- Jack Soo
name = Jack Soo
birthname = Goro Suzuki
birthdate = birth date|1917|10|28
Oakland, California, U.S.
deathdate = death date and age|1979|01|11|1917|10|28
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Jack Soo (born
October 28, 1917– January 11, 1979) was a Japanese American actor.
Jack Soo was born Goro Suzuki in Oakland,
California. Soo was caught in the Japanese American internmentduring World War IIand sent to Topaz War Relocation Centerin Utah. [ [http://www.nndb.com/people/757/000044625/ Jack Soo ] ] Fellow internees recalled him as a "camp favorite" entertainer, singing at dances and numerous events.
His career as an entertainer began in earnest at the end of the war; first as a stand-up nightclub performer primarily in the Midwestern United States. It was during his years playing the nightclub circuit that he would meet and become friends with future "
Barney Miller" producer, Danny Arnold, who was also a performer at the time. [ [http://tv.yahoo.com/jack-soo/contributor/964616/bio;_ylt=AiEHNjfRfexF3r1QwLc6kg..o9EF Jack Soo - Yahoo! TV ] ]
Soo would finally earn his big break in 1958 when he would be cast in the Broadway musical hit, "
Flower Drum Song", in the role of the show M.C. and comedian Frankie Wing ("Gliding through my memoree"). He was working in San Francisco in the Forbidden City nightclub which was portrayed in the musical and movie. Jack moved up to the Sammie Fong role in 1961, when the film version of the musical was made. During the next decade, he would appear in films such as an ARVNgeneral in "The Green Berets", the 1967 musical "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and made guest appearances on TV shows such as " Hawaii Five-O", "The Odd Couple" and "M*A*S*H". In 1964, Soo played an important weekly supporting role as a poker-playing con artist in " Valentine's Day", a one-season comedy television series starring Tony Franciosa. In most of his roles in television, movies and on stage, Jack portrayed leaders and/or characters "breaking out" of the Asian stereotypes held at the time.
Soo would finally be cast in his most memorable role in 1975 on the ABC
sitcom" Barney Miller" as the laid-back, but very wry, Detective Nick Yemana, who was also responsible for making the dreadful coffee the entire precinct had the misfortune to drink every day.
Soo was diagnosed with
esophageal cancerduring the show's fifth season (1978–79). The cancer spread quickly, and Soo died shortly afterwards in Los Angeles, Californiaat age 61. His last appearance on "Barney Miller" was in the episode entitled "The Vandal" which aired on November 9, 1978.
Because his character—and Soo himself—was so beloved, a special retrospective episode was made, showing clips of his best moments; it aired at the end of the season. It also noted that Yemana was the first regular adult character on US prime-time television written for an American of Japanese descent, a role long-sought by Jack. The most poignant moment of the show came at the end, when the cast members raised their coffee cups in a final farewell toast to the late actor.
Soo's last words to his "Barney Miller" co-star
Hal Lindenas he was being wheeled into the operating room before his death were "It must have been the coffee".
*imdb name | id=0814530 | name=Jack Soo
* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=5435 Jack Soo's Photo & Gravesite]
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