The Untold Truth Of House Hunters Host Suzanne Whang

House Hunters host Suzanne Whang passed away in her home at the age of 56 on Sept. 17, 2019, according to a post on her partner's Facebook page. "On Tuesday evening around 7:20 pm, Suzanne breathed her last breath here at home, as I knelt beside her and caressed her," he wrote, noting, "She was immensely encouraged by the love of her family, friends and those she had yet to meet."


Whang was best known for her role as the host of the wildly popular HGTV program House Hunters, which she did for over ten years between 1999 and 2011. On the show, she helped countless people figure out which homes were meant for them and which ones they should walk away from. But there was a whole lot more to Whang than real estate concerns, both on screen and off. Whang led an incredibly rich life and had an impressive career, to say the least. Read on to discover the untold truth of the late, great Suzanne Whang.

House Hunters host Suzanne Whang battled cancer for over a decade

In September 2019, House Hunters host Suzanne Whang succumbed to cancer, though the disease wasn't a recent development in her life. Rather, Whang first received a cancer diagnosis in 2006, something she kept quiet about for a long time. But things changed in 2011, when she was told she had Stage Four breast cancer and had only six months to live. "In Asian culture, it is considered shameful and tacky to talk about your problems," she explained in an interview with HuffPost. "So I had to break through a cultural core belief when I finally came out of the cancer closet." And when she did, she was met with a flood of love and support from all sides.


After that, she started doing comedy routines about her health, something she credits with helping her survive. "I believe that being honest and bold and funny about my journey helped me reclaim my health, and I encourage anybody going through difficulties to reach out for help," she continued. "As human beings, we were not meant to go though challenges alone." That's some serious wisdom right there.

Fighting cancer seriously depleted House Hunters host Suzanne Whang's funds

Despite the fact that Suzanne Whang had a long career hosting House Hunters and other high-profile gigs, her finances took quite the hit from her years-long battle with cancer. To that end, she had multiple fundraisers going, which she mentioned in a post on her Instagram page. "The owner of the venue, Jen, suggested making it a fundraiser night for me, which I truly appreciate since I'm running low on funds for my continued stage 4 cancer treatments," she wrote in the caption, discussing one particular event. "I believe they will pass a donation jar and you can put in whatever you want." Additionally, Whang had a GoFundMe page set up, which raised nearly $60,000 to help her offset medical costs.  


Whang kept her chin up during her battle, as she showed with a picture of a dressed-up growth on her Instagram page. "I put googly eyes, lashes, and lips on the tumor, named her Felicia ... and we all said 'Bye!' to her," she wrote in the caption. Talk about using humor to deal with difficult circumstances! 

Suzanne Whang did more than just host House Hunters

Given how popular House Hunters is, it makes sense that most people knew Suzanne Whang best as the longtime host of the show. But she had done a lot more than that in her decades-long career in the entertainment industry, and she'd worn a wide variety of hats. "I've been acting for about 15 years, hosting for seven years, and a stand-up comedian for three years," she recalled in a 2003 interview with UCLA. "And now I'm also a writer, director, and a producer, and a dessert topping and a floor wax." Clearly, Whang had a good sense of humor!


One look at Whang's IMDb page and you can see just how many films and television shows in which she had acted, including General Hospital, Dexter, and Las Vegas to name just a few. She also appeared in a number of programs, including House Hunters International, the 2015 Reality Television Awards, and The Playboy Morning Show. So while she may be gone, her legacy is solid, and she won't be forgotten. 

This is how House Hunters host Suzanne Whang got her start in entertainment

When House Hunters host Suzanne Whang decided to get into show business, she was living in Boston and working a regular job. But all that changed when she learned about an exciting opportunity nearby. "I was at my desk doing my job and I heard on the radio that they were casting for extras for that show Spenser: For Hire with Robert Urich," she shared in a 2003 interview with UCLA. "So I took a long lunch and I stood in line with all these people to get my Polaroid taken and to fill out my little size card." One month later, she got a call asking her to be an extra, so she took a sick day and was ready to hit the ground running.


Unfortunately, a power outage that night meant her alarm never went off, and she was late to the call. Fortunately, they let her come in late, as they hadn't started shooting anyway. There she met a fellow actor who showed her the ropes, and a month later she was making a living via acting.

