She has Vietnamese-French ancestry.
Herself a victim of child abuse, Nuyen earned her Master's degree in clinical psychology (1986), and since then has made the transition to a second career in family practice counseling, working mostly with abused children, abused and battered women and women in prison.
Received the 1989 "Woman of the Year" award in Los Angeles, California for her work as a consulting psychologist in treating abused children and convicted women.
Marlon Brando, who had a penchant for Asian women, had a brief affair with Nuyen in the early 1960s.
Born to a French mother and Vietnamese father (French is her first language) and raised in Marseilles by a cousin, she claims her mother and grandfather were persecuted by the Germans during World War II for being gypsies.
Married and divorced twice. Her second husband was Robert Culp, whom she met while appearing on his television series I Spy (1965). Her first was a psychiatrist, with whom she had a daughter, Fleur Morell.
Surprisingly, the 50th anniversary celebration of South Pacific (1958) did not include her. She played the role of Liat in the 1958 classic.
Bitterly complained that Amy Tan deleted her best scene in The Joy Luck Club (1993) and took all known actresses off advertising in order to draw all attention to herself when promoting the film.
Arguably, she is best known in popular culture for her role in the third season episode of the original Star Trek: The Original Series (1966) series, Star Trek: The Original Series: Elaan of Troyius (1968), as the Dohlman of Elas.
Ex-stepmother of Jason Culp, Joseph Culp, Joshua Culp and Rachel Culp.
Got her role in the film South Pacific (1958) when model/agent Candy Jones took her to see director Joshua Logan, who was casting for the film. While the film was being made, Logan began talking to Nuyen about his next project, The World of Suzie Wong (1960), in which she would appear.
She was possibly the first person of Vietnamese descent to appear on American television.
Currently resides in Los Angeles, California as a psychological counselor.