Mostly Credited As: Jack Soo
Birth Name: Goro Suzuki
Date Of Birth: October 28, 1916 (Age 62)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: Oakland, California
Date Of Death: January 11, 1979
Cause Of Death: cancer of the esophagus
Height: 5' 11" (1.8 m)
Japanese-American actor and comedian Jack Soo made a place for himself when roles for Asians/Asian-Americans were scarce. Undaunted by his time spent in a Utah internment camp during WWII, his dry, deadpan wit made him a popular stand-up comic. In 1958, he was cast as Sammy Fong in the Broadway musical Flower Drum Song by Rodgers and Hammerstein. He recreated his performance for the film version of the show in 1961. Once in Hollywood, he began getting roles in films like Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? with a cast that included Dean Martin, Elizabeth Montgomery and Carol Burnett and Thoroughly Modern Millie which starred Julie Andrews. He also found work in television on various shows including Hawaii Five-O, The Odd Couple and Police Story.
In 1975, he reunited with old friend Danny Arnold with a part in Barney Miller, a series created by Arnold. His performance as the wise-cracking Detective Sgt. Nick Yemana made him a popular member of the cast. During the show's fifth season in 1979, Soo succumbed to esophageal cancer. In May of that year, a retrospective of his Barney Miller appearances aired in place of a regular episode, featuring rememberances by his castmates.
Reportedly, he maintained his sense of humor despite his illness and is said to have quipped to Barney Miller star Hal Linden "It must have been the coffee" before a scheduled surgery. The line is a reference to the poor coffee making abilities of his Barney Miller character, Nick Yemana.