Not too long ago, I received an email with someone suggesting an actor by the name of Dennis Dun for the “What Ever Happened To” series. To be honest, I didn’t recognize the name. Reading his credits, my reaction changed to “Why haven’t I written about him before???”
Dennis Dun was born in 1952. After working as a production assistant on Wayne Wang’s DIM SUM, and a small role in YEAR OF THE DRAGON he would have the role that I remember him most from.
Wang Chi in John Carpenter’s BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA. Playing Kurt Russell’s friend, this was a favorite of mine at the time. He was very memorable in it.
He would follow this up playing Big Li in Bertolucci’s THE LAST EMPEROR and team up once again with John Carpenter with PRINCE OF DARKNESS.
Next up was another of my favorites, playing Billy Po in the TV series MIDNIGHT CALLER. I’ve written about the series before in my piece on Wendy Kilbourne. It was a show I never missed.
After MIDNIGHT CALLER went off the air in 1991, his career sort of seemed to slow down. It does seem like the early 90’s was one of the worst eras for film careers. Direct to video films dominated the marketplace.
Dun continued to act, but in films that didn’t have much if any release. 1995’s VENUS RISING, a film most notable for an early screen appearance by Jessica Alba, seems to be one of the few that is even on DVD these days. By 1996 he was playing “Satellite Van Technician” in UP CLOSE & PERSONAL.
There was a lot of TV work, GRACE UNDER FIRE, THE NANNY, CHARMED, THE BERNIE MAC SHOW and a couple episodes of JAG.
So, What Ever Happened To Him?
On the director’s commentary for BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, Kurt Russell says he hadn’t seen Dennis in a while. John Carpenter mentions that he is married, with a kid and is very happy.
Dennis had a history in the theatre, and it looks like that is where he has spent a lot of his time. He even had a one man show, “Giant Oranges”.
He also appeared on the PBS series INDEPENDENT LENS in the “My Life Disoriented” series.
You can probably blame Hollywood for his not having a bigger career. While he was a very likable performer, there are few good roles out there for Asian actors.
Maybe Dennis, John Carpenter and Kurt Russell can team up once again. They had great chemistry the first time.