Swedish actor Warner Oland’s facial features allowed him to easily play the part of Asian characters; Keye Luke reported that he needed no makeup except a “little goatee on his chin”. Given Hollywood’s reluctance to hire Asian actors for substantial roles during that period (with only a few reluctant exceptions, such as Anna May Wong, Sessue Hayakawa, and Philip Ahn), he portrayed a variety of Asian characters in several movies before being offered the leading role in the 1929 film, The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu as the first onscreen portrayal of the title character. A box office success, the film made Oland a star and during the next two years, he portrayed the evil Dr. Fu Manchu in three more films. Firmly locked into such roles, he was cast as Charlie Chan in the 1931 international detective mystery film Charlie Chan Carries On

Swedish actor Warner Oland’s facial features allowed him to easily play the part of Asian characters; Keye Luke reported that he needed no makeup except a “little goatee on his chin”. Given Hollywood’s reluctance to hire Asian actors for substantial roles during that period (with only a few reluctant exceptions, such as Anna May Wong, Sessue Hayakawa, and Philip Ahn), he portrayed a variety of Asian characters in several movies before being offered the leading role in the 1929 film, The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu as the first onscreen portrayal of the title character. A box office success, the film made Oland a star and during the next two years, he portrayed the evil Dr. Fu Manchu in three more films. Firmly locked into such roles, he was cast as Charlie Chan in the 1931 international detective mystery film Charlie Chan Carries On

Promotional materials for The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu (1929)

Promotional materials for The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu (1929)

Poster for The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu (1929)

Poster for The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu (1929)

Dr. Fu Manchu

Dr. Fu Manchu

The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu (1913), published in the US as The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu by Sax Rohmer

Christopher Lee being insidious as Dr. Fu Manchu.

Christopher Lee being insidious as Dr. Fu Manchu.

Christopher Lee as Dr. Fu Manchu in a behind the scenes photo.

Christopher Lee as Dr. Fu Manchu in a behind the scenes photo.

Sax Rohmer (Arthur Henry Sarsfield Ward) creator of Dr. Fu Manchu was born February 15th 1883.

Sax Rohmer (Arthur Henry Sarsfield Ward) creator of Dr. Fu Manchu was born February 15th 1883.