Ke Huy Quan Says He Honored His Mom By Reclaiming Birth Name As An Adult Actor; Declares “Goonies Never Say Die” – Oscars Backstage

Backstage at the Oscars, speaking to the press following his win for Best Supporting Actor in Everything Everywhere All at Once, Ke Huy Quan recalled how it felt to change his name back from an Americanized one suggested to him by a manager long ago.

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“You know, when I started as a kid, it was my birth name Ke Huy Quan,” he said. “And then I remember, when it got really tough, my manager told me, ‘Maybe it would be easier if you were to have an American-sounding name.’ And I was so desperate for a job that I would do anything. And it’s insane that I, at one point, would try a different name, not the name that was given to me, but it can only show you how desperate I was to try to make things different.”

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But when Quan decided to return to acting three years ago after a long fallow period in which he could not find any work, he determinedly used his real name. In doing so, he felt he had honored his mother who had sacrificed so much for him.

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“The very first thing that I wanted to do was to go back to my birth-given name,” he said. “Tonight to see Ariana [DeBose] open that envelope and say, ‘Ke Huy Quan,’ that was a really, really special moment for me. And then immediately I was so emotional, but the first image that I had in my mind was my mom — who is the reason why I am in America, who is the reason why I have a better life, I have all these opportunities. Like I said in my acceptance speech, she sacrificed so much. She had a great life where we came from, and she gave all that up so that all her children — there are nine of us — and every single one of them are so grateful to my parents.”

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Quan also noted that his Goonies co-stars have been especially supportive of his career resurgence. He starred as a wacky invention geek named Data in the much-loved 1983 film. Asked what his younger self would make of where he is now, he said: “My younger self would not know all the struggles that I went through to be here. He was just having the time of his life being a kid, being on a set, being on a pirate ship, going on a water slide. But right before this night started, Corey Feldman, one of my Goonies brothers, called. I was talking to Kerri Green, and of course tonight Jeff Cohen, who is my entertainment lawyer [and played Chunk in the film], is here with me. He was in the audience. I owe all of them so much. Every single one of them is so happy. Sean [Astin] reached out, Josh [Brolin], Martha [Plimpton], and we are always bonded. We’re family forever. Goonies never say die.”

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