Yuen Siu-tien

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Yuen Siu-tien
Chinese name 袁小田
Pinyin Yuán Xiǎotián (Mandarin)
Jyutping Jyun4 Siu2tin4 (Cantonese)
Origin Beijing (Chinese opera)
Hong Kong (action film)
Born (1912-11-27)27 November 1912
Beijing, China
Died 8 January 1979(1979-01-08) (aged 66)
Hong Kong, China
Other name(s) Simon Yuen
Simon Yuen Siu-tien
Siu-tien Yuen
Years active 1949–1979
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Yuen.

Yuen Siu-tien (Chinese: 袁小田) (27 November 1912 – 8 January 1979) (also known as Yuan Xiaotian, Simon Yuen, Sam Seed or "Ol' Dirty") was a Chinese martial arts film actor in the late 1970s. Yuen is perhaps best known as Beggar So (A.K.A Sam Seed) in three films: Drunken Master, Story of Drunken Master and his final film Dance of the Drunk Mantis. He starred in several films with film actors like Jackie Chan and under the direction of his real life son Yuen Woo-ping.

Film career[edit]

Success at an advanced age[edit]

Yuen trained in the traditional Peking opera role of Wu-Shen. He began his acting career at age 37, in the first Wong Fei-hung film to star Kwan Tak-hing, Story of Huang Feihong (1949), though his film appearances were rare until the late 1950s. He is best known for portraying mentors and kung fu masters, and featured in almost 150 films throughout his career.

One of his internationally best-known films came late in his career, Drunken Master (1978), in which he played Beggar So (Sam Seed in some English dubs), an old hermit who had mastered the art of drunken boxing, aiding a young Wong Fei-hung, played by Jackie Chan. The role was a reprisal (in all but name) of the one he had played in another of Chan's films, Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (1978). At the time, Drunken Master proved to be the most successful film to feature Chan. The film portrayed Wong Fei-hung as a young and mischievous rascal as opposed to the venerable, Confucian master of kung fu played in many films by Kwan Tak-hing. The movie was a surprise international hit, and greatly helped to boost the career of the then 66 year old actor. Yuen reprised the role of The Beggar So for three further films, Dance of the Drunk Mantis, Story of Drunken Master, and World Of The Drunken Master (in which he had a cameo).

Ol' Dirty[edit]

The rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard (ODB) took his name from one of Yuen's films Ol' Dirty & The Bastard.[citation needed] ODB was a member of the Wu-Tang Clan rap group until his death in 2004. His lyrics were often inspired by 1970s kung fu films.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Yuen is the father of eleven children, six of whom have worked (or still work) in the Hong Kong film industry. The five eldest sons were known collectively as the "Yuen clan" and often worked in combinations on many films:

  • Yuen Woo-ping - director and action director
  • Yuen Cheung-yan - actor and action director
  • Yuen Shun-yee (Sunny Yuen) - actor and action director
  • Yuen Yat-chor - actor
  • Yuen Chun-yeung (Brandy Yuen) - actor, stuntman and action director
  • Yuen Lung-chu - actor

Yuen had two additional sons and three daughters.[1]

Legacy[edit]

Yuen's likeness was used for the character Chin Gentsai in the SNK series, The King of Fighters, as well as for the character Shun Di from the Virtua Fighter series (taken from the role of Su Hai from Drunken Master).

Death[edit]

On January 8, 1979, Yuen died of heart attack. He was 66 years old. Yuen was considered for the role of Beggar So in the 1979 film Magnificent Butcher alongside Sammo Hung, but died as production of the film began. Yuen was replaced by Fan Mei-sheng (father of the Story of Ricky star Fan Siu-wong). Filming was continued with Fan's Drunken Master character, which necessitated reshooting some of Yuen's scenes. However, Fan's character is never referred as "Beggar So" in this film.

Filmography[edit]

Films[edit]

TV series[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Yuen Clan : Father and Sons". Biographical article. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 

External links[edit]