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Dustin Nguyen

Dustin Nguyen

After escaping from Vietnam with his family the day Saigon fell in 1975, Dustin Nguyen (pronounced gwen) has overcome enormous odds to become a successful actor. Having starred in such series as 21 Jump Street and seaQuest DSV, Nguyen returns to television for the second season of V.I.P. A one-hour series blending action and humor amidst the glamour and fast-paced life of Hollywood, Beverly Hills and trendy Los Angeles.

Born in South Vietnam, Nguyen's father was one of the country's top film and stage actors. Leaving at the last moment, Nguyen and his family spent several weeks at sea on a boat with nearly 1,000 others. After a stopover in Guam, the family was moved to a refugee camp in Arkansas, with a Methodist church then subsidizing their move to St. Louis.

In junior high, Nguyen began studying martial arts, which he calls a great confidence builder. He moved to Southern California to attend Orange Coast College as a communications major and, at the suggestion of a friend, enrolled in an acting class. After college, he studied with Sal Romeo and helped his mentor build a Hollywood theatre for his Friends and Artists Ensemble.

Nguyen made his professional debut on Magnum, P.I., portraying a Cambodian freedom fighter, and went on to enjoy enormous popularity as Suki on General Hospital. But his breakthrough role came when he was cast as Detective Harry Ioki in the then-new FOX Network's flagship series 21 Jump Street. Crossing cultural boundaries, Nguyen starred on the series for four seasons.

He's also found success in feature films. He played a pivotal role in the Warner Bros. film Heaven And Earth, directed by Oliver Stone, and has appeared in Twentieth Century Fox's martial arts/action adventure Rapid Fire with Brandon Lee and TriStar Pictures' 3 Ninjas Kick Back. He's also starred in the action drama No Escape, No Return and, on television, the ABC movie-of-the-week Earth Angel.

Nguyen's martial arts expertise was most recently showcased as the star of Levi Jeans' European Hero television commercials. It marked the first time Levi's had used an Asian lead for their popular role of the hero.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

Dustin Nguyen Facts

Birth Name Nguyen Xuan Tri
BirthdaySeptember 17, 1962 (61)
BirthplaceHo Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Selected Filmography

3 Ninjas Kick Back
Zero Tolerance
21 Jump Street: The Complete Series
Heaven and Earth
3 Ninjas Set
Heaven & Earth
The Man with the Iron Fists 2
Once Upon A Time In Vietnam
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