Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Anna May Wong to Be Honored with US Coin—Which Woman of Film Should Be Next?

If you’ve ever strolled along Hollywood Boulevard, you’ve likely seen Anna May Wong gracing the Four Ladies of Hollywood statue, with Mae West, Dorothy Dandridge and Dolores del Rio comprising the other three pillars. But now Wong is set to be immortalized on a US coin.

Thanks to the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act, signed into law last year, a special series of quarters will be struck to commemorate American women who’ve made indelible contributions in the arts, sciences, public affairs, civil rights, and other fields.

The first honorees, set to appear next year, will be poet, writer and activist Maya Angelou; Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman, and youngest American, in space; the Cherokee Nation’s Wilma Mankiller, the first woman to be elected chief of a major tribe; Aledina Otero-Warren, a leader of New Mexico’s suffrage movement and the first woman elected to be superintendent of schools in Santa Fe; and Wong, who was of course the first Chinese American film star and later became an activist for Chinese refugees after WWII and a groundbreaker on television as the star of The Gallery of Madam Liu.

For Wong, it’s long-overdue recognition for a luminous talent pigeonholed and then virtually sidelined by the film industry. But fittingly, here’s where she gets to be a trailblazer again: these coins are only the first of a series—and you can help decide who’s honored next.

For the sake of this post, let’s focus on the movies. What say you, film tribe? Who’s made a massive contribution — and perhaps one that’s been overlooked or lost to an increasingly myopic movie history? Writers, directors and filmmakers, like Dorothy Arzner, Lois Weber and Francis Marion? Actors of color who graced scores of films but were often marginalized, like Theresa Harris and Juanita Moore? Those whose stellar careers were cut short in service to their country, like Carole Lombard, whom FDR called the first US casualty of WWII?

Click this link to nominate your favorite female idols, and let me know your choices in the comments section! And please share this post so your friends and fellow film fans can have their say.

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