Birthday: 27 December 1918, San Francisco, California, USA
Birth Name: Ngun Yee
Pioneer exotic dancer Noel Toy's fashionably seductive nude performances in both San Francisco and New York clubs caused quite a sensation back in her 1940s heyday. Concealed by a few ostrich plumes, she became the nation's first Chinese-American fan dancer while turning San Francisco's Forbidden City into one of the nation's mo...
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Pioneer exotic dancer Noel Toy's fashionably seductive nude performances in both San Francisco and New York clubs caused quite a sensation back in her 1940s heyday. Concealed by a few ostrich plumes, she became the nation's first Chinese-American fan dancer while turning San Francisco's Forbidden City into one of the nation's most scandalously famous nightclubs. Dubbed the "Chinese Sally Rand" because of her similar routines with fans and a huge, transparent plastic bubble, ritzy New York clubs quickly fought over her. She went on to "take it all off" at such exclusive niteries as Stork Club, Maxie's, the 18th Club, Lou Walter's Latin Quarter and Leon & Eddie's.Born Ngun Yee in San Francisco, she was the eldest of eight children born to émigré parents from Canton, China. Mrs. Young's parents opened and operated a laundromat. She studied journalism and was closed to graduating from the University of California Berkeley when she accepted an offer to perform in a Chinese village show at the World's Fair on Treasure Island in 1939. A career was born. Later that year, businessman Charlie Low invited her to work at his popular Forbidden City, the first and only Chinese nightclub at the time. Needless to say, a cross-over business quickly escalated. She began calling herself Noel Toy out of her love for the Christmas season. Along the way she became an outspoken critic and strove in her own way to liberalize women (particularly Chinese women's) from the demeaning stereotype of a demure, submissive and subservient gender. She appeared in newspapers and eventually in Life magazineIn 1945 she met and married a soldier who also happened to be the western character actor Carleton Young. He caught her dance act at New York's Latin Quarter and was smitten. They had a long and happy marriage which ended only with his death in 1994. She gave up dancing at her husband's request and began a career in acting. She appeared in a few exotic bits in such films as Anne of the Indies (1951) with Jean Peters and Debra Paget (her husband was also in the picture); Soldier of Fortune (1955) with 'Clark Gable' and 'Susan Hayward'; The Left Hand of God (1955) with Humphrey Bogart and Gene Tierney; and How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955) with Betty Grable and Sheree North.She grew very disillusioned, however, with the role stereotype Hollywood placed on Asian-American women and eventually moved away from the business. She later pursued real estate. Every now and then, she would be glimpsed in character roles on such established TV programs as "Police Woman," "Family Affair" and "M*A*S*H". She also appeared in the Kurt Russell film Big Trouble in Little China (1986) in a minor matron role. Trim, tiny and forever sensuous, she died, quite fittingly, on Christmas Eve of 2003, five days after suffering a stroke. She was 84. The ashes of Noel Toy Young and husband Carleton were interred together at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Show less «