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  • Tupou Manu


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Manu Tupou (1935)

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Manu Tupou (January 5, 1935 - June 5, 2004) was an American-based Fijian actor, writer, director, and teacher.


 early life
Manu Tupou was born on Lomaloma, Lau, Fiji Islands. After completing his studies at the University of Hawaii on U.S. government scholarship, He began studying at the University of London on a BBC scholarship. On a summer vacation his girlfriend told him that he fit the description for a casting ad in the local newspaper. When he arrived, casting director Marion Dougherty pulled out a picture she had acquired from the Fiji Visitor Bureau. On a lark, he had posed with Dinah Shore's stand-in, who was in Fiji working on a network Christmas special. The picture became a poster which adorned the wall of the Fiji airport. When Dougherty and director George Roy Hill saw it, they knew they had found their man. When the they asked the Fiji Visitor's Bureau, where can we find this young man, they were told that he was a young man of great importance . The Bureau told them that he was in Hawaii on vacation for school. Dougherty and Hill went off to Hawaii to find this young man. So by the time he arrived at the address in the ad they were expecting him. He auditioned and they both felt they had found their Prince. But Tupou declined as he was starting school in a couple of days.

He went back to London. After a couple of weeks he got a call from an authoritative voice. "Be ready at 9:00 a.m." The producers of the film persisted. A limousine was waiting for him. The driver paid his rent and took him to the BBC. It was here that the chairman of the BBC told Tupou he would keep his scholarship open for two years. He then was fitted for a suit, given a fistful of cash and sent to the airport where he flew to Hollywood to go to Samuel Goldwyn Studios. He arrived on the set of Hawaii, where he got his start in movies. This begin his career. While staying with Dougherty in New York He was introduced to Lee Strasberg.

Actor Corin Nemec said of Tupou:
"I studied with Manu Tupou, He had his own theater company called the American Repertory Company. He was in the Actor's Studio when Marilyn Monroe was there. What he taught was his own Method, which was creating the character as it was scripted”, Corin said. “Living the life of the character as the beats and moments suggested in the material. Then finding whatever new and original beats and moments come out of that by working with the director and living the life of the character organically in the moment. As it’s scripted, this is what the character does - not me. That’s how I separate myself from that. I don’t use the Method. I’m not going into my own past to create a psychological condition that would drive me as an actor to create that moment. When you can embrace the life of the character and the environment and the scene that’s taking place, the rest happens naturally if your instrument is tuned............ learned from Manu was that it doesn’t matter what the project is. It matters what you bring to it as an artist. No matter what the storyline is, whether it be as silly as SS Doomtroopers or Mansquito or things I’ve done from SciFi Channel, which were a lot of fun, I’m going to bring to that, everything that I have to offer as an artist."

From the late 1970s, he taught acting at the American Repertory Company, where he focused intensely on each individual student, as he never let the class get larger than 12 students at a time. He wanted to have the luxury of giving anywhere to 15 and sometimes even up to one hour of feedback and critiques. This was highly effective, ensuring the next time that student came to class and put up his work, it was taken to the next level. Tupou trained Eric Roberts, Ernie Reyes Jr., Calvin Levels, Santino Ramos, Jerri Manthey, Arash Dibazar, among others.

 Broadway & National Tours
  • Othello - Othello
  • Indians by Arthur Kopit - Sitting Bull
  • Annie Get Your Gun - Chief Sitting Bull
  • Captain Brassbound's Conversion
  • Iphigenia at Aulis - King Agamemnon
  • Black Elk Speaks - Black Elk

  • Hawaii - narrated/co-starred as Prince Keoki
  • A Man Called Horse - Chief Yellowhand
  • Extraordinary Seaman
  • Hurrucane
  • King Zabu - King Zabu
  • Love Affair - with Warren Beatty and Annette Bening

  • Hawaii Five-O
  • Fantasy Island
  • Magnum, P.I.
  • The A-Team
  • Hill Street Blues
  • Vega$
  • Barney Miller

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Manu Tupou", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.