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Gloria Fong, the actress known as Maylia who appeared in the 1940s films Singapore and To the Ends of the Earth, has died. She was 90.
Fong died in her sleep on Oct. 16 in Costa Mesa, Calif., family members told The Hollywood Reporter. She was married to the late actor Benson Fong, who played Charlie Chan’s son Tommy in six movies.
Born Gloria Suie Chin in Detroit, she was visiting her sister in California when she was spotted in the canteen at Paramount Studios by Jay Richard Kennedy, who wrote the screenplay for To the Ends of the Earth (1948). She was signed to a contract by Columbia Pictures and given the screen name Maylia, which means “beautiful” in Cantonese.
Maylia played Ava Gardner’s servant Ming Ling in the romantic drama Singapore (1947), also starring Fred MacMurray, and portrayed a Chinese orphan in To the Ends of the Earth, a gritty film about drug smugglers that starred Dick Powell and Signe Hasso.
The actress also appeared in Boston Blackie’s Chinese Venture (1949), Chinatown at Midnight (1949), Call Me Mister (1951) and Return to Paradise (1953).
She and Benson Fong married in 1947. They had five children and operated the chain of Ah Fong’s Restaurants in Los Angeles. He died in 1987 at age 70.
In lieu of flowers, her family asks that a donation be made to the Children’s Comfort Care Resource Program.
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