Chow Yun-fat

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Chow.
Chow Yun-fat
Chow Yun Fat for wiki.jpg
Chinese name 周潤發 (traditional)
Jyutping Zau1 Jeon6faat3 (Cantonese)
Born (1955-05-18) May 18, 1955 (age 59)
Lamma Island, British Hong Kong
Occupation Actor
Years active 1974–present
Spouse(s) Candice Yu (1983–1983)
Jasmine Tan (m. 1986)
Chow Yun-fat
Traditional Chinese 周潤發

Chow Yun-fat, SBS (born May 18, 1955), is a Hong Kong actor. He is best known in Asia for his collaboration with filmmaker John Woo in heroic bloodshed genre films A Better Tomorrow, The Killer, and Hard Boiled; and to the West for his roles in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as Li Mu-bai and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End as Sao Feng. He mainly plays in dramatic films and has won three Hong Kong Film Awards for "Best Actor" and two Golden Horse Awards for "Best Actor" in Taiwan.

Personal life[edit]

Chow was born in Lamma Island, Hong Kong to a mother who was a cleaning lady and vegetable farmer, and a father who worked on a Shell Oil Company tanker.[1][2] Of Hakka origins,[3][4] he grew up in a farming community on Lamma Island in a house with no electricity.[5] He woke up at dawn each morning to help his mother sell herbal jelly and Hakka tea-pudding on the streets and in the afternoons he went to work in the fields. His family moved to Kowloon when he was ten. At seventeen, he quit school to help support the family by doing odd jobs including bellboy,[6] postman, camera salesman, and taxi driver. His life started to change when he responded to a newspaper advertisement and his actor-trainee application was accepted by TVB, the local television station. He signed a three-year contract with the studio and made his acting debut. With his striking good looks and easy-going style, Chow became a heartthrob and a familiar face in soap operas that were exported internationally.

Chow has been married twice; first in 1983, to Candice Yu, an actress from Asia Television; the marriage lasted nine months. In 1986, Chow married Singaporean Charaine Zheng). Currently, the couple have no children, although Chow has a goddaughter, Celine Ng, a former child model for Chickeeduck, McDonald's, Toys'R'Us and other companies.


It did not take long for Chow to become a household name in Hong Kong following his role in the hit series The Bund in TVB in 1980. The Bund, about the rise and fall of a gangster in 1930s Shanghai, made him a star. It was one of the most popular TV series ever made in Hong Kong and was a hit throughout Asia.

Although Chow continued his TV success, his goal was to become a big screen actor. His occasional ventures onto the big screens with low-budget films, however, were disastrous. Success finally came when he teamed up with director John Woo in the 1986 gangster action-melodrama A Better Tomorrow, which swept the box offices in Asia and established Chow and Woo as megastars. A Better Tomorrow won him his first Best Actor award at the Hong Kong Film Awards. It was the highest grossing film in Hong Kong history at the time, and it set the standard for Hong Kong gangster films to come. Taking the opportunity, Chow quit TV entirely. With his new image from A Better Tomorrow, he made many more 'gun fu' or 'heroic bloodshed' films, such as A Better Tomorrow 2 (1987), Prison on Fire, Prison on Fire II, The Killer (1989), A Better Tomorrow 3 (1990), Hard Boiled (1992) and City on Fire an inspiration for Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs.

Chow may be best known for playing honorable tough guys, whether cops or criminals, but he also starred in comedies like Diary of a Big Man (1988) and Now You See Love, Now You Don't (1992) and romantic blockbusters such as Love in a Fallen City (1984) and An Autumn's Tale (1987), for which he was named best actor at the Golden Horse Awards. He brought together his disparate personae in the 1989 film God of Gamblers (Du Shen), directed by the prolific Wong Jing, in which he was by turns suave charmer, broad comedian and action hero. The film surprised many, became immensely popular, broke Hong Kong's all-time box office record, and spawned a series of gambling films, as well as several comic sequels starring Andy Lau and Stephen Chow. His character's often tough demeanor and youthful appearance has earned him the nickname "Babyface killer".

Chow Yun-fat

The Los Angeles Times proclaimed Chow Yun-Fat "the coolest actor in the world."[7] In the mid '90s, Chow moved to Hollywood in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to duplicate his success in Asia. His first two films, The Replacement Killers (1998) and The Corruptor (1999), were box office disappointments. In his next film Anna and the King (1999), Chow teamed up with Jodie Foster, but the film suffered at the box office. Chow accepted the role of Li Mu-Bai in the (2000) film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It became a winner at both the international box office and the Oscars. In 2003, Chow came back to Hollywood and starred in Bulletproof Monk. In 2006, he teamed up with Gong Li in the film, Curse of the Golden Flower, directed by Zhang Yimou.

In 2007, Chow was cast as the pirate captain Sao Feng in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. His character, however, was omitted when the movie was shown in mainland China. His character was criticized as demeaning as it "vilifies and humiliates the Chinese."[8]

In a poorly received Dragonball Evolution, Chow Yun-fat played Master Roshi.[9]

In 2014, he returned to Hong Kong cinema by participating in "From Vegas to Macau".[10] He even lost 13 kg within 10 months for his character.[11]


On June 26, 2008, Chow released his first photo collection in Hong Kong, which includes pictures taken on the sets of his films. Proceeds from sales of the book were donated to Sichuan earthquake victims. Published by Louis Vuitton, the books were sold in Vuitton's Hong Kong and Paris stores.[12][13]


Chow has appeared in over 121 films and 24 television series.

Video games[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Hong Kong Film Awards

(13 Best Actor Nominations, 2 Best Supporting Actor Nominations, 2 Best Original Film Song Nominations)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Yun-Fat Chow Biography (1955-)". Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  2. ^ "A man of melodrama: Action films made Chow Slightly-Fat famous, but 'The Corruptor' star says he's an actor". Retrieved February 15, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Honorary Doctor of Letters - Mr CHOW Yun-fat" (PDF). 
  4. ^ "Martial(private) parts - Artist: Is-Fat, Chow". 
  5. ^ "Film chat: Chow Yun-Fat - Chowing the Fat; How Eastern hero Chow Not-Fat came to hold the West hostage. By Anna Day. (Features) Article from The Mirror (London, England)". 2003-04-18. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  6. ^ Boland, Rory (2007-07-15). "''The Boston Globe'': "Hong Kong feels like a movie set because it is", July 15, 2007". Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  7. ^ Smith, RJ (1995-03-12). "the coolest actor in the world : In This Country, Chow Yun-fat Is Only a Cult Figure. But the Hong Kong Action Star Has a Global Audience That Has Made His Movies International Blockbusters. With China About to Take Back the Crown Colony, He Has His Eye on the United States.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "China censors takes scissors to latest 'Pirates of the Caribbean' film". Agence France-Presse. 2007-06-15. Retrieved 2007-06-17. [dead link]
  9. ^ Lee, Nathan (April 10, 2009). "Possess Glittery Magic Orb, Do Martial Arts, Save World". New York Times. 
  10. ^ "From Vegas to Macau". 
  11. ^ "周潤發公開減肥秘訣 10個月激減13公斤 I last = 張 I first = 潔". 信息時報. 2014-01-25. 
  12. ^ "Crouching Tiger actor launches book for benefit of Chinese earthquake victims". Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  13. ^| 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' star Chow Yun-fat publishes photo collection

External links[edit]