Barney Cheng is a Taiwanese-American actor, director, writer and producer.
Cheng was born in Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China. His family emigrated to the United States when he was 12-years-old and he grew up in Brea, California. He speaks Mandarin and Taiwanese fluently.
After graduating from Brea Olinda High School, Cheng attended Stanford University and received a degree in political science in 1993. His focus was initially on a career in law and he studied political philosophy at Oxford University in England. While at Oxford, he was attracted to the West End stage and spent nights and weekends in London.
In 1994, Cheng moved to New York City, where he studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. He was featured in two Off-Broadway plays by playwright Prince Gomolvilas, Donut Holes in Orbit and Big Hunk o’ Burnin’ Love, and was a big hit with the audience. He appeared in a variety of stage and television roles, including Shakespeare’s Puck, Bill Clinton’s political adviser on Saturday Night Live and George W. Bush’s voice on Late Night with David Letterman.
After four movie appearances, Cheng co-starred opposite Woody Allen in Hollywood Ending. Cheng played Chou, a translator for a washed-up movie director, played by Allen. Although the movie received a mixed reception from critics, they loved Cheng's performance. The New York Times described Cheng's comedic timing as "surgically precise." The Orange County Register raved that Cheng "steals every scene he's in." Cheng accompanied Allen to promote the film and to open the 55th Cannes Film Festival.