Childhood & Early Life
Tim was born Yila Timothy Kang, on March 16, 1973, in San Francisco, California. He has two younger brothers. Tim majored in political science from the 'University of California, Berkeley.’
Tim worked as a share trader in the now-defunct 'Pacific Exchange' in San Francisco. He was excellent at his job and was even considered for a promotion. However, Tim soon realized that finance was not the field he wanted to be part of. One day, while on his way to work, Tim stumbled upon a poster of the 'American Conservatory Theatre' (ACT) and found out they were offering night classes. He instantly decided to try his luck in acting. Initially, he pursued acting as a hobby.
Tim was 26 when he attended his first acting class and then received an MFA degree from 'Harvard's ‘Institute for Advanced Theater Training,' also known as the ‘American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theatre’ (ART/МХАТ).
At ‘ART,’ Tim portrayed ‘Swiss Cheese’ in the play 'Mother Courage and her Children,' originally written by German dramatist and poet Bertolt Brecht. He also acted in two more plays under ‘ART.’
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Tim began his acting career as ‘Dr. Harrison Wong’ in the 2002 crime-drama series 'The Sopranos.' The same year, he made his big-screen debut with the romantic comedy 'Two Weeks Notice,' which featured him as an attorney named ‘Paul.’
Following this, Tim was seen in the 2003 independent anthology science-fiction comedy–drama film 'Robot Stories.' He portrayed the young version of Sab Shimono’s character, ‘John,’ an old sculptor with only a year left to live. Tim then appeared as ‘Murakami’ in an episode of the police-procedural series 'Law & Order' franchise 'Criminal Intent.' Again, in 2005, he was featured in the fourth series of the franchise, titled 'Trial by Jury,' but played a different character, ‘Dr. Liam Kelly.’
Tim had a brief recurring role (five episodes) as ‘Detective Kent Yoshihara’ in the 'NBC' crime drama 'Third Watch.' He was cast as ‘Agent Alec Wong’ in the 2004 science-fiction psychological horror–thriller film 'The Forgotten.'
In 2006, Tim appeared in two TV productions: the sketch comedy 'Chappelle's Show' and the 'CBS' supernatural series 'Ghost Whisperer.' Additionally, he worked in TV commercials for brands such as 'Cingular Wireless,' 'The Home Depot,' 'Shell,’ 'Dairy Queen,' and 'AT&T U-verse.'
In 2008, Tim began to play the breakthrough role of his career, ‘Agent Kimball Cho’ in the 'CBS' drama series 'The Mentalist.' He continued playing the character for 151 episodes, till 2015. Tim’s character, ‘Cho,’ was a 'California Bureau of Investigation' (CBI) agent later promoted as a special agent. ‘Cho’ was a polar opposite to Simon Baker's character, ‘Patrick Jane,’ but admired him for his impeccable powers of observation. Tim’s character was also given a romantic angle in the series. In the second season, the character had a girlfriend, ‘Elise Chaye’ (portrayed by Sandrine Holt). In the fourth season, ‘Summer’ (played by Samaire Armstrong), a prostitute, was his new love interest.
In between filming 'The Mentalist,' Tim continued taking up other projects. He appeared as ‘En-Joo’ in the 2008 action flick 'Rambo.' In 2015, he had a brief recurring role (three episodes) in 'The CW' supernatural teen drama 'The Vampire Diaries.'
In 2012, Tim launched a production company named 'One Shoot Films.' He announced the launch with a competition that invited amateur and upcoming filmmakers to participate in a project that specifically focused on child abduction and sexually abused children.
Tim has also worked as a voice artist. He voiced the video game characters ‘Dogen,’ a black-market boss from 'Mirror's Edge Catalyst,' and ‘Morgan Yu/January,’ the main character in 'Prey.' He portrayed ‘Ray,’ a prominent character, in the play 'Aubergine.'
Tim appeared as a school superintendent in the 2018 science-fantasy film 'A Wrinkle in Time.' He had a brief recurring (four episodes) in the cable TV series 'Marvel's Cloak & Dagger.' The play featured him as ‘Ivan Hess,’ ‘Mina's (played by Ally Maki) father.
Currently, Tim appears as ‘HPD Detective Gordon Katsumoto’ in the crime drama 'Magnum P.I.' In this revival of the series of the same name that was aired in the 1980s, Tim's character dislikes the title character but ends up helping him. Tim hosted the 18th 'Annual PRISM Awards Showcase.'
Family & Personal Life
Tim is married to actor Gina Marie May and has a daughter named Bianca Jooyung Kang (born on November 7, 2009). After becoming a father, Tim was motivated to venture into philanthropy. He supports the 'National Center for Missing and Exploited Children' (NCMEC) and also serves as the organization’s national spokesperson. ‘NCMEC’ is a non-profit venture that helps people locate abducted or runaway children.
Tim is a black belt in Taekwondo. He has performed most of the stunts for 'The Mentalist.' Tim was 10 when he started his Taekwondo training, and by high school, he was weight-trained for football. The roles he portrays require a fit and shaped body. Tim’s trainer, Derius K Pierce, introduced him to TRX suspension training, plyometrics, and body weight training. Additionally, Tim focuses on cardio and follows the ‘Paleo Diet.’ He also enjoys skydiving.
Tim has been raised in a very academic household. His younger brother is an attorney, and all his cousins are in professions not related to the entertainment industry. Acting was never on Tim's list of career options. Hence, he had initially applied to law school. Unfortunately, he had soon realized law was not his cup of tea and had eventually dropped his decision.
Tim’s decision to become an actor was triggered when he was at the peak of his finance career. He once made the blunder of selling shares when he was supposed to buy them. This happened because he was focusing more on his monologue for that night’s acting class. Tim then finally decided to quit and devote his time completely to acting instead.