Fu Manchu

Caution. Stereotype. Created by mystery writer Sax Rohmer in 1913 and popularized in 1930s and 1940s films. Fu Manchu was an evil genius. He was portrayed by many actors, including Warner Oland, who also played Charlie Chan. Rohmer described him this way: “Imagine a person, tall, lean, and feline, high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan, a close-shaven skull, and long, magnetic eyes of the true cat-green.” He is also “the yellow peril incarnate in one man.” Later Asian and pseudo-Asian villains — like Flash Gordon’s nemesis, Emperor Ming the Merciless, and James Bond’s Dr. No — were variations of Fu Manchu.


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