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Passings : Kim Chan

Character actor in movies, TV

October 14, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Service Reports

Kim Chan, a character actor who broke through in film playing Jerry Lewis' butler in "The King of Comedy," died Sunday in New York City. He was believed to be either 93 or 94, his niece told the New York Times.

After emigrating as a boy with his family from the province of Canton, China, he worked at his family's Chinese restaurant in New York City's theater district and discovered show business. He started out appearing in small parts in plays.

In 1957, he made his film debut as a radio announcer in "A Face in the Crowd."

He also played a theater cashier in "The Owl and the Pussycat" (1970), a flower vendor in "Jumpin' Jack Flash" (1986), a dim sum cook in "Cadillac Man" (1990), mob boss Uncle Benny in "Lethal Weapon 4" (1998) and the father of Jackie Chan's character in "Shanghai Knights" (2003).

In the early 1980s film "The King of Comedy," Chan was the butler who provides comic relief as he tangles with Robert De Niro, who portrays a frustrated comedian and obsessed fan who forces his way into Lewis' home.

On television, Chan played the martial-arts expert called the Ancient in "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues," a syndicated series that aired from 1993 to 1996.

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