Sun Li (actress)

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Sun Li
Chinese name 孫儷 (traditional)
Chinese name 孙俪 (simplified)
Pinyin Sūn Lì (Mandarin)
Born (1982-09-26) 26 September 1982 (age 35)
Shanghai, China
Ethnicity Han
Alma mater Shanghai Oriental Culture College
Years active 2001–present
Label(s) Hairun Media
Spouse(s) Deng Chao (m. 2010)
Children 2
Hundred Flowers Awards
Best New Performer
2006 Fearless
Golden Eagle Awards
Favorite Actress
2003 Goddess of Mercy
2014 Hot Mom!
Flying Apsaras Awards
Outstanding Actress
2017 Nothing Gold Can Stay
Shanghai Television Festival
Best Actress
2014 Hot Mom!
2016 The Legend of Mi Yue

Sun Li, (Chinese: 孙俪, born 26 September 1982), also known as Susan Sun,[a] is a Chinese actress. She is hailed by critics and netizens as China's "Queen of Television".[1] In 2018, she became of the Chinese actresses to win the "Grand Slam", after winning the three biggest awards including the Flying Apsaras Awards, Golden Eagle Awards and the Magnolia Awards.


Sun first entered show business by participating in 2001's Star Search, held by Singapore's MediaCorp.[1] She reached the finals and earned the praise of judge Andy Lau. Following the competition, Sun joined Hairun Media as their first flagship artist.

In 2003, author and TV producer Hai Yan selected her for the female lead in the television series Goddess of Mercy. Sun received overwhelmingly positive feedback from audiences for her portrayal of An Xin, and rose to fame in China as one of the most promising young actresses.[2] In an interview with Global Times, Sun thanked Ding Hei, the director of Goddess of Mercy saying; "Not only because he provided me with [the role of] An Xin, but what's more, he believed in me, a person who never received any formal acting lessons. ... It benefited me all my life."[2]

In 2006, Sun won the Best Newcomer award at the 28th Hundred Flowers Awards for her performance in Huo Yuanjia co-starring Jet Li.[3] She then starred alongside Huang Xiaoming in Shanghai Bund (2007), a mainland remake of the 1980 television series The Bund.[4]

Sun starred in Gordon Chan's horror-adventure film Painted Skin (2008), and was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress award for her performance as a young and inexperienced demon hunter at numerous award ceremonies.[5] The same year, she starred in Gao Xixi's military-romance drama Tian Mi Mi. The series was chosen by the Chinese Radio & Television Association as one of the Top Ten television series of the year.

Sun then starred in Iron Road (2009), the second joint venture created under Canada/China co-production treaty established in the 1960s.[6] She plays a poor Chinese girl in search of her father who works at a railroad in North America, and challenged speaking in English for the film. For her performance, Sun was crowned Best Actress at the 2nd Roma FictionFest and the 25th Gemini Awards.[7][8] The same year, Sun played the title character in the television series, Auntie Duohe, based on the novel of the same name by acclaimed writer Geling Yan.[9]

Sun gained widespread recognition by playing Zhen Huan in the critically acclaimed historical drama, Empresses in the Palace. She was nominated for an International Emmy Award in the Best Actress category for her role.[10] Praised for being one of the best historical dramas in China, the series garnered high ratings throughout its run and also sparked trends in dialogue quotes and plastic surgery.[11][12] The same year, she reunited with Painted Skin director Gordan Chan in Mural (also known as Painted Skin 2).[13] She also starred in martial arts film The Lost Bladesman alongside Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen.[14]

For her role as an independent mother in Hot Mom! (2013), Sun won the Best Actress award at the 20th Shanghai Television Festival.[15] She also won the Most Popular Actress award at the 10th China Golden Eagle TV Arts Festival.[16]

