Chow Yun Fat is a charismatic, athletically built and energetic Asian-born film star who first came to the attention of western audiences via his roles in the high-octane/blazing guns action films of maverick HK director John Woo.
Born in 1955 on the quiet island of Lamma, part of the then British colony of Hong Kong near its famous Victoria Harbour, Chow's family moved to urban Hong Kong in 1965 and in early 1973, Chow attended a casting call for TVB, a division of Shaw Bros. productions. With his good looks and easy-going style, Chow was originally a heartthrob actor in non-demanding TV and film roles. However, his popularity increased with his appearance as white-suited gangster Hui Man-Keung in the highly popular drama TV series_The Bund (1983)_.
In 1985, Chow started receiving acclaim for his work and scored the Golden Horse (Best Actor) Award in Taiwan and another Best Actor Award from the Asian Pacific Film Festival for his performance in Dang doi lai ming (1984). With these accolades, Chow came to the attention of Woo, who cast Chow in the fast-paced gangster film A Better Tomorrow (1986) (aka "A Better Tomorrow"). The rest, as they say, is history. The film was an enormous commercial success, and Chow's influence on young Asian males was not dissimilar to the adulation given to previous Asian film sensations such as Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan. Nearly every young guy in Hong Kong ran out and bought himself a "Mark Coat," as they became known--a long, heavy woolen coat worn by Chow in the movie (although it is is actually very unsuited to Hong Kong's hot and humid climate).
Further hard-edged roles in more John Woo crime films escalated Chow's popularity even higher, and fans all over the world flocked to see A Better Tomorrow II (1987) (aka "A Better Tomorrow 2"), The Killer (1989) (aka "The Killer"), and Hard Boiled (1992) (aka "Hard Boiled"). With the phenomenal global interest in the HK action genre, Chow was enticed to the United States and appeared in The Replacement Killers (1998) with Mira Sorvino, The Corruptor (1999) with Mark Wahlberg, and, for a change of pace, in the often-filmed romantic tale of Anna and the King (1999).
Chow then returned to the Asian cinema circuit and starred in the critically lauded kung fu epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) (aka "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"). His wide appeal can be seen in his "boy next door" type of personality and his ability to play such a broad spectrum of roles from a comedic buffoon to a lovestruck Romeo to a trigger-happy professional killer. A highly entertaining and gifted actor with dynamic on-screen presence, Chow continues to remain in strong demand in many film markets.
|Jasmine Chow||(6 May 1987 - present)|
|On-on Yu||(1983 - 1983) (divorced)|
Chow often is seen with a trademark toothpick in his mouth, particularly in his films with John Woo.
The action superstar can be seen in most of his movies with twin guns (usually two Beretta 92s) and dark shades during a gunfight.
Won Hong Kong Academy "Best Actor" Awards Three Times: A Better Tomorrow, 1987. City On Fire, 1988, All About Ah Long, 1990.
Won Taiwan Golden Horse "Best Actor" Awards Two Times: Hong Kong 1941, 1985. An Autumn's Tale, 1987.
Won Asian Pacific Festival "Best Actor" Award for Hong Kong 1941, 1985.
Chow Yun-Fat was born of the Hakkha (aka Ha Ka) race, an ethnic group from China that has moved from one region to another without taking up permanent residence since the ancient times. The Hakkha dialect is now the second most popular dialect in Taiwan.
CineAsia, the Asian Theatre Owners Convention, named Chow the Star of the Decade.
Turned down the role of Morpheus in The Matrix (1999).
Chosen one of 50 Most Beautiful People by People Magazine in 2002.
Before going to work on a movie each day, he goes to the nearest market and buys some fresh fruit.
Sponsors a lot of charity events such as,"National Wildlife" and many others.
Unusually tall by Chinese standards, he was often a head taller than his co-stars in his Hong Kong films, female or male.
Tri-lingual, speaking Cantonese, Mandarin, and English.
Credited as Chow Anderson in the Philippines in his earlier films.
He helped Andy Lau in his movie career, after it almost crashed when he refused to sign a contract with TVB, which made him blacklisted from Hong Kong Television.
He and Andy Lau made 4 movies together: Ying hung ho hon (1987), Gong woo ching (1987), God of Gamblers (1989), and God of Gamblers II (1991). They also made two TV-series together: "Yang ka cheung" (1986) and "Sou hat yi" (1982).
After a first unsuccessful marriage with a fellow Hong Kong star actress, he fell in love and re-married the daughter of one of the richest Chinese dynastic scions from Singapore.
Attempted suicide over the break-up after 5-year (1978-1983) romance with popular TV star Idy Chan.
Enjoys Photography. His elder sister also is a photographer.
Made a surprise cameo in the hit Chinese independent film Waiting Alone (2004).
In the West audiences think I am a stereotyped action star, or that I always play hitmen or killers. But in Hong Kong, I did a lot of comedy, many dramatic films, and most of all, romantic roles, lots of love stories. I was like a romance novel hero.
If I can associate with the people very, very gently very, very friendly every day I'm happpy. If I don't pay them respect I feel terrible inside" - From an interview with Chow Yun-Fat in the Documentary Chow Yun-Fat goes Hollywood
As an actor we're just like workers in a factory, we provide our services to directors. But I must do my job perfectly, and I love what I do.
Working in front of the camera keeps me alive. I couldn't care less about actors' trailers and food on sets and stuff like that - I just want to act.
[on his Mandarin pronunciation in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)] It's awful. The first day I had to do 28 takes simply because of the language problem. That's never happened before in my life. It put me under a lot of pressure. There was a lot of dialogue in this film, more than I've ever had to speak before. It was like speaking Shakespeare.
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