Jimmy Wang (actor)

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Not to be confused with Wong Yue.
Jimmy Wang Yu
Chinese name 王羽
Pinyin Wáng Yǔ (Mandarin)
Jyutping Wong4 Jyu5 (Cantonese)
Pe̍h-ōe-jī Ông-Ú (Hokkien)
Birth name Wang Zhengquan
Ancestry Wuxi, Jiangsu, China
Born (1943-03-28) March 28, 1943 (age 71)
Shanghai, China
Other name(s) Wong Yu-lung
White Dragon
Occupation Actor
Years active 1960s-2000s
Spouse(s) Jeanette Lin (1969-1975)
Children Linda Wong
Wong Mei-yee
Wong Ka-lau
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Wang.
Jimmy Wang Yu
Chinese 王羽
Wang Zhengquan
Traditional Chinese 王正權
Simplified Chinese 王正权

Wang Zhengquan (born March 28, 1943), better known as Jimmy Wang Yu and Wong Yu-lung, is a Shanghai-born Taiwanese actor, film director, producer and screenwriter. Wang rose to fame in 1967 with his starring role in One-Armed Swordsman, a martial arts film produced by the Shaw Brothers Studio. The Chinese Boxer (1969), another film he acted in, is credited as the first Hong Kong action film that kickstarted the unarmed combat genre that took Asia by storm in the 1970s.[citation needed]

Acting career[edit]

Before joining the Hong Kong-based Shaw Brothers Studio in 1963, Wang served in the National Revolutionary Army and was also a swimming champion in Hong Kong and a car racing enthusiast. In 1968, he acted with Cheng Pei-pei in the wuxia film Golden Swallow, directed by Chang Cheh. Following that, Wang starred in many other wuxia films, including Temple of the Red Lotus (1965), One Armed Boxer (1971), Master of the Flying Guillotine (1976) and Return of The Chinese Boxer (1977).

If One-Armed Swordsman was the movie that launched Wang's acting career, The Chinese Boxer was the film that sealed his fame in Hong Kong cinema. The latter has been credited[citation needed] as being the first Hong Kong martial arts film that kickstarted the unarmed combat genre, mainly kung fu. It also triggered a phenomenon that filled the ranks of many Chinese martial arts associations across Southeast Asia. Chinese youths, in their bid to emulate Wang, took to punching sandbags, and reading up on the history of Shaolin Kung Fu.

Controversy dogged Wang after the fame that exploded with The Chinese Boxer. He broke his contract with the Shaw Brothers Studio, and was promptly slapped with a lawsuit. The legal tussle that ended in the studio's favour led to Wang being banned from making films in Hong Kong. Wang then looked to Taiwan for better career prospects, linking up with Golden Harvest and other independent film outfits. His subsequent works were mostly filmed in Taiwan.

With the success of The Chinese Boxer, Wang stood unchallenged in Southeast Asia for the rest of the 1960s as the Chinese actor with the most formidable fists and legs. But beginning in the 1970s, Wang's star began to be eclipsed with the entry of new actors, many with superior martial arts training such as Ti Lung, David Chiang, and especially Bruce Lee, whose role in The Big Boss (1971) revolutionised the martial arts film genre.

In 1976, Wang appeared alongside Jackie Chan in Lo Wei's Killer Meteors. In the late 1970s, Wang helped Chan when then the latter sought his help in settling a dispute with Lo Wei. Chan eventually repaid the favour with his roles in Wang's films, Fantasy Mission Force (1982) and Island of Fire (1990).

In 1986, Sammo Hung cast Wang as Wong Kei-ying (the father of Chinese folk hero Wong Fei Hung) in Millionaire's Express. In the years that followed, Wang kept a low profile, making a rare public appearance in 2002 at the funeral of Chang Cheh.

Wang acted in more than 70 films in a career that spanned more than two decades. Even though he left an indelible mark on the history of martial arts film, he was never the accomplished martial artist which his films made him to be. It was actually camera techniques and film editing that gave Wang the aura of invincibility in the fighting arena. Additionally, he was in fact a Shotokan karate exponent. Still, credit belongs to him for paving the way for other martial arts films and actors that came after he had left the stage. He was once the highest paid martial arts film actor in Hong Kong before Bruce Lee broke the record.

