Who is Rae Dawn Chong?
Rae Dawn Chong was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, on 28 February 1961 – her zodiac sign is Pisces, and she holds both American and Canadian nationality. She’s an actress, film writer and producer, who has appeared in close to 100 movies and TV series, while she’s perhaps known best for her portrayal of Cindy, one of the main characters in the 1985 action adventure thriller movie “Commando”. It was directed by Mark L. Lester, also starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dan Hedaya, and follows a Special Forces colonel who’s trying to rescue his kidnapped daughter; the movie was nominated for two awards.
Rae is still quite active in the film industry, and is currently shooting for the upcoming movies: “Street Signs: Homeless But Not Hopeless”, and “We Are Gathered Here Today”.
Early life and education
Rae was raised in Edmonton alongside her sister Robbi Chong who has become an actress and model, by their father Tommy Chong, a famous Canadian actor and comedian, and their mother Gail Lewis who was a housewife. Rae and Robbi have two paternal half-brothers and a half-sister, as well as an adoptive brother Marcus Scott Chong.
Rae became interested in acting at a very early age, mostly because her father occasionally took her with him while he was shooting for his movies and TV series. She was only 13 years old when she made her debut film appearance, in the 1974 family drama “The Whiz Kid, and then the Mystery at Riverton”, while the same year saw her make her debut TV series appearance, in the adventure family drama “The Magical World of Disney”.
Rae appeared in only a single movie in the following six years – the 1978 musical drama “Stony Island” – as she focused on her education, and matriculated in 1979. She then chose not to pursue a college degree, but to make a name for herself in the film industry.
Roles in movies
In 1980, Rae portrayed Rita in the action drama “Top of the Hill”, and the year 1984 saw her appear in five movies, including the musical drama “Beat Street”, the romantic comedy “Choose Me”, and the action science fiction adventure “City Limits”. What was perhaps her most notable performance in the ‘80s was her portrayal of the main character Hilary Orozco, in the 1987 action crime drama “The Principal”, directed by Christopher Cain, and which also starred Jim Belushi and Louis Gossett Jr. The movie follows a teacher who has just become the principal of a high school with a bad reputation; it was nominated for a single Young Artist Award.
In 1990, Rae starred in the drama “Amazon”, while a couple of her following roles were in the 1991 horror science fiction comedy “The Borrower”, the 1993 action science fiction adventure “Time Runner”, and the 1995 fantasy horror thriller “Hideaway”.
The year 2000 saw her star as Felicia in the drama “The Visit”, written and directed by Jordan Walker-Pearlman, and which also starred Obba Babatunde and Charmin Lee White. The movie follows a family who have reunited to visit their relative in jail, and it won eight of the 16 awards for which it was nominated. Rae had only a couple of other roles in the 2000s, including in the 2005 drama “Constellation”, and the 2006 action science fiction thriller “Force of Impact”.
In 2011, she played Detective Burdine in the comedy drama “Jeff, Who Lives at Home”, written and directed by Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass, and which starred Jason Segel, Ed Helms and Judy Greer. It follows Jeff who believes that his wife is cheating on him, and is thus following her with his brother.
Three of Rae’s most recent roles in movies have been in the 2017 short comedy “Five Minutes”, the 2018 horror “Reborn”, and the 2021 drama “The Sleeping Negro”.
Roles in TV series
Rae appeared in the 1980 episode “Lou” of the crime drama “Lou Grant”, and between 1983 and 1985, she portrayed Billie Vaughn in the comedy drama “St. Elsewhere”. It was created by Joshua Brand and John Falsey, starred Ed Begley Jr. and Howie Mandel, and follows the lives of people working at St. Eligius Hospital; the series won 38 awards, including 13 Primetime Emmys, while it was nominated for 83 other awards.
The ‘90s saw Rae appear in only a couple of series, such as the romantic drama “Melrose Place”, the western “Lonesome Dove: The Series”, and the action fantasy adventure “Highlander”.
Between 2000 and 2002, she starred as Dr. Peggy Fowler in the fantasy science fiction drama “Mysterious Ways”, created by Peter O’Fallon, and which also starred Adrian Pasdar and Alisen Down.
The series follows the life of the anthropology professor Declan Dunn, and won one of the six awards for which it was nominated. Rae appeared in only three other series in the 2000s: the mystery comedy drama “Wild Card”, the family fantasy comedy “That’s So Raven”, and the drama “Judging Amy”.
In the next decade, she made a couple of guest appearances in series such as the comedy drama “Better Things”, and the action thriller drama “9-1-1” – most recently, in 2021, she played Betty Currie in eight episodes of the biographical crime drama “American Crime Story”.
Rae wrote, produced and directed the 2000 short horror comedy movie “Cursed Part 3”.
She received special thanks for two short documentary movies in 2003, entitled “A Collaboration of Spirits: Casting and Acting ‘the Color Purple’”, and “Cultivating a Classic: The Making of ‘The Color Purple’”.
Rae has also been featured in many documentaries, most recently in the 2013 series “Celebrity Ghost Stories”, the 2014 movie “Top 40 Ultimate Action Movies”, and the 2015 short film “Behind the Scenes with Rae Dawn Chong”.
She has made a guest appearance in a number of talk-shows, such as “The Arsenio Hall Show”, “Open Access”, and “The Oprah Winfrey Show”.
Awards and nominations
Rae has won two of the four awards for which she’s been nominated – a 1983 Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, for “La Guerre du Feu”, and a 2021 Women Film Critics Circle’s Invisible Woman Award for “The Sleeping Negro”.
Love life and husband
Rae has been married thrice. In 1982, she exchanged vows with Owen Baylis, an American stockbroker, in a private ceremony attended by only the closest of their friends and family members. Rae gave birth to their son Morgan Baylis, whose birthdate remains undisclosed, but she and Owen divorced in 1983.
She married her second husband, the American actor, film producer and director C. Thomas Howell, on 11 July 1989, and but they also divorced in little more than a year.
Rae married her third husband, Nathan Ulrich in 2011, but they divorced in 2014; Nathan is probably known best for being one of the founders of the kick scooters company Xootr.
She hasn’t spoken of any other people whom she might have been with, so as of February 2022, Rae appears to be single, was married thrice, and has a son Morgan with her first husband Owen Baylis.
Hobbies and other interests
Rae is a philanthropist, and has donated money to many charity organizations, while she’s today mostly focused on working with Habitat for Humanity.
She enjoys being active on Instagram, and is today followed by close to 10,000 people on the network, while she has uploaded nearly 2,000 pictures, most of which have been taken during her everyday life.
Rae was physically highly active in her 20s, 30s and 40s, and was an avid tennis player, however, she rarely plays any sports nowadays.
She’s into travelling, and her acting career has taken her to various Canadian cities and US states, while she’s also been to a couple of African and European countries; Rae’s dream travel destination is Cairo, the capital of Egypt.
She’s a huge fan of the actress, comedian and author Whoopi Goldberg, and enjoys watching her movies “Sister Act” and “Ghost”.
Age, height and net worth
Rae’s age is 60. She has long black hair and brown eyes, her height is 5ft 8ins (1.75m) and she weighs around 145lbs (65kgs).
As of February 2022, her net worth has been estimated at over $4 million.