This was House Hunters host Suzanne Whang's worst career fiasco

It's pretty well-known that landing a successful career as a comedian isn't easy. Audiences can be unforgiving, jokes can fall flat when you least expect them to, and critics can be difficult to please. Plus there's a lot of competition and the pay is pretty abyssal, especially when you're just starting out, according to an article in Vulture.


So it's not entirely surprising that House Hunters host Suzanne Whang's biggest career mishap was "probably a stand-up comedy show [she] did at Barfly in Hollywood," as she revealed in an interview with Gold Sea. "The electricity went out so there were only a few candles on stage, and no one could see my face," she said. Yikes!

Those weren't the only technical difficulties Whang dealt with that night, either. "And of course the microphone didn't work so people couldn't hear me very well," she continued. "My act completely tanked because I couldn't be seen or heard." That sounds like a total nightmare.

House Hunters host Suzanne Whang was accused of racism because of this comedy routine

If you're familiar with the comedic work of House Hunters host Suzanne Whang, you'll know that she had a character she developed by the name of Sung Hee Park. While the whole point of the character was to challenge racist assumptions, it was edgy of Whang to bring her to the stage. "She would tell these horrific, racist, politically incorrect, inappropriate, sexual, anything goes jokes to the point where she's a fish out of water..." she shared in an interview with UCLA. "So people end up being uncomfortable but then laughing and then really wanting her to do well."


Despite her noble intentions, some people didn't find the act very funny and accused Whang of being a racist. "My response to that is that my intention is exactly the opposite," she explained in an interview with Gold Sea. "I'm using humor and satire to shine a light on racism and stereotypes in the same way that Archie Bunker's character did in All in the Family." She added that there's no reason for her to perpetuate racism, something she dealt with her entire life.

House Hunters host Suzanne Whang believed in being a trailblazer

It wasn't until 2018 that the first major film with an all-Asian cast — Crazy Rich Asians — was released in American cinemas since The Joy Luck Club, as noted by Time. That sparked an uptick in discussions about the dearth of roles available to Asian-American actors and a call for better representation. 


When House Hunters host Suzanne Whang was asked about this very topic, she implored minorities to put themselves out there instead of waiting for white studio execs to heed the call. "I believe in self-empowerment by creating your own content," she proclaimed in a 2016 interview with HuffPost. "If there is content that you are passionate about wanting to see, if there are characters you would love to have brought to life, then take charge and do it yourself."

That's how Whang lived her whole life, making a way for herself and waiting for no one. "If I believe in statistics, I wouldn't exist," she continued. "I'm a female, I'm Korean, and I had breast cancer so I have only one and a half boobs. I shouldn't be working at all, and yet I'm starring in a new movie!"


Education was important to House Hunters host Suzanne Whang

House Hunters host Suzanne Whang was a successful comedian, actor, writer, director, and more during her lifetime. And while you don't necessarily have to go to school to become any one of those things, Whang had quite the impressive education under her belt. "I went to Yale undergraduate, and Brown for graduate school," she recalled in an interview with UCLA. "I got a B.A. in Psychology and a Masters in Cognitive Psychology." When it comes to schools, you can't do any better than that!


Whang was actually on track to get another degree, but she decided to put things on hold in the middle of it. "I was actually in the Ph.D. program at Brown to get a PhD in Cognitive Psychology to be a professor, but I left after my Masters," she continued. "I took a leave of absence to find myself." And find herself she did, as it was after that she began her career on stage and screen. Good thing she followed her heart!

House Hunters host Suzanne Whang had a super happy childhood

Even when House Hunters host Suzanne Whang was in her last days, she was always smiling and making jokes about her situation. That natural disposition toward happiness she attributes to her upbringing, which was super healthy. "The reason that I'm such a happy and successful person is because of the way I was raised by my parents. Every day they told me and showed me how much they love me," she revealed in an interview with Gold Sea. "They told me that I'm beautiful and talented and intelligent and kind and funny and strong, and that I can accomplish anything I want to do in the world."


That's not to say that every second was idyllic or that things were perfect all the time, as her parents were human beings, after all. "I'm not telling you that my parents never made mistakes," she continued. "But because of what they did right, they raised a daughter who knows how to let go of whatever mistakes they made, love them unconditionally, take responsibility for myself, and approach life with courage, joy and humor." If only every child could have that.

