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Kenneth Leung is an American actor of Chinese ancestry. He plays Commander Zhao in Netflix's live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender.[1]

Avatar: The Last Airbender (Netflix) credits[]

Commander Zhao[]

Character information: Zhao

Selected other credits[]



Biographical information[]

Personal life[]

Ken Leung was born and raised in the Two Bridges section of the Lower East Side in New York City to Chinese parents. His family moved to Midwood, Brooklyn, where he grew up before finishing high school in Old Bridge, New Jersey. He attended NYU and studied acting with Catherine Russell and Nan Smithner, then briefly with Anne Jackson at HB Studio.


In 1997, Leung made his debut as the villainous henchman Sang opposite Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in Brett Ratner's Rush Hour. Ratner stated, "[Leung]'s a great actor. In my opinion, he's equivalent to Philip Seymour Hoffman as far as talent is concerned." He would later work with Ratner in the films Red Dragon, The Family Man, and X-Men: The Last Stand. Edward Norton cast Leung in his directorial debut Keeping the Faith in 2000. According to The Washington Post, Norton said Leung's "showstopping performance... turned a throwaway scene into one of the film's best." Impressed with his acting skills, Norton said that Leung would be appropriate for a role in Hamlet or Osborne's Look Back in Anger: "You sense hidden levels within him and he conveys an intensity of mind. I don't think anybody's tapped his full range yet." Additionally, Leung has appeared in several independent and television films, as well as features, including four films with Brett Ratner and two with Spike Lee. In 1998, he played James the Less and God in Terrence McNally's passion play, Corpus Christi, and in 2002 made his Broadway debut in the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, also appearing on the cast recording.

In 2007, he starred in the independent film Shanghai Kiss with Hayden Panettiere, and earned a Special Mention at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. That same year he guest-starred in the final season of the HBO drama series The Sopranos. He followed this with the ABC drama Lost as Miles Straume from the series' fourth season through the rest of its run.

On September 29, 2017, ABC premiered Inhumans, an adaptation of the Marvel Comics race of Moon-dwelling superhumans whose abilities are derived from ancient genetic manipulation by the extraterrestrial Kree. Leung played Karnak, a member of the Inhuman Royal Family.


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