‘Bonanza’: How Jimmy Chan Actor Victor Sen Yung Survived an Aircraft Hijacking in 1972

by Madison Miller
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“Bonanza,” a classic and popular Western series from 1959 to 1972, had some pretty dark scenes throughout its run on TV.

Perhaps the darkest was when the show had to write in the tragic death of Dan Blocker, or Hoss Cartwright, onto the show. He was killed in an accident in the show after Blocker died from a blood clot in the lung. This was actually the first time a show had to mention or write the death of an actor into the show.

Another actor from the show, Victor Sen Yung, who played Hop Sing, survived an almost tragic event in real life. Yung also played in Jimmy Chan in a line of Charlie Chan movies as well.

Victor Sen Yung in Hijacking

According to his IMDb page, Yung was traveling from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 1972. He was on a PSA airline that was hijacked by two people. They were trying to demand a ransom and also a flight to Siberia. Yung was actually wounded during the situation.

Sadly, one passenger ending up passing away aboard the flight that day. FBI stormed the plane on the ground in San Francisco and killed the two hijackers before any more tragedy could occur.

Despite being injured, Yung survived the terrifying incident. He would go on to continue his acting career after “Bonanza” and the hijacking. He made small guest appearances on a number of shows and was also in the TV series “Kung Fu” in 1975. His last credited role is as Mr. Wing in “The Man with Bogart’s Face” from 1980.

But unfortunately, Yung’s life ended in tragedy. He passed away from natural gas poisoning in his home in 1980. He was discovered approximately 10 days after he passed away. His son is Brent Kee Young, a glass artist and a professor at Cleveland Institute of Art.

Other Life Events for ‘Bonanza’ Star

Besides his role as Hop Sing, the beloved and hilarious ranch cook, Yung was also a popular figure in 25 different Charlie Chan films throughout the 1930s and 1940s. He was dubbed the “Number Two Son.”

While he was an incredibly accomplished actor, both in film and TV, Yung’s passions went beyond the screen.

He majored in animal husbandry at the College of Agriculture at the University of California, Berkeley. He even has a scholarship named after him that is given out by the Chinese Alumni Association.

The “Bonanza” actor was also a star in the kitchen just like he was on the series. He was an accomplished Cantonese cook and even had his very own cookbook called “Great Wok Cookbook.” At one point he was even giving demonstrations inside of department stores. He was still working on his second book before his sudden death in 1980.

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