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Mr. Henry Yan-Hock  Ong

Mr. Henry Yan-Hock Ong
  • November 23, 1949 - September 29, 2018
  • Los Angeles, California

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Memories & Candles

“I didn't know Henry well but met him through Shishir Kurup & Elizabeth Wong. The moment of his tenderness that imprinted itself on me was when I was...Read More »
1 of 35 | Posted by: Nicole Gabriella Scipione - CA

“I can't believe Henry is gone. He was a brilliant person. Kind, funny in a subtle way, and was wise beyond his years. He was gentle, but was a...Read More »
2 of 35 | Posted by: Flora Stewart - Los Angeles, CA

“Henry Ong was a brilliant light amongst us. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting him through the network of Asian American actors in Los Angeles...Read More »
3 of 35 | Posted by: Joyce Liu-Countryman - Glendale, CA

“Dear Henry, I met you so many years ago in Chicago when I just arrived in the US. I was cast in your play "Madame Mao's memories" as a...Read More »
4 of 35 | Posted by: Lee Chen-Norman - Monterey Park, CA

“Dear Stella, Matthew, and the Ong Family,We're so very sorry for your deep loss. Henry was one of a kind and it was a privilege to know him. I wish...Read More »
5 of 35 | Posted by: Samantha & James Warren - CA

“Once I met Henry, it seemed like we were old friends. I attended nearly all of his productions in the past few years and followed him to many venues...Read More »
6 of 35 | Posted by: Albert E. Aubin - Los Angeles, CA

“When I met Henry many, many years ago he wrote a review of my movie, Odd Birds. Now I find myself in the intimidating position of attempting to write...Read More »
7 of 35 | Posted by: Jeanne Collachia - Hollywood, CA

“Earlier this year, Henry Ong kindly agreed be a visiting artist for my advanced playwriting class. On the day, he called me panicked because his GPS...Read More »
8 of 35 | Posted by: Elizabeth Wong - Monterey Park, CA


9 of 35 | Posted by: John Kerr - Fort Collins, CO

“I first met Henry in class at Iowa State University when we were working on our Master's Degrees. He live a short time with our family and could...Read More »
10 of 35 | Posted by: Susan Nicholson - Chicago, IL

“Henry found Frank and me at every show we we at together.... made us feel 'special, famous, LOVED'. He gave fully of his heart, his humor, his talent...Read More »
11 of 35 | Posted by: laura gardner - Tujunga, CA

“There is no overstating the contribution to theater and literature that Henry Ong made. His plays have depth, brilliance, heart, and will live on--...Read More »
12 of 35 | Posted by: Rip Rense - Los Angeles, CA

“Sometimes memories sneak out of your eyes and roll down your cheeks .I met Henry via his sister Noi , my friend of 40 years .I only met him once but...Read More »
13 of 35 | Posted by: tina cook - Poulton, CA

“If we were with you around our birthdays, you always made sure we had a cake to celebrate. If there were 2 birthdays to celebrate, you had 2 cakes....Read More »
14 of 35 | Posted by: Jully Lee - Glendale, CA - Friend

“I met Henry through Matthew more than twenty years ago and became very interested in his writing more than ten years ago. As others have noted, his...Read More »
15 of 35 | Posted by: David Saunders - Lomita, CA

“I came to know Henry when he shared his passion for theatre with me as his insurance agent when underwriting several of his writing classes and...Read More »
16 of 35 | Posted by: Patricia Aleman - Atwater Village, CA

“Henry was always so kind, enthusiastic and sweet whenever I saw him. I've been really moved reading the outpouring of love for him. His legacy makes...Read More »
17 of 35 | Posted by: Laural Meade - Los Angeles, CA

“I knew Henry through the Anthony Trollope Facebook group. He brought so much fun, love and laughter to our discussions. So, although we did not meet...Read More »
18 of 35 | Posted by: John Spender - Friend

“Henry, you made the world brighter, more fun, more interesting. I always felt special in your presence, as if you were sharing some of life's secrets...Read More »
19 of 35 | Posted by: Loretta Henslick - Upland, CA

“I cant believe this is real. I just saw Henry at his last show and he seemed as vibrant as ever. We are all heartbroken. Sweet Karma was my...Read More »
20 of 35 | Posted by: DC Wolfe - alhambra, CA - Friend

“We will always miss Henry's sweet, sunny smile and friendship. It was a pleasure to have known him! I realized looking through all the many, many...Read More »
21 of 35 | Posted by: Travis Michael Holder - CA

“Henry was an honest man who, despite considerable pressure to conform to the popular version of events in his play, "Fabric" Henry portrayed the true...Read More »
22 of 35 | Posted by: Phil Bonner - Colorado Springs, CO

“Phil ”
23 of 35 | Posted by: Bonner - Colorado Springs, CO

“I knew Henry from the Trollope Society Facebook group filled with wonderful people from around the world, including sweet Henry. He brought so much...Read More »
24 of 35 | Posted by: Kathy Halvorsen - Hancock, MI

