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Ben Fong-Torres with Donald Sutherland at the Mill Valley Film Festival, 2005.
|Born|| January 7, 1945 |
|Occupation||rock journalist, author, and broadcaster|
|Alma mater||San Francisco State University|
|Notable award(s)||Deems Taylor Award for Magazine Writing, 1974|
Benjamin Fong-Torres (方振豪; Cantonese: Fong Chan Ho; born January 7, 1945, in Alameda, California) is an American rock journalist, author, and broadcaster best known for his association with Rolling Stone magazine (through 1981) and the San Francisco Chronicle (from around 1982).
Due to the Chinese Exclusion Act, Fong-Torres' father, Ricardo Fong-Torres (born Fong Kwok Seung), changed his surname to Torres and posed as a Filipino in order to emigrate to the United States. His family later adopted the hyphenated surname, Fong-Torres. He is the brother of the late Shirley Fong-Torres.
In real life, Fong-Torres, who graduated from San Francisco State University in 1966 with a B.A. in radio-TV-film, was a writer and senior editor of Rolling Stone from almost the magazine's inception. He conducted interviews for Rolling Stone of entertainment figures including Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, comedian Steve Martin and Linda Ronstadt's first cover story in 1975. He also profiled Marvin Gaye, Sly and the Family Stone, Bonnie Raitt, Paul McCartney and Rodney Dangerfield. A Fong-Torres interview with Ray Charles was awarded the Deems Taylor Award for Magazine Writing in 1974.
Fong-Torres was also a rock DJ for San Francisco radio station KSAN-FM in the 1970s. He later hosted a live, weekly entertainment and talk show, Fog City Radio, on NPR affiliate KQED-FM. On television, he is the Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of the Chinese New Year Parade broadcast on KTVU (Fox) in San Francisco. In recent years, he has published Hickory Wind, a biography of Gram Parsons; The Rice Room, a memoir; The Hits Just Keep on Coming, a history of Top 40 radio, and two compilations of past articles, Not Fade Away and Becoming Almost Famous (published in May 2006). His book with The Doors (The Doors By The Doors) was published by Hyperion in November 2006, and he published The Grateful Dead Scrapbook (Chronicle Books) in 2009. The Rice Room will be reprinted, with additional material and photographs, by the University of California Press in 2011. Since July 2005, Fong-Torres has written the bi-weekly column "Radio Waves" in the San Francisco Chronicle's Sunday Datebook. He has been a contributing editor to Parade magazine, and serves as a music editor for TONEAudio, a web-based audio publication. In 2007 to 2008, he hosted Backstage Sundays on San Francisco's KFRC-FM, and continues to do DJ work. He writes a weekly blog for the Web site of Wolfgang's Vault, and he appears regularly on the AsianConnections site.
In 2010, Suzanne Joe Kai, founder of the AsianConnections.com site and a television and film producer, began work on a documentary on Fong-Torres.