Sandra Oh: Wikis


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Sandra Oh

Oh at a Writer's Guild of America protest, November 2007
Born July 20, 1971 (1971-07-20) (age 38)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Occupation Actress
Years active 1989–present
Spouse(s) Alexander Payne (2003-2006; divorced)

Sandra Oh (born July 20, 1971) is a Golden Globe and Genie Award winning Canadian actress. She is primarily known for her role as Dr. Cristina Yang in the ABC series Grey's Anatomy. She also played notable roles in the feature films Under the Tuscan Sun and Sideways, and had a supporting role on the HBO original series Arli$$.


Early life

Oh was born in Nepean, Ontario, to middle-class Korean immigrant parents Joon-Soo (John) and Young-Nam, who had come to Canada in the early 1960s. Her father is a businessman and her mother a biochemist [1] Oh grew up living on Camwood Crescent in the Ottawa[2] suburb of Nepean, where she began acting and dancing ballet at an early age.[3]. At the age of 10, she played The Wizard of Woe in a class musical, The Canada Goose.

Later, at Sir Robert Borden High School, she founded the Environmental club BASE (Borden Active Students for the Environment), leading a campaign against the use of styrofoam cups. While at Sir Robert Borden High School she was Student Council President. She also played the flute and continued both her ballet training and acting studies; however, she knew that she "was not good enough to be a professional dancer"[3] and eventually focused solely on acting. This interest led her to take drama classes, act in school plays, and join the drama club where she took part in the Canadian Improv Games and Skit Row High, a comedy group. Against her parents' advice, she rejected a four-year journalism scholarship to Carleton University to study drama at the prestigious National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal, paying her own way. She told her parents that she would try acting for a few years, and if that failed, return to school [4]. Ironically, while studying at the National Theatre School, she portrayed a waitress in the made-for-television film, School's Out, in which her co-worker, Caitlin Ryan (Stacie Mistysyn) also considers turning down her acceptance into Carleton University's journalism program.

Soon after graduating from the National Theatre School in 1993, she starred in a London, Ontario stage production of David Mamet's Oleanna. Around the same time, she won roles in biographical TV films of two significant female Chinese-Canadians: as Vancouver author Evelyn Lau in The Diary of Evelyn Lau (Oh won the role over more than 1,000 others who auditioned); and as Adrienne Clarkson in a CBC biopic of Clarkson's life.

Oh has one brother Ray, and two sisters Grace and Kelly. Ray works as a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University. Grace works as a Crown attorney in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Oh became even more widely known in Canada for her lead performance in the Canadian film Double Happiness, for which she won the Genie Award for Best Actress. She then went on to star in the 1997 international feature hit film Bean playing the supporting role of Bernice, the art gallery P.R. manager. Her other Canadian films include Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity and Last Night, for which she again won a Best Actress Genie.

Sandra Oh at the 2007 Golden Globes

Oh is most familiar to American audiences from her roles in the films Under the Tuscan Sun and Sideways. She considers Sideways to be one of the two best movies she has made, along with Evelyn Lau.[4] In the less well-known Dancing at the Blue Iguana, she played a poetry-writing stripper, performed several nude dance routines and received the movie's best reviews. On American television, she is renowned for her current role in the hit ABC medical series Grey's Anatomy, for which she has won both a 2005 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Series and a 2006 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series. In July 2009, she received her fifth consecutive Emmy nomination for her work on the series.

Oh received critical acclaim for her six seasons as Rita Wu on the HBO series Arli$$. She received an NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and a Cable Ace award for Best Actress in a Comedy for her work on Arli$$. In theatre, Oh has also starred in the world premieres of Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters at the La Jolla Playhouse and Diana Son's Stop Kiss at Joseph Papp's Public Theatre in New York City. She made several guest appearances on the series Popular (1999) playing a humanities teacher. She has also guest starred in the television series Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, Judging Amy, American Dragon: Jake Long, Six Feet Under, and Odd Job Jack.

