Grey's Anatomy

Sandra Oh

Full name: Sandra Oh
Grey's character: Dr. Cristina Yang
Nickname: None that we could find!
Date of birth: July 20, 1971
Hometown: Nepean, Ontario
Currently residing in: Los Angeles, California
Education: National Theatre School of Canada
Bet you didn't know... Sandra voiced Doofah in The Land Before Time XIII: The Wisdom of Friends — not a career high point

Sandra Oh is a Renaissance woman — smart, beautiful, and hugely talented. It's hard to believe that there were people who tried to dissuade her from becoming an actress! Born in Nepean, Ontario, a suburb of Canada's capital, Ottawa, Sandra's parents were first-generation Korean immigrants who signed Sandra up for ballet when she was only 4 years old. This introduction to the performing arts only whetted her appetite: Sandra began acting at age 10. Despite receiving a full scholarship to the prestigious journalism program at Carleton University, Sandra chose instead to pursue her passion at the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal.

Upon her graduation in 1993, it wasn't long before Sandra was booking high-profile lead roles. Her portrayal of Vancouver author Evelyn Lau (in The Diary of Evenlyn Lau, her first major role), earned her a Gemini Award (the Canadian Emmys) nomination. She won a Genie Award (the Canadian Oscars) for her role in Double Happiness the following year. Sandra made her stateside debut in the critically acclaimed HBO original series Arli$$, for which she (again!) collected significant acclaim, receiving a CableACE Award and a nomination for the NAACP Image Award. Regarding the paucity of high-profile Asian actors in Hollywood, Sandra says, "I recognize that there are not many of us... I continually find [it] challenging, both personally and professionally, but overall, I am extremely grateful and honored." After her run on Arli$$ ended in 2002, Sandra re-upped her celeb status with a memorable supporting role in the Oscar-winning indie film Sideways, co-written and directed by her then-husband, Alexander Payne (they split in 2006). Still, major stardom didn't arrive until she joined the Season 1 cast of Grey's Anatmoy as the ever-charming (ha!) Dr. Cristina Yang.

As the tough, ambitious Cristina, Sandra quickly became a darling of viewers and critics alike, winning a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award and receiving five consecutive Emmy nominations. But Sandra wasn't typecast in this overachiever role: she says that though she and Cristina share a strong "work ethic and dedication," Sandra finds Cristina to be "an emotionally stunted person with extreme communication problems [which is] what I love about her and why I love to play her." And that’s why we love her.

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