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Brenda Song
Debi-Patton-Photoshoot-brenda-song-6899301-300-400
Gender: Female
Date of birth: March 27, 1988 (aged 29)
Place of birth: Carmichael, California, USA
Role(s): London Tipton
Other Notable Projects: College Road Trip
Stuck in the Suburbs
Wendy Wu: Homcoming Warrior
Brenda Song (born March 27, 1988) is an American actress, singer, and model. Song started in show business as a child fashion model. She began her television career by starring in the television shows Fudge (1995) and 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd(1999). After many commercials and television roles in the late 1990s, Song won a Young Artist Award for her performance in The Ultimate Christmas Present (2000). She went on to appear in theatrical films aimed at children, such as Like Mike (2002) and College Road Trip (2008). In 2002, she signed a contract with the Disney Channel. Her movies on the Disney Channel include Get a Clue (2002) and Stuck in the Suburbs (2004). In 2005, she was selected for a role in the Emmy-nominated Disney series, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, in which she played hotel heiress London Tipton. Song earned an Asian Excellence Award nomination for her part in the television series. Song continues portraying the character in The Suite Life on Deck. Song's character is the channel's longest continuous female character.She is a whole lot of fun if you are her friend. Her fame increased after she played the title role in the Disney Channel Original Movie, Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior. The film was one of the top rated Disney Channel Original Movies with over 5.7 million viewers on the night of its premiere. In 2006, Song was named the "Queen of Disney" by Cosmogirl Magazine due to her contributions on the channel. TV Guide listed her in its 2008 "13 Hottest Young Stars to Watch".

Early life

Brenda Song was born in Carmichael, California, a suburb of Sacramento, to a Hmong father and a Thai mother who had been adopted by a Hmong family. Her paternal grandparents were from the Xiong clan but changed their last name to Song when the family immigrated to the United States. Her parents were born in Asia and met as adults in Sacramento. Her father works as a schoolteacher and her mother is a homemaker. She has two younger brothers, Timmy and Nathan. When she was six years old, Song moved with her mother to Los Angeles to support her acting career; the rest of the family followed two years later. As a young girl, Song wanted to do ballet, while her younger brother wanted to take taekwondo. She said, "my mom only wanted to take us to one place" so they settled on taekwondo. Although Song cried all the way through her first class, she now holds a black belt in taekwondo. Song was named an All-American Scholar in the ninth grade. She was homeschooled and earned a high school diploma at age 16, then took courses at a community college and online from the University of California, Berkeley with a major in psychology and a minor in business.

Acting

Early work

Suitelifezackandcody song

Brenda Song

Brenda Song started in show business as a child fashion model in San Francisco after being spotted in a shopping mall by an agent from a modeling school. She began acting at the age of five or six in a Little Caesars commercial, and then a Barbie commercial. Her first film role was in the 1995 Requiem, an AFI student short film by actress Elizabeth Sung. "She came in confident [at the auditions]. She was very focused, and it was very obvious that she loved what she was doing," said Sung. The short film is about waitress/dancer, Fong who remembers her loving brother and their bittersweet childhood in Hong Kong. The seven-year-old Song played a young version of "Fong", who is portrayed as an adult by Tamlyn Tomita. The film won a CINE Golden Eagle award. She appeared in another
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short film directed by Elizabeth Sung called The White Fox.

