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Thuy Trang was a Vietnamese born American actress who was best known for her role as Trini Kwan, the yellow ranger, in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. She played Kali in the 1996 film The Crow: City of Angels.



Early Life

Thuy Trang was born on December 14, 1973, as one of four children in Saigon, South Vietnam, to South Vietnamese Army officer Ky Trang and his wife Be. In 1975 after The Fall of Saigon, Thuy’s father was forced to leave the family and he immigrated to the United States. While Ky petitioned the United States government for political asylum for his family, Thuy lived with her mother and siblings in a detention camp. In 1979, she and her family boarded a cargo ship bound for Hong Kong. The trip was a long and difficult one with Thuy often falling ill and her mother having to force-feed her food to keep her alive. At one point the other people on the boat thought that she was dead and wanted to throw her overboard but her mother prevented them from doing so. Thuy and her family were eventually reunited in the United States in 1980 and settled in Fountain Valley, California. Thuy’s father died in 1992 when she was 18. She attended and graduated from Banning High School in Los Angeles and she enrolled at the University of California Irvine to study civil engineering. 


Career

Thuy initially planned to pursue a career in civil engineering but switched her focus to acting after a film agent saw her during a college introductory acting class in 1992 and offered to represent her. Her first acting role was in a television commercial for the church of Scientology. Her first major and  most notable role was as Trini Kwan, the yellow ranger in the cast of the TV series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, taking over for Audri Dubois who was in the pilot episode. Thuy left the series after one and a half seasons due to contractual and payment disputes. Thuy appeared as herself in the 1995 film Encyclopedia of Martial Arts: Hollywood Stars and she appeared as a manicurist in the 1996 film Spy Hard. Thuy's first major film role was as Kali in The Crow: City of Angels.


Death

On September 3, 2001, Thuy was traveling in a car driven by Steffiana De La Cruz with her friend Angela Rockwood. Both women were expected to be bridesmaids at Angela‘s wedding to Dustin Nguyen. The trio were driving back late at night on interstate five between San Jose and Los Angeles after having visited Angela’s maid of honor in San Jose. While driving, Steffiana struck some loose gravel in a groove along the side of the street and lost control of the car. The vehicle swerved violently across the road before hitting the roadside rock face and flipped several times before hitting the safety rail and plunging over the bank and into a second rock face. Angela was thrown 35 feet out of the car and survived but was paralyzed due to a severed spinal cord. Thuy suffered from internal injuries and died before arriving at the hospital at the age of 27. Thuy’s body was cremated on September 10. It is unclear whether her ashes were scattered or interred at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.


Legacy

Following Thuy’s death, the episode “Circuit Unsure“ of Power Rangers Time Force was dedicated to her memory. In one scene of the film Power Rangers, the Trini Kwan character wears a T-shirt with the number “1973” on it, paying homage to Thuy as 1973 is her birth year.

Many years after her death, Thuy still has a loyal fan base, with the website www.thuytrangtribute.com and the Twitter account @thuytribute being dedicated to Thuy’s life and work.


Trivia

  • She was bilingual and spoke Vietnamese and fluent English.
  • She had a black belt in Shaolin Kung Fu.
  • She had a pet dog named Nia.
  • She was a Buddhist.
  • Her role as Kali in The Crow: City of Angels is the only time Thuy appears as an antagonist.


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