Believe it or not, House Hunters host Suzanne Whang's home was a mess

The majority of the houses that you see for sale on House Hunters are staged nicely and are generally well kept, inside and out. But believe it or not, if you were to have entered into Suzanne Whang's home when she was alive, you wouldn't be walking into a perfectly clean room where everything was in its right place. Quite the contrary, actually. "Most people are surprised at how messy my house is," she confessed in an interview with Gold Sea. "I'm a clutter freak and it's something I've been actively working on, daily." She wasn't lying, either. In July 2018, Whang took to Instagram to reveal a photo of her home, showing fans a space filled with stacks upon stacks of books, boxes, and storage bins. 


Clearly, Whang didn't adopt a Marie Kondo-like approach to cleaning like so many have. Who could have seen that coming?

House Hunters host Suzanne Whang found humor in her grandfather's death

One of the really amazing things about House Hunters host Suzanne Whang was the fearless way in which she publicly coped with her cancer diagnosis. Nothing stopped her from finding a way to see humor. To that end, Whang once shared the story of her paternal grandfather's death in a HuffPost interview. He was a minister in Korea and was well known, so, when he was interviewed for a retrospective about his life, it was live on the radio. "The final question that they asked him was, 'Rev. Whang, what is the secret to eternal life?' He smiled, took a deep breath, and said, 'Here is the secret to eternal life.' And then his head dropped face first into the table with a loud THUMP," she recalled. And because he was a known jokester, everyone laughed.


But as it turned out, her grandfather had had an aneurysm, and passed away right there. "Of course he died in the most hilarious, profound, and dramatic way possible," she continued. "I mean, come ON. 'Here's the secret to eternal life.' THUMP. See ya!" That's certainly a way to make your exit!

Gay rights were important to House Hunters host Suzanne Whang

In her lifetime, House Hunters host Suzanne Whang was outspoken about gay rights and marriage equality for all people. This was on full display at an event opposing California's Proposition 8 in 2009, where she spoke to a crowd about why she cares. "People say, 'I don't understand, Suzanne. You're a straight, Asian female. What do you care about gay marriage rights?'" she shared. "But I have to tell you, as an Asian and as a female, I've experienced racism and sexism my entire life. I know what it feels like to be misunderstood, discriminated against, outcast. It's not okay with me."


Additionally, Whang went on to say that she believed that equal rights for all people would be good for humanity as a species. "I don't benefit directly from gay marriage rights," she continued, "but the whole planet benefits, and we are all one." What a really beautiful sentiment.

House Hunters host Suzanne Whang was a survivor of sexual assault

House Hunters host Suzanne Whang was open about the fact that she was a survivor of sexual assault. This is something she mentioned in a post on her Instagram page, which she brought up in light of the allegations against Brent Kavanaugh when he was a nominee for the Supreme Court. Specifically, Whang revealed that she had been drugged and raped when she was a freshman at Yale University when she was only 16 years old. She also pointed out that her assault occurred during the same time period that Kavanaugh attended Yale, which is where his accuser says he attempted to assault her.


Whang discussed the harrowing details of her experience in an episode of the Stephanie Miller Show. Like many survivors, she blamed herself and didn't tell anyone about what had happened until many years later. Whang was able to get clarity about her assault before she passed away, though she still felt the pain of it.

These were the things House Hunters host Suzanne Whang enjoyed most in life

Although House Hunters host Suzanne Whang has departed from this life, there were things she loved dearly during her time on earth. "Here are some of the things I enjoy: I love performing, I love directing, I love teaching," she revealed in an interview with Gold Sea. "I love spending time with my family and friends." 


In addition to career and family, Whang also enjoyed other simple pleasures. "I love getting reiki healing and massages," she continued. "I love going to the movies, listening to all different genres of music, dancing, watching pro football on television, reading new theories about life, and laughing my a** off." She certainly helped plenty of people especially with the last one, both with her comedy and her candor.

Whang left a lot of herself behind in the form of film and television, and she spent a lifetime fighting for what she believed was right. Rest in peace, Suzanne, and thank you for everything.