Gordon Liu

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Gordon Liu
Chinese name 劉家輝 (traditional)
Chinese name 刘家辉 (simplified)
Pinyin Liú Jiāhuī (Mandarin)
Jyutping Lau4 Gaa1-fai1 (Cantonese)
Birth name 冼錦熙 (traditional)
冼锦熙 (simplified)
Xiǎn Jǐnxī (Mandarin)
Sin2 Gam2hei1(Cantonese)
Born (1955-08-22) August 22, 1955 (age 59)
Guangdong, China
Occupation martial arts film actor, martial artist
Years active 1974–2011
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Liu.

Gordon Liu (劉家輝; Lau Ka-Fai; pinyin: Liu Jiahui, formerly spelled Liu Chia-Hui, birth name Xian Jinxi; born August 22, 1955) is a Chinese martial arts film actor and martial artist. He became famous for playing the lead role of San Te in The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and its sequels. He also played kung fu master Pai Mei in Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004), and Johnny Mo in Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003), the head general of the Crazy 88, O-Ren Ishii's (Lucy Liu) personal army. Some fans call him the "Master Killer" after the alternate title to The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. He is also known to Indian fans as "Hojo", from Warner Bros.' first Bollywood movie, Chandni Chowk to China.

Personal life[edit]

Liu was born in Guangdong Province, China. He trained at Lau Cham's martial arts school of Hung Gar discipline, which descended from Wong Fei Hung's grand student (father to Lau Kar Leung). Liu is often wrongly cited as being the adopted son of Lau Cham, and adoptive brother of famed directors / actors Lau Kar-leung (Liu Chia-Liang) and Lau Kar-wing (Liu Chia-Yung). In fact, he was not adopted by the Lau brothers' family, he is actually just Lau Cham's godson.[1] In his youth, he skipped school to train in Chinese martial arts without his parents' knowledge. Lau Cham's wife assisted in his training and due to the friendship and respect he felt for his sifu and his wife, he took on the name Lau Kar Fai. As he grew up, he found a job as a shipping clerk to make ends meet. His interests had always been towards martial arts and he was eventually offered a role by Lau Kar Leung. His name prior to being adopted was Xian Jinxi (冼錦熙).[2] Gordon went through two marriages. He has two daughters from his first marriage, and a son and daughter from his second marriage.

In August 2011, while in To Kwa Wan performing with his band, it was reported that Gordon suffered a stroke and hit his head. It was revealed that he had partial right-sided paralysis and a speech impairment as a consequence of the stroke. To complicate matters, his estranged family (from his second marriage) had begun pressuring him for money. Depressed at his physical state and family complications, he isolated himself in a nursing home. In June 2012, Gordon decided to divorce his second wife and continues on the road to recovery.[3]

Career[edit]

Liu’s first break was with Chang's Film Company (a Shaw Brothers subsidiary operating in Taiwan) acting small parts for such films as 5 Shaolin Masters, Shaolin Martial Arts, and 4 Assassins. He starred in Challenge of the Masters (1976), as the folk hero Wong Fei Hung, and was featured in Executioners From Shaolin (1977) before starring in his signature role as Shaolin hero San Te in The 36th Chamber of Shaolin.

The tale of the imperialistic struggle against — while not a new one — was significant for the intense focus placed on the inner workings of Shaolin Temple itself. San Te, Liu’s character, overcomes the temple's thirty-five chambers as he unwittingly undergoes the rigorous training regime imposed by the temple’s Head Abbott on the pretext of “earning” a right to study martial arts there.

The “zero-to-hero” tale turned Liu into an international icon in spite of a frame far slighter than that of the folk hero himself (known as “Iron Arms” for the muscularity of his physique) and paved the way for a very healthy working schedule into the mid-1990s, even as younger, more agile martial artists eventually emerged. By the late 1980s he had begun accepting smaller roles such as in Lau Kar-leung's Tiger on the Beat.

Liu has also been active in television, and was contracted to Hong Kong's TVB company for many years, continuing playing roles as a martial arts master. Though still performing some martial arts roles, he is at home as well in comedic, self-deprecatory or emotional characters. His second-most common role in TVB has been playing a Hong Kong Police Force officer[citation needed].

