The True Story of a Fake Story About a Real Life

New podcast 'Magnificent Jerk' explores the eccentric life and career of actor/writer Galen Yuen.

The way most people probably remembered Galen Yuen -- if they knew or knew of him at all -- was as a working actor with a few dozen minor movie and TV roles, playing characters like "Yakuza Member," "Smuggler" or "Low Life #1." He also had a sprinkle of screenwriting credits, including an episode of the short-lived TV series Vanishing Son, and a direct-to-video movie called Crazy Six. Yuen died in 2015 at 63.

Fast forward a few years later, when journalist Maya Lin Sugarman finds a box of forgotten screenplays -- written by her late uncle, Galen -- that sets her on a journey to uncover the truth about his tumultuous life. She discovers, among other shocking things that may or may not be true, that Galen was a leader of a Chinese gang, that he went to jail, and, in a final twist, that he poured his life story into a screenplay that was turned into a 1990s Hollywood action movie... starring Rob Lowe, Burt Reynolds, and Ice-T.

Maya shares her journey to discover the truth about Galen in the new podcast Magnificent Jerk, "the true story -- of a fake story -- about a real life." Listen to the trailer:

I've had the chance to hear all seven episodes of Magnificent Jerk, and the podcast is just straight down the middle of my strike zone -- untold stories about not-so-model minorities; Asian American actors toiling away in roles like "Labour Camp Guard," circa 1990s; Hollywood whitewashing by way of Rob Lowe; and of course, Albert Frickin' Pyun. For anyone who's ever wondered "how the hell did this movie get made?"

Magnificent Jerk is an Apple Original podcast produced by Audacy's Pineapple Street Studios. The first two episodes are out now, and new episodes drop weekly on Mondays. Listen on Apple Podcasts.

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