Brian Tochi

(1959)
Actor, Director and Producer / supervising producer
Birth Name: Brian Tochi
Date of Birth: 02/05/1959

Brian Keith Tochi (born May 2, 1963 in Los Angeles, California), better known as Brian Tochi, is an American actor, screenwriter, movie director and producer. He was widely recognized as the most popular Asian American child actor working in television during the late 1960s through much of the 1970s having appeared in various TV series and nearly 100 television commercials. He is best known for his more famous characters Takashi from the Revenge of the Nerds film franchise, as Cadet (later Officer) Elvis Nogata from the third and fourth films in the Police Academy film series, and as the voice of Leonardo in the first three live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie franchise. Tochi was born Brian Keith Tochihara in Los Angeles, California, the son of Joe Isao Tochihara (a/k/a ‘Tochi’), a well known Beverly Hills celebrity hair salon owner, and Jane Yaeko (née Harada), both of Japanese American decent, and former detainees (along with thousands of other Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans) of Japanese American Internment camps during World War II. While Brian was still young, the family moved from Los Angeles to Orange County, California, where he divided his education between local public schools and studio tutors (for child actors) on movie studio lots. After graduation from high school, Tochi also attended USC, UCLA and UCI. Of Asian ancestry, Tochi frequently plays characters who are Japanese, Chinese, or of other Asiatic origin, adopting the appropriate accent as needed. (His primary language is English, and his offstage speech is "fluent American".) Early in his professional life, being one of the only Asian faces in television, many credit him with breaking the barriers and opening doors for Asians in entertainment, and advancing the perception that “Oriental” actors have the ability to portray more “mainstream” roles. Brian’s introduction into the entertainment industry came as a toddler. His father’s beauty salon, Tochi Coiffure of Beverly Hills, was a popular haunt for many famous clients, including Lana Turner, Hedy Lamarr, Lucille Ball, Judy Garland, Petula Clark and Patty Duke. One of his father’s customers, a top child agent, spotted the young Tochi running around the salon, and quickly signed to represent him. A beginning role for Tochi was a guest-starring appearance in the short-lived television series He & She (1967-68, with real-life married couple Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss) as their newly adopted son. Produced by Leonard Stern and co-written by Chris Hayward and Allan Burns, it also starred Jack Cassidy as an egomaniacal actor, Kenneth Mars and Hamilton Camp. That same year saw Tochi appearing in "And the Children Shall Lead", a classic third-season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. Other roles followed, including guest appearances on such popular shows as The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family and Adam-12. Tochi’s debut as a TV series regular was as Yul Brynner’s oldest son and heir, Crown Prince Chulalongkorn, in Anna and the King on CBS, it was based on the film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I and also starred Samantha Eggar and Keye Luke. Although the series was short lived, Tochi and Brynner remained friends until his death in 1985. Concurrent with the series, Brian was cast with fellow actor Luke in his first animated television series The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, also in the series was a young Jodie Foster, who played his sister. After both series ended, guest-starring roles followed, including The Streets of San Francisco with Karl Malden and Michael Douglas; and Kung Fu, with David Carradine, who made his directing debut on the episode, “The Demon God” (which was Brian's largest guest role of three Kung Fu episodes he appeared in). Tochi also played an undercover informant, and was ultimately beaten and killed in a gritty two-part episode of Police Story on NBC; and nearly died on the Robert Young medical drama Marcus Welby, M.D. until...

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