A career milestone came in 1983, at the end of the 11-year run of the CBS series "M*A*S*H." Chao portrayed Soon-Lee, a Korean native who meets, falls in love with and marries former cross-dresser Corporal Klinger (Jamie Farr) in what turned out to be the highest-rated TV program in broadcasting history. When several "M*A*S*H" regulars teamed up for the middling spinoff "AfterMASH" (CBS, 1983-84), Chao reprised her role of Soon-Lee Klinger. Around this time, she also played the female lead in the high-profile TV-movie "The Terry Fox Story" (HBO, 1983). Chao was Rika, the girlfriend of the disabled runner Fox, who had lost a leg to cancer. History repeated itself somewhat a decade after "AfterMASH," when Chao's recurring character of ship's botanist Keiko married engineering chief Miles O'Brien (Colm Meaney) well into the run of the popular syndicated sci-fi update "Star Trek: The Next Generation." They reprised their roles in expanded form on the 1993 spinoff "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." Intermittently, Chao has made feature films since 1980 when she performed in support of Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan in "The Big Brawl." Perhaps her most noteworthy credit was documentary filmmaker Nancy Kelly's first feature, "1000 Pieces of Gold" (1990), with Chao playing a young woman attempting to escape slavery during California's Gold Rush days. Her first teaming with director Wayne Wang, "Slamdance" (1987), proved disappointing, but Chao later enjoyed a larger role amid an impressive and largely Asian-American ensemble in Wang's more rewarding "The Joy Luck Club" (1993). As Rose, Chao was a budding artist who sacrifices her career after marrying Andrew McCarthy. As it happened, Chao de-emphasized her own performing career after having a child. She has subsequently appeared in small roles in features including "North" and "Love Affair" (both 1994).