Also Credited As:Brenda Julietta Song
|Brenda Julietta Song on March 27, 1988 in Carmichael, California, USA|
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Brenda Julietta Song was born on March 27, 1988 in Carmichael, CA to a Hmong-Chinese father and a Thai-American mother. Her family soon moved south to Los Angeles, where the future star began her acting career. Song landed her first job at six, appearing in commercial advertisements for Little Caesar's Pizza and Barbie. She made her television acting debut on "Thunder Alley" (ABC, 1994-95), which starred Edward Asner as a retired stock car driver. Song appeared on the big screen for the first time in the family comedy, "Santa with Muscles," featuring wrestler-turned-actor Hulk Hogan in the title role. Song starred in her first Disney project in 2000, starring in "The Ultimate Christmas Present" as one of two teen girls who find a weather machine that belonged to Santa Claus and use it to make it snow in sunny Los Angeles. Her performance earned Song her first Young Artist Award, for "Best Performance in a TV Movie (Comedy) - Supporting Young Actress, and also began her long-standing relationship with the Disney Channel.
Song signed a contract with Disney in 2002, the same year she co-starred opposite Lindsay Lohan in "Get A Clue" (Disney Channel), about a young Manhattan socialite who attempts to solve the mystery of a missing teacher at her school. While Lohan went on to star in Disney feature films like "Freaky Friday" (2003), Song's career centered around the company's small screen counterparts. She made guest appearances on such comedy series such as "That's So Raven" (2003-07) and "Phil of the Future" (2004-06), and starred in the 2004 TV film "Stuck in the Suburbs," in which she portrayed a teenager who accidentally finds a pop star's cell phone. "Stuck in the Suburbs" fared well in the ratings and helped the network to establish its "tween-friendly" programming.
Following the success of her earlier Disney projects, Song was offered a featured role opposite teen heartthrobs the Sprouse twins on the series "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody." The show followed trouble-making twins Zack (Dylan Sprouse) and Cody (Cole Sprouse) who lived in a posh hotel in Boston, MA. Song played London Tipton, the spoiled and fashionable hotel heiress who befriends the twins. Her character was reportedly modeled after real-life hotel heiress and socialite Paris Hilton. One of Song's closest friends, singer and actress Ashley Tisdale, was cast as the hotel's candy counter worker, Maddie. "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" became one of the network's top-rated programs and turned its four leads into teen superstars, much like other Disney stars Zac Efron and Miley Cyrus.
Her comedic timing and popularity with teen viewers helped Song land a starring role in the Disney Channel original movie "Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior." The role called not only for the actress to exhibit her acting skills, but also learn martial arts and stunt work. Song's portrayal of a Chinese-American teen who trains to become a powerful warrior - a departure from her privileged and flaky "Suite Life" character - impressed critics and audiences alike. "Wendy Wu" also did well internationally after airing in countries such as Singapore and Mexico. Song returned to the big screen in 2008 with a supporting role opposite Martin Lawrence and fellow Disney alum Raven Symone in the family comedy "College Road Trip."
That same year, Song departed from her comedic repertoire with a dramatic role in "Special Delivery" (Lifetime Movie Network), in which the actress played the troubled daughter of a Chinese businessman who is escorted on a flight to Hawaii by a bond courier (Lisa Edelstein). She reprised her role of London Tipton in the "Suite Life" spin-off series "Suite Life on Deck," which found the main characters onboard a cruise ship that doubled as an international school-at-sea. In May 2009, Disney Channel executives issued a statement that proclaimed Song's "Suite Life" role was the network's longest continuous female character.
Song's wholesome image was almost compromised after a photographic image of her was used in an adult escort agency ad that appeared in LA Weekly in April 2008. Both Disney and Song's legal representation issued a cease and desist order to the offending advertiser. The actress reportedly won a lawsuit in March 2009 against the company that made unauthorized use of her photo. Song eventually shed her good-girl image with a provocative role in "The Social Network." Directed by David Fincher, the film explored the creation of popular networking site Facebook.com through the story of its founders Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield). Song played Saverin's college girlfriend who joins him and Zuckerberg in New York to meet with Napster co-founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake). The controversial film opened at No. 1 in the box office in October 2010 and went on to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
By Marc Cuenco