Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Saturday 25 May |
Saint of the Day: St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi
Aleteia logo
Inspiring Stories
separateurCreated with Sketch.

Indiana Jones’ Ke Huy Quan has something to teach us

Ke Hy Quan at the Los Angeles premiere of "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny"

Kathy Hutchins | Shutterstock

Ke Hy Quan at the Los Angeles premiere of "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny"

Cerith Gardiner - published on 06/27/23

The child actor who won over our hearts in 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom' is back on our screens impressing us.

This week we will see the return of some very familiar faces in Indian Jones and the Dial of Destiny — the final installment of the movie series featuring Harrison Ford, aged 80.

However, one actor who sadly won’t be reappearing is Ke Huy Quan, the Vietnamese-born star who played Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Fans of the movie will find it hard to forget the endearing youngster who accompanied Indiana Jones on his adventures in India in the hunt for an ancient stone.

Almost 40 years later, as the octogenarian Ford reprises his role as Dr Jones, you might be wondering what became of his young costar.

Now 51 years old, Ke Huy Quan had been busy over the last few decades working as an assistant director and stunt choreographer. Then last year, his acting career took flight again when he starred in the multi-award winning Everything, Everywhere, All at Once. Quan not only won an Academy Award for his performance, but also many people’s hearts with his comeback story.

From refugee to Hollywood actor

Though Ke Huy Quan was born in Vietnam, his family is of Chinese descent. Along with his eight siblings, Quan and his parents were forced to flee Vietnam when the North Vietnamese took over the country. While he went to Hong Kong with five of his brothers and sisters, his mother took the remaining three siblings to Malaysia.

His family was reunited when they were able to join the Refugee Admissions Program, enabling them to move to California. Ke Huy Quan’s casting in Temple of Doom was by chance when he accompanied his mother and brother to a casting call. The producers spotted Quan prepping his brother for the audition and asked him to read for the part of Short Round. His loveable performance won him attention and accolades, as did his work later in the film Goonies. But as Quan grew into adulthood, the acting parts dried up.

Unperturbed, Quan put his efforts into working behind the camera. Quan, who speaks four languages, saw his life take a dramatic turn once more when Everything, Everywhere, All at Once co-director Daniel Kwan happened to spot him on Twitter and eventually offered him a lead role. Quan’s wife Echo also worked on the film as the on-set translator.

The actor’s story is inspiring in a number of ways: Not only does his career path remind us that it’s never too late to seize opportunities, but when we do find success in life, it’s important to stay grounded and humble.

Quan demonstrates this so beautifully with loving social media posts about his family. He often credits his mother and wife for helping him persevere as an actor. This post about his mom for Mother’s Day particularly melted our hearts — after all, every mother wants to hear “I will always love you the way you love me.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ke Huy Quan (@kehuyquan)

And when you look at his other posts on social media, Quan seems only full of love and gratitude. This attitude has helped him survive the ups and downs of a Hollywood career and is what makes him so beloved by fans.

CelebritiesInspiring storiesMovies
Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.