“"May you live in interesting times," is a old adage we've all heard.Henry did it one better.He created interesting times. ”
25 of 35 | Posted by: Paul Hoan Zeidler - Los Angeles, WI

“I met Henry back in 2006 for a Pinoy Stories Filipino production he produced In the LA community of Eagle Rock. Although Henry wasn't Filipino, but...Read More »
26 of 35 | Posted by: R.A. Mendoza - Los Angeles

“Over 20 yrs a friend dear person, kind person, generous and witty person, loving and encouraging friend. You wanted the best for me and you honored...Read More »
27 of 35 | Posted by: Carole Goldman - Los Angeles, CA

“Henry--You brought grace, and delicacy and joy, humor to each life you touched--no matter how slight. You will be/are sorely missed. Judith Killen ”
28 of 35 | Posted by: Judith Killen - Richmond, KY

“My deepest condolences to his family .... his mum who I have met when we were in primary school, his husband Matthew who he spoke about when we met...Read More »
29 of 35 | Posted by: Joseph Then - Classmate

“Quiet Henry Ong was a giant. In person he was your friend and champion, it was never about him. And in the final analysis, for Henry it was about the...Read More »
30 of 35 | Posted by: darrell kunitomi - LA, CA

“Dear, Henry, you were/are one of a kind, a treasure, a funny and kind man, who leaves behind more friends, all of them famous, than you could ever...Read More »
31 of 35 | Posted by: bob blackburn - hollywood, CA

“You are so loved by so many, beautiful and kind Henry. Dear to my heart, now,then and always. ”
32 of 35 | Posted by: Denise Blasor - Reseda, CA

“Dear Henry and family,Thank you Henry for being a part of my LA theatre experience. I loved the community that you supported and brought together in...Read More »
33 of 35 | Posted by: Leah Zhang - Los Angeles, CA

“Dearest Henry, Thank you for making me famous! You will be pointedly missed. Take sweet care. Ezra ”
34 of 35 | Posted by: Ezra Buzzington

“Very important and most famous, Henry Ong; beloved by so many. His shine was truly infectious... he lives on through his work, and his loved ones. ”
35 of 35 | Posted by: Lori Nelson - Trinidad, CA


Henry Ong, a fixture of the Los Angeles theatre community for more than 35 years, died Saturday, September 29th after a long battle with cancer. Ong was the quintessential Los Angeles playwright: a first-generation Asian-American, he was interested in the exploring the immigrant experience, and conducted writing/oral history workshops in many LA communities as diverse as the city itself.

Ong grew up in Singapore and later attended graduate school in the U.S., graduating with a master's degree in journalism. Post-graduation, he moved to Los Angeles, where he began to pursue his career as a playwright. He was a member of Interact Theatre Company and Company of Angels. In 2014 he was awarded the Lee Melville Award from Playwrights Arena for outstanding contribution to theatre in Los Angeles.

An internationally-produced playwright, Ong's works span an eclectic mix, from plays inspired by true events to biographical drama and adaptations of classic novels. Credits include: "Madame Mao's Memories," "Sweet Karma," "Fabric," "The Legend of the White Snake," and "People Like Me," which won him a Drama-Logue Award for Excellence in Writing in 1998. A number of his plays have been produced nationally, including New York and San Diego (at the Old Globe Theatre); as well as internationally in London, Edinburgh and Singapore. Other works include: "The Masseur," "Ascent," and theatrical adaptations of the Anthony Trollope novels Rachel Ray, and Nina Balatka, all in various stages of development.

Ong was a 16-time recipient of Artist-in-Residence grants from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. He collaborated with Marlton School, Los Angeles' only day school for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, on staging a series of Asian folktales for youth. In addition, he was one of the founding members of the non-profit Artists Against Oppression (AAO), whose primary mission is to create and support artistic endeavors that elevate the lives of oppressed or disenfranchised communities.

In 2017, Ong fulfilled a life-long dream to have his six-hour adaptation of the Chinese classic, "Dream of the Red Chamber" staged, co-directing the play at the Edward Vincent Jr Park in Inglewood. In June his play, "The Blade of Jealousy," an adaptation of the Spanish Renaissance Playwright Tirso de Molina's "La Celosa De Sí Misma," had its world premiere at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks.

As a champion of LA theatre, Ong was an avid theatre-goer, attending 150 performances annually. He served for many seasons as an active voter for The Ovation Awards, the Southern California award for excellence in theatre.

Dubbed "the shyest man in theatre" by theatre website Stage Raw, Henry famously avoided the spotlight and cameras unless he was on the other side of the lens. Everyone in the theatre was "a famous person" in his world. No audience member or performer escaped his attention. Ong felt, he said in a 2016 Stage Raw interview, that "everybody deserves to be seen, and wants to be seen."

Henry is survived by his husband Matthew Black, mother Geok Lian Yan, and sisters Noi Giddings and Stella Ong.

written by: Sandra Zeitzew