Dancing with the Stars Wiki
Margaret Cho
Celebrity Profile
Birth Date 5 December 1968 (1968-12-05) (age 55)
Hometown San Francisco, California
Known For Comedienne

Dancing with the Stars 11

Partner(s) Louis van Amstel
Placement 10th
Highest Score 18 (Jive & Samba)
Lowest Score 15 (Viennese Waltz)
Average Score 17.0

Margaret Moran Cho is a celebrity from Season 11 of Dancing with the Stars.

Early Life[]

Cho was born into a Korean family in San Francisco, California. She grew up in a racially diverse neighborhood in the 1970s and 1980s, which she described as a community of "old hippies, ex-druggies, burn-outs from the 1960s, drag queens, Chinese people, and Koreans. To say it was a melting pot — that's the least of it. It was a really confusing, enlightening, wonderful time."

Cho's parents, Young-Hie and Seung-Hoon Cho, ran Paperback Traffic, a bookstore on Polk Street at California Street in San Francisco. Her father writes joke books and a newspaper column in Seoul, South Korea.

As a child, Cho was bullied, saying that "I was hurt because I was different, and so sharing my experience of being beaten and hated and called ugly and fat and queer and foreign and perverse and gluttonous and lazy and filthy and dishonest and yet all the while remaining invisible heals me, and heals others when they hear it — those who are suffering right now."

Between the ages of five and twelve, Cho was "sexually molested by a family friend". She often skipped class and got bad grades in ninth and tenth grades, resulting in her expulsion from Lowell High School. Cho said she was "raped continuously through my teenage years" (by another acquaintance), and that when she told someone else about it and her classmates found out, she received hostile remarks justifying it, including accusations of being "so ugly and fat" that only a crazy person would have sex with her.

After Cho expressed an interest in performance, she auditioned and was accepted into the San Francisco School of the Arts, a San Francisco public high school for the arts. While at the school, she became involved with the school's improvisational comedy group alongside actors Sam Rockwell and Aisha Tyler.

At age fifteen, she worked as a phone sex operator, and she later worked as a dominatrix.

Early Career[]

After doing several shows in a club adjacent to her parents's bookstore, Cho launched a stand-up career and spent several years developing her material in clubs. Cho's career began to build after appearances on television and university campuses. In 1992, she appeared in the unsuccessful Golden Girls spin-off, The Golden Palace, in a small role. In 1994, Cho won the American Comedy Award for Best Female Comedian. In 2010, on The View, she discussed her nervousness about doing The Golden Palace and thanked the late Rue McClanahan for her help with rehearsing. She also secured a coveted spot as opening act for Jerry Seinfeld; at this approximate time, she was featured in a Bob Hope special, and was also a frequent visitor to The Arsenio Hall Show.

Television Career[]

All American Girl[]

That same year, ABC developed and aired a sitcom based on Cho's stand-up routine. The show, titled All-American Girl, was initially promoted as the first show prominently featuring an East Asian family, although the short lived sitcom Mr. T and Tina, which had starred Noriyuki "Pat" Morita as Mr. T, preceded it by nearly two decades.

Cho has expressed subsequent regret for much of what transpired during the production of the show, specifically:

  • After network executives, especially executive producer Gail Berman, criticized her appearance and the roundness of her face, Cho starved herself for several weeks. Her rapid weight loss, done to modify her appearance by the time the pilot episode was filmed, caused serious kidney failure.
  • The show suffered criticism from within the U.S. East Asian community over its perception of stereotyping. Producers told Cho at different times during production both that she was "too Asian" and that she was "not Asian enough." At one point during the course of the show, producers hired a coach to teach Cho how to "be more Asian."
  • Much of the humor was broad and coarse, and at times, stereotypical portrayals of her close Korean relatives and gay book-shop customers were employed.

The show was canceled after suffering from poor ratings and the effect of major content changes over the course of its single season of nineteen episodes.

After the show's 1995 cancellation, Cho became addicted to drugs and alcohol. As detailed in her 2002 autobiography, I'm the One That I Want, in 1995, her substance abuse was evident during a performance in Monroe, Louisiana, where she was booed off the stage by eight hundred college students after going on the stage drunk.

Other Appearances[]

Cho hosted the New Year's Rockin' Eve 95 show with Steve Harvey.

Cho appeared in an episode of the HBO comedy Sex and the City's fourth season. The episode, titled "The Real Me", first aired 3 June 2001, and also guest-starred Heidi Klum.

Cho and her family and friends appeared in an episode of NBC's series, Celebrity Family Feud, which premiered 24 June 2008. Later that summer, Cho appeared in her own semi-scripted reality sitcom for VH1, The Cho Show, which premiered 21 August 2008 and lasted one season. She next appeared in the supporting cast of the series Drop Dead Diva, which debuted in July 2009.

In April 2011, Cho guest starred in the comedy 30 Rock in the episode "Everything Sunny All the Time Always". She portrayed Kim Jong-Il, then the leader of North Korea, that required her to speak both Korean and English. She was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. She later returned to portray Kim Jong-Il's son, Kim Jong-Un.

Film Career[]

In late 2004, Cho began work on her first self-written film in which she starred. Bam Bam and Celeste, a low-budget comedy about a "fag hag" and her gay best friend, co-starred Cho's friend and co-touring act Bruce Daniels. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2005. On Valentine's Day of 2004, Cho spoke at the Marriage Equality Rally at the California State Capitol. Her speech can be seen in the documentary Freedom to Marry.

In the 1997 film Face/Off starring Nicolas Cage and John Travolta, Cho played the role of Wanda, one of the fellow FBI agents of Travolta's primary character.

Personal Life[]

Cho married Al Ridenour, an artist involved in the production of Cacophony Society and the Art of Bleeding, in 2003. Cho was featured in an Art of Bleeding performance in March 2006. She described her marriage as "very conventional and conservative, I think. I mean we're such weird people that people just can't imagine that we would have a conventional marriage. But, yeah, we are very conventional." They were separated in September 2014 and Cho confirmed their separation in December. Cho referred to herself as "divorced" in an April 2015 profile in The New York Times, but actually filed for divorce in August 2015.

As of 2009, Cho was living in Peachtree City, Georgia, as Drop Dead Diva was filmed in the Atlanta area.

Cho is openly bisexual, and has stated that she has had "a lot of experience in the area of polyamory and alternative sexuality in general."

Dancing with the Stars 11[]

In 2010, Cho was a contestant in the 11th season of Dancing with the Stars. She was partnered with Louis van Amstel. They placed 10th.


Week # Dance/Song Judges' Scores Result
Inaba Goodman Tonioli
1 Viennese Waltz/"We Are the Champions" 5 5 5 Safe
2 Jive/"Dreaming" 6 6 6 Safe
3 Samba/"Copacabana" 6 6 6 Eliminated