Song appeared in two episodes of the television program Thunder Alley and was a season regular in the children's television series, Fudge where she portrayed Jenny. Her theatrical film debut was in Santa with Muscles, a 1996 independent film starring professional wrestler Hulk Hogan. After a small role in Leave It to Beaver (1997), she starred in the Nickelodeon television series, 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd where she played Sariffa Chung in thirteen episodes. After 100 Deeds, she had a number of small parts in television shows such as 7th Heaven, Judging Amy, ER, Once and Again and Bette, where she met Ashley Tisdale. Two of Song's early roles led to recognition in the Young Artist Awards. She starred in the 2000 Disney Channel Original Movie The Ultimate Christmas Present, which won her the award for "Best Performance in a TV Movie Comedy, Supporting Young Actress". The film centers two teenage girls, Allison Thompson (Hallee Hirsh) and Samantha Kwan (Song) who find a weather machine and make it snow in Los Angeles. Her 2002 appearance on The Bernie Mac Show led to a nomination for "Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series, Guest Starring Young Actress". In the same year, she starred in the 20th Century Fox family film Like Mike, which grossed over $50 million. The film also starred rapper Bow Wow as an orphan who can suddenly play NBA-level basketball. Song portrayed the character Reg Stevens, a thirteen-year old orphan. Although the film was criticized for its "frightening myths about adoption", it was successful enough to spawn a sequel. Song did not participate in the sequel. In 2002, Song signed a contract with Disney and appeared in the Disney Channel movie, Get a Clue. After 2002, Song continued to make guest appearances in American situation comedies such as That's So Raven and One on One. She had a recurring role as Tia in the Disney Channel series Phil of the Future, appearing in seven episodes of the series in 2004 and 2005. In late 2004, Song starred in the Disney Channel Original Movie Stuck in the Suburbs, portraying Natasha Kwon-Schwartz. The television premiere received 3.7 million viewers. The film is about two teenage girls living in suburbia who accidentally exchange cell phones with a famous teen musician. She said later: "When Stuck came out it was crazy 'cause we went to Six Flags and we were there and so many kids recognized us from Stuck in the Suburbs, I'm like wow that movie must have done really well." That year, Song posed for the cover of Teen People with her Get a Clue co-star Lindsay Lohan

The Suite Life of Zack and Cody

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Brenda as London Tipton in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody

In 2005, Song received the role of the spoiled heiress London Tipton in the Disney Channel Original Series, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. The role was named "Paris" in an early script and is an allusion to "Paris Hilton" (London spoofing Paris, and Tipton is the name of the hotel her father owns in the show). She got the role without an audition, and was surprised to find her friend Ashley Tisdale working in the show. Song says "London is my fantasy person, I wish I could be her. I wish I had her closet." The series is about the residents and workers at the fictional Tipton Hotel in Boston and mainly centers the trouble-making twins Zack and Cody Martin (Dylan and Cole Sprouse) and London Tipton (Song). The series premiered on the Disney Channel on March 18, 2005, receiving four million viewers, making it the most successful premiere for the Disney Channel in 2005. In 2007, the series was the top rated television program among children aged 6 to 11 and was the second top rated television program for children aged 9 to 14. Song's participation in the series led to her becoming highly popular among children between the ages of seven and ten. In 2006, Song was featured in Teen Peoples "Young Hollywood" issue which described her role in the Suite Life as her breakout role. Song's performance in the Suite Life series was often praised by critics. In an April 2009 andPOP.com article, they stated that as London Tipton, "Song is the One to Steal the Spotlight" on the Disney Channel. They said: "if you ever watched an episode of ‘The Suite Life with Zack & Cody’ you should realize that show is watchable because of one character: London Tipton. Brenda plays the ditzy spoiled hotel heiress London (yup, an allusion to Paris Hilton) and, if I could say so myself, she does quite an excellent job doing so." While commenting on Song, MSNs 2009 cover story on the series stated, "Song is one of the main reasons why the "Suite Life" franchise remains one of the most successful and highly rated series in the Disney stable." In a 2009 People magazine article, the character was described as a "melodramatic high-seas diva." The series eventually earned a 2007 Young Artist Award for "Best Family Television Series (comedy)", Emmy nominations for "Outstanding Children's Program" (twice) and "Outstanding Choreography", and three Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award nominations for "Favorite TV show" in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2006, Song earned an Asian Excellence Award nomination for "Outstanding Newcomer" for her part in the series. After her debut on the Suite Life series, Song became a regular on the Disney Channel and had a voice role in Disney Channel's American Dragon: Jake Long series. In 2006, Song had a voice-over role in Holidaze: The Christmas That Almost Didn't Happen. She later starred in an online series called London Tipton's Yay Me! based on the episode "Tiptonline" on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.

Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior

Song's first starring role as the title character was in the 2006 Disney Channel Original Movie Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior, which had over 5.7 million viewers at its premiere. At first, Wendy Wu was planned to be a comedy, but the directors of the film were having trouble finding a suitable actor with both the comedic presence and taekwondo ability to play the main character, originally named Kenny Lu. Lydia Cook, one of the films's directors said, "Brenda was originally brought in to play the [supporting] monk’s role. We started training with her in martial arts, and that’s when we realized that she should be Kenny Lu. They quickly switched things around and offered Brenda the lead in the movie. She had the perfect combination of wit and martial arts." Song had to break a brick with her hand in a screen test before landing the title role. According to The New York Times, the film became a "star vehicle" for Song. The film was about an average, popular Chinese-American teenager whose life is turned upside down by a visit from a young Chinese monk (Shin Koyamada). The monk claims she is the reincarnation of a powerful female warrior and the only person who can prevent an ancient evil spirit from destroying the world. In a second story line, Wendy and most of her family struggle with keeping their culture and heritage. Song felt she could relate to the message since she knew little about her own people before making the film. She said: "I really identified with Wendy because I don’t want to not know where I came from". To promote the film, she posed for the cover of Seventeen, Teen People, Teen, Seventeen Malaysia and several other magazines, and traveled to Malaysia, Singapore, Mexico and Costa Rica. A Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior sequel, starring Song and Koyamada, was also announced in the end of 2007. The film received positive reviews from critics. UltimateDisney.com called the role "a strong departure from her flaky London Tipton character in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody", adding that Song "shows in this movie that she no longer has to restrict herself to playing the dumb one." The site also praised the film stating, "Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior is an enjoyable little telefilm, rife with killer action sequences (for a DCOM), and a great showcase of talent in both acting and martial for Brenda Song. Aside from a few totally cliched characters and situations, it's worth 91 minutes of your time." Allmovie described Song as a "charming and appealing personality, even when playing a shallow airhead". While commending Disney for the strong Asian cast, a BellaOnline review noted that that it is rare to see a female martial arts star with a black belt. Song did most of her own stunt work for the film with guidance from Koichi Sakamoto, executive producer for the Power Rangers series. Song was inspired to endure the stunt training by the way her mother dealt with breast cancer in 2005. Disney Channel executive vice president Gary Marsh called the film "Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" and said of Song: "She's incredibly talented, she's smart. She adds diversity to our network, and she's a real kid."

Theatrical films and Suite Life spin-off

London Tipton Deck

Brenda as London in The Suite Life on Deck

In 2008, Song appeared in the Walt Disney Pictures film College Road Trip alongside Raven-Symoné and Martin Lawrence. In its opening weekend in March 2008, the film grossed $13.6 million, ranking #2 at the box office. The family film centers on college-bound teen Melanie Porter (Symoné), who goes on a road trip to different colleges with her father, while her college-bound friends Nancy Carter (Song) and Katie (Margo Harshman) surprise Melanie on her road trip. The film grossed $45 million in the United States and $6 million outside the United States. Although it earned a Teen Choice Award nomination for "choice movie comedy", the acting was panned and the film mainly received negative reviews. A Daily Mail review said the film was "one of those churn-'em-out Disney comedies in which every performer seems to be competing to give the most annoying performance in cinematic history." After being a captain for three years in the Disney Channel Games, she was featured in Studio DC: Almost Live with other Disney stars. She also had guest voice roles in Phineas & Ferb and The Emperor's New School. She starred in the Lifetime Movie Network telefilm Special Delivery, a film about bonded courier, Maxine (Lisa Edelstein), who is forced to take care of a 14-year old troubled teen, Alice (Song). The Daily Record called it a "likeable comedy". The Australian publication, Urban CineFilm gave Song a positive review for her performance in the film. Song reprised her role as London Tipton in the 2008 Suite Life spin-off/sequel, The Suite Life on Deck. The show's premiere on the Disney Channel drew 5.7 million viewers, and it became the most-watched series premiere on Canada's Family Channel. The show became 2008's highest-rated scripted series among children aged 6 to 11 and among tweens. Disney ordered a second season for the series which aired in August 2009. In May 2009, Disney Channel's executive vice president Gary Marsh issued a press release where he said: "with this second-season extension, the cast of ‘The Suite Life’ makes Disney Channel history by becoming the longest running continuous characters on our air - 138 half-hour episodes. We are thrilled for them, and for the brilliant, inspired production team that made this extraordinary run possible." Song's character, London Tipton, is Disney Channel's longest continuous female character. Song starred as Paige in a December 2008 animated TV special for NBC, "Macy's Presents Little Spirit: Christmas in New York". The animated TV special is about a friendly New York cab driver (Danny DeVito) who tells a magical story to two sisters (Song and Rachel Shier). The television special received five million viewers. In late 2008, Song made a special appearance at the grand opening of the RTA HealthLine in Cleveland.