Quentin Tarantino has long been a fan of Liu, and had one day hoped to find him a role in one of his movies. This eventually came to pass with the roles of Johnny Mo and Master Pai Mei in both Kill Bill films (incidentally, in one version of the script for the second film, Liu's lips would be speaking Cantonese while his voice, dubbed by Tarantino, would be in English — imitating a bad dub job). His roles in Kill Bill raised Liu's profile again and a renewed interest was shown by Chinese producers; since Kill Bill, Gordon has returned to doing movies while continuing to do television for Hong Kong's TVB station.

In 2008, Liu added a Bollywood film to his profile. Collaborating with Indian actor Akshay Kumar who is a top-billed Bollywood actor and also a martial arts performer in a film titled Chandni Chowk To China (CC2C). He played the role of the villain, Hojo, a smuggler and a well-trained martial artist. Before this, he appeared as himself (along with his mentor Lau Kar Leung) in Dragonland, 2009, the very first Italian documentary about Martial Cinema History, a homevideo 3 hours kung-fu marathon written and directed by specialist Lorenzo De Luca. Gordon attended as special guest star at the premiere in Rome, meeting his Italian fans for the first time. During August 2011, Gordon suffered a stroke and put all his plans on hold to recover; his camp has not released additional information and Liu had cancelled all public engagements as of March 2012.[4]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1974 5 Shaolin Masters
Shaolin Martial Arts
1975 4 Assassins
1976 Challenge of The Masters Wong Fei Hung
7 Man Army
Bloody Avengers
1977 He Has Nothing But Kung Fu
Executioners From Shaolin
1978 Breakout From Oppression
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin San Te
Heroes of the East Ah To
Shaolin Mantis
1979 Fury in The Shaolin Temple
Dirty Ho
Spiritual Boxer II
1980 Clan of the White Lotus Hong Wen-Ting
Return to the 36th Chamber
Fists And Guts
1981 My Young Auntie
Elders
Shaolin and Wu Tang
Martial Club Wong Fei Hung
1982 Raiders of Buddhist Kung Fu
The Shaolin Drunken Monk
Legendary Weapons of China
Treasure Hunters
Young Vagabond
Cat Vs Rat
1983 Lady Is the Boss
Crazy Shaolin Disciples
Tales of a Eunuch
Eight Diagram Pole Fighter Fifth Yang
1984 Shaolin Warrior
1985 Disciples of the 36th Chamber
1987 My Heart Is That Eternal Rose
1988 Legend of the Phoenix
Tiger on the Beat
1989 A Fiery Family
Code of Fortune
Avenging Trio
Ghost Ballroom
Killer Angels
1990 Tiger On The Beat II
A Bloody Fight
1991 China Heat
1992 Killing In The Dream
1993 Cheetah On Fire
Flirting Scholar
Deadly China Hero
Legend of the Liquid Sword
Bogus Cops
The Buddhism Palm Strikes Back For-wan Tse-san
The Mystery of the Condor Hero Yuen-tsan
1994 Drunken Master III
American Shaolin
Funny Shaolin Kids
1995 Lethal Girls 2
1996 Journey to the West (TV series)
1998 Journey to the West II (TV series)
1999 Generation Pendragon
The Island Tales
2000 The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber Sing Kwan
The Legend of Lady Yang Chan Yuen-lai
2001 A Step into the Past (TV series)
2002 Drunken Monkey
2003 Star Runner Coach Lau
The King of Yesterday and Tomorrow (TV series)
Kill Bill Volume 1 Johnny Mo
2004 Kill Bill Volume 2 Pai Mei
Shaolin Vs. Evil Dead Pak
2005 Dragon Squad
A Chinese Tall Story
Real Kung Fu Lin Yung (TV series)
2006 Mr. 3 Minutes
A Pillow Case of Mystery Sima Jui-fung (TV series)
2007 Shaolin Vs. Dead: Ultimate Power
On the First Beat Moon Gei (TV series)
2008 Heroes of Shaolin
Best Bet (TV series)
Dragonland Himself (Documentary)
Chandni Chowk to China Hojo
True Legend Old sage
The Four (TV series)
2009 Man in Charge (TV series)
Chinese Paladin 3 Evil Sword Immortal (TV series)
2010 Hot Summer Days Fai
A Pillow Case of Mystery II Si Ma Jeui-fung (TV series)
Links to Temptation Lam Chung-pau (TV series)
2011 Relic of an Emissary Yim Chun (TV series)
Curse of the Royal Harem (TV series)
Flying Swords of Dragon Gate
2012 Nightfall Retired CID officer
The Man with the Iron Fists The Abbott
Kill 'Em All (2012 Film) Snakehead

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]