In 2015, Sun played Queen Dowager Xuan, the first stateswoman in China, in historical drama The Legend of Mi Yue.[1] The series was a commercial success, and recorded the highest ratings of the year.[17] Sun won her second Best Actress trophy at the 22nd Shanghai Television Festival.[18] The same year, Sun challenged her first comedy role in Devil and Angel, directed by her husband Deng Chao.[19]

In 2017, Sun played the titular character in the period drama Nothing Gold Can Stay, based off a real-life story of Zhou Ying, a budding businesswoman who takes on the responsibilities from her dead husband and starts rebuilding their business empire from scratch.[20] For her performance in the role, Sun was awarded the Outstanding Actress award at the Flying Apsaras Awards.[21]

In 2018, Sun was cast in Zhang Yimou's upcoming film, Shadow as the female lead.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Sun has been married to actor Deng Chao since 2010. They have two children, a son named Deng Han Zhi and a daughter named Deng Han Yi.[23]

Sun expressed her stand against animal cruelty by featuring in PETA Asia’s anti-fur ad in 2010.[24]



Year Title Role Notes
2001 Ge Ge Shu Ling Ling
2006 Fearless Yue Ci (Moon)
2008 Painted Skin Xia Bing
2009 Iron Road Little Tiger
Kung Fu Cyborg Zhou Shumei
2010 Just Another Pandora's Box Rose
2011 The Lost Bladesman Qilan
Mural Shao Yao
2014 Just Another Margin Jin Ling
The Breakup Guru Herself Cameo
2015 Devil and Angel Zha Xiaodao
2018 Shadow

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2001 Romance in the Rain Dancer
2003 Goddess of Mercy An Xin
Yi Shuang Xiu Hua Xie Lin Ying
2004 A Ray of Sunshine Yi Aiyuan/Yi Chuanxia
Hong Fen Shi Jia Yao Zhi
Crimson Romance Zhou Xiaobai
2005 Feng Yu Xi Guan Xie Tianhui
Days and a Bureau Zhu Wanqiu
Happiness as Flowers Du Juan
Emerald on the Roof Mo Jiaqi
2007 Shanghai Bund Feng Chengcheng
Yi Shi Qing Yuan Ji Wen
2008 Tian Mi Mi Ye Qing
2009 Auntie Duohe Duo He
2011 The Legend of Zhen Huan Zhen Huan
2013 Hot Mom! Xia Bing
2015 The Legend of Mi Yue Mi Yue
2017 Nothing Gold Can Stay Zhou Ying



Year English Title Chinese Title Language Notes
2006 Love is like the Air 爱如空气 Mandarin
2008 A Little Dream 小小的梦想 Mandarin
2010 Beautiful Signal 美俪暗号 Mandarin


Year English Title Chinese Title Album Notes
2003 "Happier Than Me" 比我幸福 Goddess of Mercy OST
2006 "Even If There is No Tomorrow" 就算没有明天 Shanghai Bund OST with Huang Xiaoming
2007 "The Moon Represents My Heart" 月亮代表我的心 Tian Mi Mi OST with Deng Chao
2009 "Memory" 记忆 Kungfu Cyborg OST with Alex Fong
2010 "Slowly Be Happy" 慢慢快乐 N/A with Mo Yan Lin
2011 "Mural" 画壁 Mural OST with Deng Chao
2013 "A Stable Happiness" 稳稳的幸福 Hot Mom OST with Zhang Yi
"How Can You Bear to Hurt Me" 你怎么舍得伤害我 N/A Charity song; with Gigi Leung & Valen Hsu
2017 "Can't Forget" 忘不掉 Nothing Gold Can Stay OST

