Victor Sen Yung was the fifth man on the Ponderosa-Hop Sing, the cook.
The character was generally used in comic bits, often involving the small cook chasing Hoss out of his kitchen for stealing food.There were, however, a few episodes throughout the series that dealt with anti-Chinese prejudice in the West of the late 1800’s.
Sen Yung had a huge number of acting jobs, both before and during his years on Bonanza. In the 1940’s, he was best known as Charlie Chan’s Number Two Son, in the Sidney Toler Charlie Chan films. He was a regular in Father Knows Best, and had roles in many TV shows and movies. Sen Yung loved cooking, and ironically died from exposure to a gas leak in his Hollywood tenement apartment in 1980. He was 65 years old. Pernell Roberts presented his eulogy at his former cook’s services that year.
The last decision David Dortort had to make, was who was going to play Hop Sing, the Cartwright’s cook and houseboy. NBC wanted to cast a Japanese actor, and Dortort refused, saying the role had to be played by a veteran Chinese actor, by the name of Victor Sen Yung.
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