Tommy Chong (born May 24, 1938) is a Canadian-American comedian, actor and musician who is well-known for his stereotypical portrayals of hippie-era stoners. He is most widely known for his involvement in the marijuana-themed Cheech & Chong comedy movies with Cheech Marin, as well as playing the character Leo on Fox's That '70s Show.
Chong was born as Thomas B. Kin Chong in Edmonton, Alberta, the son of Lorna Jean Gilchrist, a waitress of Scots-Irish ancestry, and Stanley Chong, a truck driver of Chinese descent. While he was still young, his family moved to Calgary, Alberta, to a neighborhood Chong refers to as the Dog Patch. He says that his father had "been wounded in World War II, and there was a veterans' hospital in Calgary. He bought a five-hundred dollar house in Dog Patch, and raised his family on fifty dollars a week". He later dropped out of Crescent Heights High school in Calgary, Alberta.“I dropped out of Crescent Heights High School when I was 16 but probably just before they were going to throw me out anyway,” Chong laughs as he reminisces about his early years. “I played guitar to make money. I was about 16 when I discovered that music could get you laid, even if you were a scrawny, long-haired, geeky-looking guy like me.”
By the early 1960s, Chong was playing guitar for a Calgary soul group called The Shades. The Shades moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where the band's name changed to "Little Daddy & The Bachelors". They recorded a single, "Too Much Monkey Business" / "Junior's Jerk". Together with bandmember Bobby Taylor, Chong opened a Vancouver nightclub in 1963 called the Blue Balls, formerly the Alma Theatre. They brought in the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, which had never been to Vancouver before. Although Little Daddy & The Bachelors built up a small following, things soured when they went with Chong's suggestion and had themselves billed as "Four Niggers and a Chink". (or, bowing to pressure, "Four N's and a C") before taking on the moniker Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers.