Actress France Nuyen on Kauai

Actress France Nuyen first achieved movie success in the 1958 musical “South Pacific,” which was filmed on Kauai at Hanalei Bay in 1957.

In “South Pacific,” Miss Nuyen plays the part of Liat, the Vietnamese daughter of Bloody Mary, portrayed by Juanita Hall.

On the island of Bali Hai, when Bloody Mary introduces Liat to Marine Lt. Joe Cable, performed by John Kerr, the couple are instantly charmed by one another and embark upon an enchanting romance.

However, when Bloody Mary urges Cable to marry Liat, he declines, despite his love for her.

Among the other characters in “South Pacific” were Rossano Brazzi as Emile de Becque and Mitzi Gaynor as Ensign Nellie Forbush.

During filming, Nuyen, who was born in Marseille, France in 1939, stayed at the Coco Palms Resort.

Later, in 1958, Nuyen starred opposite William Shatner in the leading role of Chinese prostitute Suzie Wong in the Broadway stage production of “The World of Suzie Wong.”

Miss Nuyen returned to Kauai in 1962 for the filming of “Diamond Head” in her role as Mai Chen.

Among her fellow actors and actresses in “Diamond Head” were Charlton Heston as Richard Howland, Yvette Mimieux playing the part of Sloan Howland, George Chakiris in the roll of Dr. Dean Kahana, and James Darren as Paul Kahana.

Kipu Ranch was the setting for much of the film, while the now decrepit Grove Farm manager’s house on Nawiliwili Road served as the residence of Heston’s character.

Nuyen also appeared in a number of other films and in television shows.

Nuyen began a second career in the 1980s as a psychological counselor in Los Angeles, after earning a master’s degree in clinical psychology.

She was married and divorced twice. Actor Robert Culp was her second husband. Nuyen has one child, a daughter, Fleur.


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