Backstage at Oscarsspeaking to the press following his win for Best Supporting Actor in Everything Everywhere Everything at once, Ke Huy Quan remembered what it was like to change his name from an American one that a manager had suggested to him long ago.
“You know, when I started as a kid, my birth name was Ke Huy Quan. And then I remember, when it got really tough, my manager told me, ‘Maybe it’s easier if you have an American-sounding name .’ And I was so desperate for a job that I would do anything. And it was crazy that I, at one point, tried a different name, not the name that was given to me, but that just goes to show you how desperate I was to try to make things are strange.”
But when, three years ago, Quan decided to return to acting after a long period in which he could not find work, he determinedly used his real name. In doing so, he felt he was honoring his mother who had sacrificed so much for him.
“The very first thing I want to do is go back to my birth name,” he said. “Tonight to see Ariana [DeBose] open that envelope and say, ‘Ke Huy Quan,’ that was a really special moment for me. And then I immediately became emotional, but the first image that came to my mind was my mother. who is the reason why I am in America, who is the reason why my life is better, I have all these opportunities. As I said in my acceptance speech, his sacrifice was too much. He had a good life where we came from, and he gave it all up so that all his children—nine of us—and every one of them was very grateful to my parents.”
Quan also mentioned that his goonies Co-stars have been especially supportive of his career resurgence. Quan starred as a wacky invention geek named Data in the beloved 1983 film. Asked what his younger self would make of where he is now, he said, “My younger self would not know all the struggles that I went through to be here. He’s just having the time of his life as a kid, on a set, on a pirate ship, riding a water slide. But before tonight begins, Corey Feldman, one of mine goonies the brothers called, I’m talking to Kerri Green, and of course tonight Jeff Cohen, who is my entertainment attorney [and played Chunk in the film], is here with me, he is in the audience. I owe a lot to all of them. Each of them was very happy. Sean [Astin] you got it, Josh [Brolin]Martha [Plimpton], and we always bond. We are family forever. The goonies don’t say die.”