in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993, In the Line of Fire (1993, and in American Pie (1999) amongst many. Other recent films have been Shopgirl as Mr. Agasa, and in Sydney Pollack's The Interpreter (2005) as Lee Wu, head of security for the United Nations Headquarters. He also had a pivotal role with Glenn Close in Bruce Beresford's WW2 drama "Paradise Road"(1997).

 

In the world of Soaps he had the recurring role of Dr. Dennis Okamura on The Young and the Restless on CBS as well as guest appearances on The Bold and Beautiful, General Hospital, and Days of Our Lives. He is also one of the most recognizable actors in the TV and movie industry whenever an ethnic character is needed. He also appeared as four different characters on Magnum, P.I., including the Vietnamese Colonel Ki character who severely wounds Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck), and in another two episodes he irritated Magnum with his John Wayne impression as HPD Detective Gordon Katsumoto & the role that was created for him. Interestingly, in the reboot of the same TV series this role is now played by Tim Kang. For SciFi fandom, in the CBS MOW, he was the original Wong in "Dr. Strange" (1978).

 

In 2012 the actors unions of Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Actors (AFTRA) merged into SAG-AFTRA, and in 2013 Kusatsu became the first elected President of the new SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles Local, and at their convention was elected the first National Vice President Los Angeles, an office he currently holds having been re-elected in 2019. He continues to act as well most recently in The Grinder and as the father-in-law to Ken Jeong in Dr. Ken, as well as continuing his career in film, commercials, television, and in voice-over animation plays The Grocer in Curious George. Most recently he guested on the second season of Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story.