Private life[edit]

Wang's private life is actually more colourful than his film career. For years, his off-screen exploits thrilled newspaper and periodical readers with somewhat torrid accounts of his various affairs, well-publicised drunken bar brawls and other niceties.

In 1969, Wang married actress Jeanette Lin, who was nine years his senior. Before that, Wang had a scandalous affair with the wife of film director Qin Jian. Qin hung himself before a divorce took place. Jeanette Lin, who had a high profile in Hong Kong cinema in the 1950s and 1960s, left the industry almost immediately after her marriage. Matrimony turned out to be a tumultuous affair for both Wang and Lin. Amid allegations of wife-beating, the marriage crumbled in 1975. Wang and Lin had three daughters. Their eldest daughter Linda Wong became a popular Cantopop singer in the 1990s. Lin migrated to the United States in 1977 and died in 1995 after an asthma attack.

Wang later remarried, this time to air hostess Wang Kaizhen (王凱貞). This marriage, too, proved to be a stormy relationship and Wang Kaizhen filed for divorce. Maybe out of frustration, Wang Kaizhen started an affair with a young businessman Zhang Zhao (張昭). Having gotten wind of it, Wang, accompanied by reporters and the police, surprised the couple at their lodging and publicly exposed his wife. After public humiliation was heaped on the couple, Wang divorced his second wife in 1997.

There were other serious problems in Wang's life. In 1981, he faced a murder charge in Taiwan. However, the charge was dropped due to lack of evidence. Wang's involvement in public brawls also made headlines from time to time.

In 2011 Wang Yu suffered a stroke which caused him to loose much of his strength in the left side of his body. However, he worked vigorously at his physical therapy, even exceeding the doctor's recommended pace. Reportedly he would lift his arm 1000 times a day instead of 200, and he would walk three times the suggested distance. As a result of his efforts he can walk and talk almost normally, and he can lift his left arm, though he can no longer use its full strength. Since then he has tried to live normally, and has even returned to film work. He admitted to even driving to his physical therapy session with the use of only the one arm, but explained that his daughter put a stop to that when she found out and had hired him a driver.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Film Result
1977 15th Golden Horse Awards Best Actor Brotherly Love Nominated
2011 48th Golden Horse Awards Best Supporting Actor Dragon Nominated
2012 31st Hong Kong Film Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2013 15th Taipei Film festival Soul Best Actor Won
2013 50th Golden Horse Film Awards Soul Best Leading Actor Pending

Filmography[edit]

Actor[edit]

  • Twin Sword (1964)
  • Tiger Boy (1964)
  • Temple of the Red Lotus (1965)
  • The Twin Swords (1965)
  • Magnificent Trio (1966)
  • Tiger Boy (1966)
  • The Assassin (1967)
  • Trail of the Broken Blade (1967)
  • Asia-Pol (1967)
  • Sword and the Lute (1967)
  • One-Armed Swordsman (1967)
  • The Sword of Swords (1968)
  • Golden Swallow (1968)
  • Return of the One-Armed Swordsman (1969)
  • My Son (1970)
  • The Chinese Boxer (1970)
  • One Armed Boxer (1971)
  • The Desperate Chase (1971)
  • The Professional Killer (1971)
  • Morale and Evil (1971)
  • Invincible Sword (1971)
  • Zatoichi and the One-Armed Swordsman (1971)
  • The Magnificent Chivalry (1971)
  • The Invincible (1972)
  • Furious Slaughter (1972)
  • The Last Duel (1972)
  • Chow Ken (1972)
  • The Adventure (1972)
  • Shogun Saints (1972)
  • Royal Fist (1972)
  • Black Friday (1973)
  • A Man Called Tiger (1973)
  • Knight Errant (1973)
  • Seaman No. 7 (1973)
  • Beach of the War Gods (1973)
  • The Two Cavaliers (1973)
  • King of Boxers (1973)
  • Ten Fingers of Steel (1973)

Producer[edit]

Director[edit]

Action director[edit]

  • Boxers of Loyalty and Righteousness (1973)

Screenwriter[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]