In October 2009, Song joined the main cast of Columbia Pictures' The Social Network alongside Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake. David Fincher will direct the film, while Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay adapted from the novel The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal. The film is about the founders of the popular social networking site, Facebook and began filming in October 2009. Song has been represented by the International Creative Management and Richard Konigsberg Management.

DreamWorks Animation reports Brenda Song will voice Tecna in the live-action/animated version of Tom and Jerry.

Filmography

Films

Year Title Role Notes
1995 Requiem Young Fong
1996 Santa with Muscles Susan
1997 Leave It to Beaver Susan Acustis
1999 The White Fox N/A Short film
2000 The Ultimate Christmas Present Samantha Kwan Disney Channel Original Movie, Young Artist Award
2002 Like Mike Reg Stevens Main role
Get a Clue Jennifer Disney Channel Original Movie
2004 Stuck in the Suburbs Natasha Kwon-Schwartz Main role/Disney Channel Original Movie
A Cinderella Story Kelly Anderson Warner Bros. film
Costume Party Capers: The Incredibles Alex Voice
2006 Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior Wendy Wu Main role
Holidaze: The Christmas That Almost Didn't Happen Treat Voice
2007 American Darlings Marissa Lead/never released
2008 Special Delivery Alice Cantwell Lifetime Movie Network
College Road Trip Nancy Walt Disney Pictures
Macy's Presents Little Spirit: Christmas in New York Paige NBC television special
2010
The Social Network Joanna Simmons Columbia Pictures
2011 The Little Engine that Could Shiny Passenger Train Voice

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1995 Fudge Jennie Season one regular
1999 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd Sariffa Chung
2004–2005 Phil of the Future Tia 7 episodes
2005–2008 The Suite Life of Zack & Cody London Tipton Main role
2007 Pass the Plate Host Disney Channel miniseries
2008–2011 The Suite Life on Deck London Tipton Main role
2013-2014 Dads Veronica Main role

Online series

Year Title Role
2006 Disney Channel's Imagineer That Herself
2007–pres London Tipton's Yay Me! London Tipton

Guest appearances

Year Title Role Notes
1994

1995

Thunder Alley Polly Two episodes
1996 Small Talk Panelist Five episodes
1999 Once and Again Chrissy Aired on October 19, 1999
MADtv Trick-or-Treater Cameo appearance
Popular Mandy Shepherd Brief appearance
2000 7th Heaven Cynthia Brief appearance
2001 Bette Stacey Aired on February 7, 2001
ER Lynda An One episode
Judging Amy Vanessa Pran Aired on October 9, 2001
2002 The Bernie Mac Show Shannon Young Artist Award nomination
George Lopez Jennifer Aired on October 9, 2002
The Brothers García Jenny Episode: Love Me Tender
For the People N/A Episode: Nascent
2003 That's So Raven Amber Aired on June 20, 2003
One on One Asanti Aired on November 11, 2003
2006 That's So Raven London Tipton Part of That's So Suite Life of Hannah Montana
American Dragon: Jake Long Tracey Voice
Disney Channel Games 2006 Herself Disney Channel special
2007 The Emperor's New School Dancing queen Voice
Disney Channel Games 2007 Herself Disney Channel special
2008 Studio DC: Almost Live Herself/London Tipton
Disney Channel Games 2008 Herself Disney Channel special
2009 Phineas and Ferb Wendy Voice
Wizards of Waverly Place London Tipton Part of Wizards on Deck With Hannah Montana
Hannah Montana London Tipton Part of Wizards on Deck With Hannah Montana
Styl'd Herself MTV series
2013 New Girl Daisy Four Episodes

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Motive Result
2001 Young Artist Award "Best Performance in a TV Movie (Comedy), Supporting Young Actress" The Ultimate Christmas Present Won
2003 Young Artist Award "Best Performance in a Television Comedy Series, Guest Starring Young Actress" The Bernie Mac Show Nominated
2006 Asian Excellence Award "Newcomers Award" The Suite Life of Zack & Cody Nominated
2009 Popstar Magazine's Poptastic Awards "Favourite Television Actress" The Suite Life on Deck Nominated

Gallery

External links

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