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B.D. Wong: Out Author, Actor and Parent
by Christopher Stone, November 16, 2005
B.D. Wong Following Foo cover B.D. Wong and son Jackson Foo

You may think of B.D. Wong as Father Ray Mukada, for six seasons, the cockeyed- optimist priest on HBO's gritty series Oz. For others, Wong will forever be Dr. George Huang, the smoldering forensic psychiatrist on Law & Order: SVU, the NBC-TV spin-off series that has become more popular than its progenitor. But, if you're Jackson Foo Wong, B.D. Wong is simply Daddy.

Despite apparent ease with onstage nudity and edgy characterizations, B.D Wong can be a very private person. He often answers media questions by simply stating, “That's much too personal!” Until last year, 5-year-old Jackson Foo Wong had two daddies: Wong and his spousal equivalent Richie Jackson. Since the couple separated in the Summer of 2004, Richie is no longer Jackson 's father. He's the boy's blood uncle because Jackson Foo is the product of Richie's sister's egg and BD's sperm.

As for B.D., his beginnings were far more traditional than his son's. Arriving on October 24, 1962 , in San Francisco, California, Bradley Darryl Wong was born to heterosexual parents in the city's Sunset District. Early on, Wong was interested in music. His affinity was encouraged by his family, and it led to the child's discovery of acting.

Demonstrating his penchant for privacy, Wong has revealed little about his early years. He claims not to have been raised in any religion, developing an avid interest in Bible stories because of musicals such as Godspell, Jesus Christ, Superstar, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Mentored by a “color-blind” drama teacher, Bradley became a part of the Bay Area community theater scene while still a student at Lincoln High School.

Following graduation from San Francisco State University, Wong relocated to Manhattan, where he began performing in dinner theater and off Broadway. After making his professional acting debut at 20, in the New York Town Hall production of Androcles and the Lion, Bradley won small roles in CBS-TV's Simon and Simon, and PBS' Sesame Street, before making his feature film debut in The Karate Kid II (1986).

Bradley Darryl shortened his name to B.D. before his Broadway debut in the gender- elusive M. Butterfly. Playing Song Liling, Wong made one of the most auspicious debuts in Broadway history, winning Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Clarence Derwent, and Theatre World awards for his performance. To this day, B.D. is the only actor to win every one of these prestigious honors for the same show.

His historic stage triumph led to featured roles in Jurassic Park (1993), and, the same year, as the gay Kico Govantes in HBO's adaptation of Randy Shilts' landmark AIDS novel And the Band Played On. Despite this gay role and one as a flamboyant wedding planner in 1991's Father of the Bride (and its 1995 sequel) B.D. remained closeted publicly. Privately, Wong's sexual orientation was known and supported.

Even before his lavishly acclaimed and awarded Broadway debut, Wong was in a committed relationship with his agent Richie Jackson. In 2003, B.D. described his partner of fifteen years to the Advocate as “a New York Jew who never steps off the curb until the light turns green.”

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