Childhood & Early Life
Kenneth Choi was born on October 20, 1971, in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He went to ‘Longwood Elementary’ school in Glenwood, Illinois, before attending junior high school at ‘Brookwood School District 167.’ During his junior high school years, he impressed his teachers and fellow students with his break dancing skills.
He later attended ‘Homewood-Flossmoor High School’ where he practiced gymnastics. He specialized in using the pommel horse and even held the sophomore record for pommel horse. After graduating from high school, Choi wanted to pursue acting, but his parents were not happy with his decision, as they wanted him to pursue accounting.
Subsequently, Choi enrolled at ‘Purdue University’ where he studied accounting. Thanks to his passion for acting, he decided to drop out of college and moved to Portland, Oregon, severing all ties with his family. He started working at a ‘Blockbuster’ video store to support himself. For the next five years, he learned acting from several teachers, including film and theatre director Paul Warner.
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Kenneth Choi landed his first acting role in 1998, when he played a minor role in Duwayne Dunham-directed television movie ‘Halloweentown.’ After moving to Los Angeles in 1999, he landed his first theatrical film role in the 2000 action science fiction film ‘Deep Core.’ In 2000, he played minor roles in TV series, such as ‘The Huntress,’ ‘The West Wing,’ ‘Arliss,’ ‘Roswell,’ and ‘V.I.P.’
In 2001, he appeared in four television series, namely ‘The Division,’ ‘The Brothers García,’ ‘Kristin,’ and ‘Dead Last.’ The following year, he played Officer Aoki in one of the episodes of popular television series ‘Reba’ and then played Todd Ling on ‘CBS’ network's series ‘The King of Queens.’
He played Professor Josh Chan in the 2003 science fiction action film ‘Timecop 2: The Berlin Decision.’ In 2003, he also played Dennis in a couple of episodes of ‘CBS’ network's medical drama series ‘Presidio Med.’
Over the next few years, he played minor roles in series such as ‘Dragnet,’ ‘According to Jim,’ ‘House,’ ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,’ ‘Lincoln Heights,’ and ‘Shark.’ Simultaneously, he also played supporting roles in films like ‘The Terminal,’ ‘Harsh Times,’ ‘Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil,’ ‘Only the Brave,’ ‘The Heart Specialist,’ and ‘Walk the Talk.’
In 2008, he was cast to play the recurring role of Sato in a six-hour mini-series titled ‘Samurai Girl.’ In the same year, he was also cast to play Henry Lin in a crime-tragedy television series titled ‘Sons of Anarchy.’ He portrayed the role from 2008 to 2014, appearing in 14 episodes. Meanwhile, he received his breakthrough role in 2011, when he was chosen to play James 'Jim' Morita in Joe Johnston-directed superhero film ‘Captain America: The First Avenger.’
In 2013, he played Captain Ed Rollins in nine episodes of ‘NBC’ network's television drama series ‘Ironside.’ In the same year, he played Dr. Bloomfield in an episode titled ‘Tuscan Red’ in the popular crime drama television series ‘Longmire.’ In 2013, he was also seen playing Chester Ming in Martin Scorsese-directed biographical black comedy film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’ Interestingly, Choi gained 25 pounds before shooting for the critically acclaimed film.
In 2015, he played Sam Luttrell in 13 episodes of ‘NBC’ network's TV series ‘Allegiance.’ It is the American adaptation of an Israeli drama series titled ‘The Gordin Cell.’ The following year, he was cast to play Judge Lance Ito in ten episodes of the popular crime anthology television series ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.’ In 2016, he also played Yakuza Boss in David Ayer-directed superhero film ‘Suicide Squad.’
From 2016 to 2017, he portrayed Lewis in ten episodes of ‘Fox’ network's comedy television series ‘The Last Man on Earth.’ In 2017, he became part of another ‘Marvel Studios’ movie when he portrayed Principal Morita in Jon Watts-directed superhero film ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming.’ In the same year, he also played Yamahara in a television crime film titled ‘Bright.’
He was cast to play Marty in the 2018 Nash Edgerton-directed crime comedy film ‘Gringo.’ In 2018, he was seen in films such as ‘Hotel Artemis’ and ‘Office Uprising.’ In the same year, he was cast to play the main role of Howie 'Chimney' Han in the procedural drama television series ‘9-1-1.’
Apart from acting, Kenneth Choi has also lent his voice to several video game characters, including the famous character Jim Morita from the popular video game ‘Captain America: Super Soldier.’
Family & Personal Life
Kenneth Choi’s parents had emigrated to the United States of America from Korea. His father worked as a professor, while his mother worked as a nurse before quitting her job to become a stay-at-home mother. Kenneth Choi has two siblings.
Though his parents were not happy with his choice of career at the beginning, they are currently happy with their son’s achievement. In one of his interviews, Choi revealed that his father was elated after watching his performance in ‘Captain America: The First Avenger.’