Ken Jeong is an American physician, but it is likely that most people do not know him as a doctor. He is, instead, widely known as an actor and comedian. He made his entry into Hollywood when he won the NBC reality show, Big Easy Laff Off in 1985.
The Detroit native rose to prominence in 2009 following his role in the American comedy TV series, Community. He has since starred in other high profile TV shows and movies. Of the lot, Jeong is highly revered for his role as Leslie Chow in The Hangover series.
Ken Jeong Made A Career Switch From Medicine To Comedy
It’s not every day that you find a trained medical doctor make a switch from practicing medicine to entertainment, not just entertainment but full-time comedy. The quality of his performances and commercial success has vindicated his decision.
Kendrick Kang Kah Jeong was born on July 13, 1969, in Detroit, Michigan. He had his high school education at Walter Hines Page Senior High School in Greensboro, North Carolina. Upon completion of his high school education in 1985, he attended Duke University and graduated in 1990 before proceeding to the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine where he obtained His M.D in 1995
It was while studying at UNC, that he started performing at several comedy clubs and Open Mic events for some extra income. One of his earliest TV appearances was in The Office which is one of NBC’s highest-rated shows with an average of 5.4 million viewers. It cost as much as $178,840 for a 30-second commercial. He also appeared in HBO’s comedy-drama television series Entourage.
In 1996, he moved to Los Angeles and found a job as a physician at a Kaiser Permanente hospital in Woodland Hills. He maintained his job as a Doctor while acting on the side. His talent was eventually noticed in 2007, leading to him making his acting debut in the comedy film Knocked Up in which he played the character of Dr. Juno. As a result of the success recorded by that role, he decided to quit his job as a physician and focus wholly on acting.
Jeong Has Been A Part Of Quite A Few Commercially viable Movies
After quitting his medical practice, Jeong did a bit of stand up comedy before he was spotted by manager Brett Carducci who helped him get his first major film as an obstetrician in Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up in 2007. His performance in Knocked Up paved the way for him to be called up to audition for Hangover. The director of director Todd Phillips had been impressed by a clip of him he’d seen on Youtube.
Dr. Jeong was paid $5 million for his role as Mr. Chow, a flamboyant Chinese gangster in The Hangover. The film grossed an impressive $467 million worldwide. Added: Ever since making his acting debut he has starred in several other movies and TV shows such as Role Models, where he played King Argotron.
Role Models was shot on a budget of $28 million but grossed $92.4 million at the box office. He starred on Zookeeper, a comedy movie that raked in $169.8 million on an $80 million budget. Jeong played the software programmer Jerry “Deep” Wang in the Science fiction Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The film was a huge commercial success which definitely must have boosted his earnings a great deal. It made $1.124 billion worldwide on a budget of $195 million.
The physician, comedian, and actor has been able to amass an estimated net worth of $14 million, the bulk of which he earned through his multi-year career as a comedian and actor. With the prospect of new projects on the horizon, it’s only normal to expect a major surge in his net worth in the coming years.
Jeong Is Also Married To A Physician
Dr. Jeong shares a very special friendship with his wife Tran Ho which is evident whenever he speaks about her. Ken is married to Tran Ho a fellow doctor whom he met at a happy hour for young doctors while they were both working at Kaiser Permanente in West California.
Born to Vietnamese parents but raised in the US, Tran is a graduate of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Upon her graduation, she started her first job as a family physician in Woodland Hills and later Thousand Oaks, all in California.
After dating for two years, they married in 2004. They welcomed their twin daughters Alexa and Zooey in 2007. It’s not surprising that both girls have indicated interest to follow in the footsteps of their parents to become medical doctors in the future.
Asides from their inclination to study medicine, Alexa has shown interest in athletics and gymnastics- a surprising trait given that her parents never had any interest in athletics. Zooey on the other hand is showing early signs that she has the talent for comedy. She has appeared alongside her dad on Jimmy Kimmel Live. She has also made a guest appearance in Dr. Ken.
Tran Jeong Is A Cancer Survivor
A little over a year after having her twin daughters, Tran was diagnosed of breast cancer. According to her account, she started feeling a lump in her breast back in 2007 when she started breastfeeding her kids.
She initially felt a lump in her breast in 2007, while breastfeeding the couple’s twin daughters. She commenced a grueling period of chemotherapy that lasted through 16 sessions. She was also subjected to radiation therapy. All through this period, her husband Ken was by her bedside, tending to her while also looking after their young daughters.
In 2009 while at her bedside, he got a call that he had been picked to appear in the hit film The Hangover, because of the precariousness of his wife’s conditions he almost turned down the offer. She however encouraged him to take on the role, he reluctantly accepted. He is on record as saying it was a project that changed his life. At the 2010 MTV Movie Awards, Ken dedicated his award to his wife. In 2010 she was declared cancer-free.