Philip Ahn was a Korean-American actor. In high school, Philip visited the set of the film The Thief of Bagdad, where he met Douglas Fairbanks. Fairbanks offered young Philip a screen test, and then a part in the movie. Ahn’s mother refused to allow him to become an actor.
In 1934, he began attending the University of Southern California. His father told him that if he really wanted to be an actor, he had to commit to being the best actor he could be. Therefore, Ahn enrolled in acting and cinematography courses. Following his sophomore year, Ahn dropped out of school to pursue acting full time. His first film was A Scream in the Night (1935). He appeared in the Bing Crosby film Anything Goes the following year. He had his first credited roles in 1936, in The General Died at Dawn and Stowaway, opposite Shirley Temple.
During World War II, Ahn often played Japanese villains in war films such as Back to Bataan (1945). To prove his American patriotism, Ahn joined the United States Army, but was soon forced out because of a bad ankle. During his brief time in the Army, he served in Special Services, entertaining troops. Following the war, Ahn appeared in Around the World in Eighty Days, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Paradise, Hawaiian Style, with Elvis Presley. Ahn’s last major role was that of “Master Kan” in the television series Kung Fu.