Beulah Kwoh

The 1955 movie Love Is a Many Splendored Thing won Academy Awards for Best Song and Best Costumes, and featured two major Hollywood stars, William Holden and Jennifer Jones. Another actor in the film, Beulah Quo, later became a star of the United Board, as a trustee, advisor, and generous donor.

Before Hollywood beckoned, Beulah Kwoh (she used “Quo” as her stage name) worked as a teacher in the 1940s and 1950s, at Ginling Women’s College and at a Los Angeles community college. She applied to be a dialect coach for Jennifer Jones, who played the role of the widowed Eurasian doctor, Han Suyin, in the film, but instead was cast as Suyin’s aunt. Acting became both career and cause for Mrs. Kwoh, as she was determined to portray Asians and Asian Americans with dignity and honor. She appeared in more than 20 films – including blockbusters such as MacArthur and Chinatown – and made more than 100 television appearances, from miniseries to soap operas.

Mrs. Kwoh served as a United Board trustee from 1982 to 1988 and then as a counselor until her death in 2003. To commemorate her enduring support for Ginling Women’s College, the college’s North American alumnae established a United Board endowment in her name to provide scholarships for Ginling students.

Originally published in Horizons in April 2012.