Mark Dacascos

After winning numerous karate and kung fu championships throughout his adolescence, Mark Dacascos switched gears to become a noted actor and television personality. Born on Feb. 26, 1964 in Honolulu, HI, Dacascos was raised in a martial arts home by his father, Al, a former kung fu champion and founder of the Wun Hop Kuen Do fighting style, and his mother, Moriko, one of Al's students. When he was around 6 years old, the family moved to Denver, CO, where Dacascos began his formal martial arts training. A year later, he was competing in his first tournaments. At 11 years old, the family moved to Hamburg, Germany while he continued to train and compete. When he was 17, Dacascos traveled to Taiwan to study Mandarin and Shaolin Kung Fu. After being named European Kung Fu Champion in the lightweight category, he was discovered by Asian filmmaker, Wayne Wang, while walking the streets in San Francisco. Wang cast the young Dacascos in "Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart" (1985), though ultimately his scenes wound up on the cutting room floor. Nonetheless, his acting career had begun.