In 2006, she costarred in the film The Night Listener as "Anna," alongside Robin Williams and Toni Collette. In her only audiobook, she played Brigid O'Shaughnessy in a sonic dramatization of The Maltese Falcon (2008), which also featured Michael Madsen and Edward Herrmann.

Although Oh remains active in feature films, the critically acclaimed Grey's Anatomy remains her primary current occupation.

Oh was host of the 28th Genie Awards on March 3, 2008.[5]

Personal life

Oh and Sideways filmmaker Alexander Payne were in a relationship for five years. They married on January 1, 2003, separated in early 2005 and divorced in late 2006.[6]


Year Film Role Notes
1994 Double Happiness Jade Li
1997 Bean Bernice Schimmel
Bad Day on the Block
1998 Last Night Sandra
The Red Violin Madame Ming
Permanent Midnight Friend
1999 Guinevere Cindy
2000 Waking the Dead Kim
Dancing at the Blue Iguana Jasmine
2001 The Princess Diaries Vice Principal Gupta
The Frank Truth Herself (actress) (documentary)
2002 Big Fat Liar Mrs. Phyllis Caldwell
Full Frontal Fourth Fired Employee
Rick Michelle
Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity Kin Ho Lum
2003 Under the Tuscan Sun Patti
Owning Mahowny Craps Player (uncredited)
2004 Sideways Stephanie
Wilby Wonderful Carol French
Mulan II Ting Ting
2005 Hard Candy Judy Tokuda
Break a Leg Young Turk
Cake Lulu
3 Needles Mary the Nun
Sorry, Haters Phyllis MacIntyre
Kind of a Blur Joe
2006 The Night Listener Anna
For Your Consideration Marketing Person
2007 The Land Before Time XIII: The Wisdom of Friends Doofah
2008 Blindness Minister of Health
2009 Defendor Dr. Park
Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey Gal 2000
2010 Ramona and Beezus Mrs. Meacham
Rabbit Hole

Short subjects

  • The Journey Home (1989)
  • Prey (1995)
  • Cowgirl (1996)
  • Three Lives of Kate (2000) (narrator)
  • Barrier Device (2002)
  • 8 Minutes to Love (2004)
  • Falling (2007)



External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Sandra Oh (born July 20, 1971) is a Golden Globe-winning Canadian actress. She is best known for playing Dr. Cristina Yang in the television series Grey's Anatomy and her roles in feature films, including Under the Tuscan Sun and Sideways. In 2005, Oh made People magazine's list of the 50 Most Beautiful People.


  • On a Canadian set, everybody is equal. You get paid the same. You live together in barracks. You have a communal kitchen. You buy and cook your own food.
  • Becoming an actor? If it's not a calling, don't do it. It's too hard.
  • I think all women should learn how to's a really healthy, extremely challenging thing to do.
  • In many Asian households, to not go on to higher education, that's like a big no-no. I know my parents' discouragement was for my own protection, and I'm really close to them now, but they didn't understand that there is value in this. That's because they didn't know.
  • I think the roles in television are better for women right now. At this point, I don't want to continue doing the same things I've been doing in film because it's very limited.
  • But what I have big problems with is when people put those limits on me...there always has to be a quantifier or qualifier when it comes to me
    • Interview with BUST magazine

When asked if she's proud to be Canadian:

  • More now than I ever have been. As this country was reelecting the current Administration, the Canadian government [is on its way to] legalizing gay marriage and decriminalizing pot. Those are small things on the big scale of what is going on in the world, but they're things where Canadians are far ahead.
    • Interview with People magazine

On her Grey’s Anatomy character, Cristina:

  • The relationship between Cristina and Burke has really grown. It’s nice to see a woman who can’t commit and who is emotionally stunted, because there’s a lot of us who are.

About Sandra Oh

  • ...also, let's mention that Sandra Oh who goes out and does a striptease in front of the boy that she loves but doesn't think will accept her...there's a little tear that comes down while she's upside down on the pole and that's a very effective piece of acting.
    • Roger Ebert while reviewing Dancing at the Blue Iguana on Ebert & Roeper

External links

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