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Sandra Oh is a Canadian actress best known for her role as Dr. Cristina Yang on the hit television series Grey's Anatomy.
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Sandra Oh is a Canadian actress born on July 20, 1971, in Nepean (now Ottawa), Ontario, Canada. The daughter of Korean immigrants, Oh started her performance career as a child. She attended the National Theatre School of Canada, and at age 19 had her breakthrough role in the television biopic The Diary of Evelyn Lau (1993). Her performance garnered a Gemini nomination and the 1994 Cannes FIPA d'Or for Best Actress. In 1996,
Oh moved to Los Angeles to join the cast of HBO’s comedy Arli$$. Roles in films like Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) and Sideways (2004) followed. She landed a prominent role in the TV series Grey's Anatomy (2005) which garnered her a Golden Globe, multiple Screen Actor's Guild awards and Emmy nominations.
Actress Sandra Miju Oh (her middle name means "pretty pearl" in Korean) was born on July 20, 1971. Oh's father Joon-Soo (John) and mother Young-Nan emigrated from South Korea to study economics and biochemistry, respectively. Sandra Oh and her siblings were raised in a suburb of Nepean (now Ottawa), Canada, where they were active in the tight-knit local Korean community. "Wherever Koreans are, they set up a church," Oh said of her childhood. "There weren't many of us, maybe 10 families, so [ours] was like a church in the basement of a church."
Oh's parents put her in ballet at the age of 4 in hopes of correcting her natural pigeon-toed gait, a move that had the unintended consequences of sparking a love of performing. At age 10, Oh appeared in her first play, The Canada Goose. By the age of 15, the honor student started booking professional gigs in television, theatre and commercials.
When it came time for her to attend college, and Oh turned down an academic scholarship in favor of the National Theatre School of Canada, her parents balked. "They didn't see that there was any meaning to being an actor," Oh says. "It was like, 'What are you doing for society? Are you being a good Christian?' They were classic immigrants - they wanted their children to become doctors or lawyers. My sister is a lawyer, and my brother is finishing his Ph.D. in medical genetics. The fact that now I play a doctor on TV? Nothing could be better!" Oh did end up going to the prestigious drama school, paying her own tuition.
Her big break came when she beat out more than 1,000 other actress for the title role in The Diary of Evelyn Lau, a television biopic about a tortured, young Chinese poet. "When she came in to the audition, she asked for a moment to focus herself. Then she lay on the floor for five minutes," director Sturla Gunnarsson said. "I thought it was remarkable that at 19 she had the confidence - and audacity - to do that." For her debut performance, Oh won a Gemini (Canada's equivalent of the Emmy Award) nomination and the 1994 Cannes FIPA d'Or for Best Actress. She still considers the film one of the best she's ever done.
After a few lean years as a struggling actress (boosted by a lucky $5,000 scratch-off lottery ticket she won when she was nearly broke) Oh was cast as sassy assistant Rita Wu in the HBO comedy Arli$$, for which she won a Cable Ace award.
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