Mai Tai Sing Dies: Chinese American Actress & Forbidden City Performer Was 94

Deep Focus Productions

Chinese American actress Mai Tai Sing died on July 11. Sing appeared in numerous films and TV series and was a performer at San Francisco’s legendary Forbidden City nightclub. She was 94.

Sing died in Hawaii after battling heart disease according to the Los Angeles Times. Born Mae Tsang in Oakland on Dec. 22, 1923, Sing’s entertainment career started when she, without any experience in dance, became a chorus girl in Forbidden CIty’s all-Chinese shows in the ’40s.

She rose up in the ranks and became the dance partner of Wilbur Tai Sing. They toured the country and eventually married and had two daughters, but divorced in 1954.

She started to appear in TV and film in the ’50s when Asian Americans were barely seen on the screen. She appeared in episodes of Hong Kong and The New Adventures of China Smith. She went on to appear in Hawaii Five-O in 1975 and Jake and the Fatman in 1990. In film, she appeared in The Golden Horde (1951) and then in the Rudolf Mate-directed Forbidden starring Tony Curtis, Joanne Dru, and Victor Sen Yung. She also starred alongside Jeffrey Hunter in Strange Portrait in 1966. She and Hunter became romantically involved during filming. She also appears in archival footage in the 1988 Deep Focus documentary Forbidden City U.S.A., which chronicles the club’s international reputation as a showcase of Chinese American performers.

In the ’70s, she moved to Hawaii and managed nightclubs that would host musical acts. She retired in 2003.

Sing is survived by her daughters Harvey and Rouillard.

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