Alvin Ing, Star of Broadway’s ‘Flower Drum Song’ and ‘Pacific Overtures,’ Dies at 89

Honolulu-born actor was one of the rare Asian American stars of New York theater

Alvin Ing
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Alvin Ing, an Asian-American actor best known for his leading roles in the Broadway musicals “Flower Drum Song” and “Pacific Overtures,” died Saturday, July 31 at age 89, TheWrap has confirmed.

Although he was fully vaccinated, Ing was first diagnosed with pneumonia in mid-July then confirmed to have COVID-19 a few days later. After two weeks of battling COVID-19, Ing passed away due to cardiac arrest, according to Ing’s representatives.

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1932, Ing pursued performing arts by studying music education at the University of Hawaii and eventually moved to New York at age 25. He made his Broadway debut in 1976 with his breakout role in the original production of the Stephen Sondheim-John Weidman musical “Pacific Overtures.” In 2004, he reprised his role in “Pacific Overtures” alongside “Awkwafina is Nora From Queens” star BD Wong.

Ing also starred in the 2002 Broadway revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Flower Drum Song,” performing “My Best Love,” a song that had been left out of the original 1958 production. His stage credits also include roles in the musicals “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” “City of Angels,” “The World of Suzie Wong” and “Sing to the Dawn.”

Ing expanded his career to television and film, appearing in shows including “The Doctors,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Benson,” “Dallas,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and the 2018 “Hawaii 5-0” reboot. In 2014, he starred alongside Mark Wahlberg and Jessica Lange in “The Gambler” and most recently appeared in “Bad Detectives.”

Ing constantly fought racial discrimination throughout his career and was a fierce advocate for Asian-American performances, participating heavily in the Theater for Asian American Performing Artists in the 1970s and protesting Asian American stereotypes.

During a cabaret performance in 2016, Ing came out as gay at age 84. He explained his decision to reveal this part of his identity in an interview from May 2021, saying “In a way, it was very satisfying, but I really would like to do it for the gay community…Because, number one, I’m old, I’m Asian and I’m gay, so maybe it would be… an inspiration for other people.”


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