Studied at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California, USA.
For Mulan (1998), he had another person do his singing voice because his own voice was too good.
In his audition for the film Sixteen Candles (1984), he went through the entire process pretending he did not speak any English, imitating a Korean friend. After he was finished, he eloquently thanked the casting director in perfect English. He was soon cast.
Began his show business career as a street singer.
Grew up in San Francisco's Chinatown.
His mother was interned by the United States during World War II.
In his role in the original cast of the Stephen Sondheim musical, "Pacific Overtures", he performed the song, "Someone in a Tree". Watanabe is arguably best-known as the character, "Long Duk Dong", from Sixteen Candles (1984), in which he famously leaped out of a tree and onto Michael Schoeffling's character, "Jake".
Personal Quotes (1)
My ethnicity works both for and against me. But I look for parts that aren't necessarily Asian, parts that can be played by someone of any background.