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 citizen in order to emigrate to the United States. His family later adopted the hyphenated surname, Fong-Torres. He is the brother of Shirley Fong-Torres.
In real life, Fong-Torres 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. 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. 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. Since July 2005, he has written the bi-weekly column "Radio Waves" in the San Francisco Chronicle's Sunday Datebook. He is also a contributing editor to Parade magazine, and the music editor for TONEAudio, a web-based audio publication. He is now the host of "Backstage" which is aired from 7-9 am and 7-9 pm on San Francisco's KFRC-FM.