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2004 24th Flying Apsaras Awards Outstanding Actress Goddess of Mercy Nominated
22nd China TV Golden Eagle Award Audience's Choice for Actress Won [25]
Most Popular Actress Won
2005 14th Chunyan Awards Best Actress Won
2006 28th Hundred Flowers Awards Best Newcomer Fearless Won [3]
2007 2nd Hong Kong Film Directors' Guild Awards Best Newcomer (Bronze) Won
26th Hong Kong Film Awards Best New Performer Nominated
13th Shanghai Television Festival Best Actress Shanghai Bund Nominated
26th Flying Apsaras Awards Outstanding Actress Nominated
2008 2nd Roma FictionFest Best Actress Iron Road Won [7]
24th China TV Golden Eagle Award Audience's Choice for Actress Yi Shi Qing Yuan Nominated
2009 27th Flying Apsaras Awards 60th Anniversary Outstanding Contribution Award N/A Won
28th Hong Kong Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Painted Skin Nominated
2nd Iron Elephant Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
27th Golden Rooster Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2010 30th Hundred Flowers Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
25th Gemini Awards Best Actress Iron Road Won [8]
2011 3rd Macau International Movie Festival Best Actress The Lost Bladesman Nominated
2012 18th Shanghai Television Festival Best Actress Empresses in the Palace Nominated
3rd Macau International Television Festival Best Actress Won [26]
4th China TV Drama Awards Best Actress Won
2013 41st International Emmy Awards Best Actress Nominated [10]
2014 2nd Asia Rainbow TV Awards Best Actress Won
20th Shanghai Television Festival Best Actress Hot Mom! Won [15]
13th Huading Awards Best Actress Nominated
27th China TV Golden Eagle Award Audience's Choice for Actress Won [16]
10th China Golden Eagle TV Arts Festival Most Popular Actress Won
2016 22nd Shanghai Television Festival Best Actress The Legend of Mi Yue Won [18]
3rd Asia Rainbow TV Awards Best Actress (Ancient Drama) Nominated
2018 31st Flying Apsaras Awards Outstanding Actress Nothing Gold Can Stay Won [21]


  1. ^ Note: there was earlier misreporting in US of her name as Betty, corrected by several news agencies in China, such as, HaiBao & Baidu


  1. ^ a b c "Chinese actress Sun Li: Feisty on screen, nervous off screen". The Straits Times. March 21, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Here comes Sun Li". tHE Global Times. October 29, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "最佳新人孙俪发表获奖感言 感谢经纪人与李连杰". Sina (in Chinese). October 28, 2006. 
  4. ^ "《上海滩》主演敲定 黄晓明孙俪演许文强冯程程". Sina (in Chinese). January 13, 2006. 
  5. ^ "Sun Li-'Painted Skin'". China Radio International. October 13, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Sun Li Leads Iron Road Production". 
  7. ^ a b "Sun Li crowned best actress in Roma Fiction Fest". July 25, 2008. 
  8. ^ a b "Sun Li named best actress at Canadian TV Awards". November 18, 2010. 
  9. ^ "《小姨多鹤》雪藏三年终见天日". Tencent. Retrieved 2017-05-17. 
  10. ^ a b "Sun Li receives first Emmy nomination". China Daily. October 9, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Top 10 Chinese entertainment events in 2012 (7)". People's Daily. December 21, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Eyeing 'Zhen Huan'". The Global Times. January 30, 2013. 
  13. ^ "First Peek of Love Birds Deng and Sun in "Painted Skin 2"". China Radio International. May 5, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Sun Li in 'The Lost Bladesman'". China Daily. January 20, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "Magnolia Awards announced at 20th Shanghai TV Fest". CCTV. June 15, 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "10th China Golden Eagle TV Art Festival concludes". China Daily. October 13, 2014. 
  17. ^ He, Huifeng (December 3, 2015). "Legend of Miyue smashes online video viewing record in China with 700 million hits in 24 hours as country sees industry take off". South China Morning Post. 
  18. ^ a b "Hu Ge, Sun Li win Magnolia Award for Best TV Series". Sina. June 11, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Film Review: 'Devil and Angel'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-05-17. 
  20. ^ "Betty Sun Li nearly rejected "Nothing Gold Can Stay"". Yahoo. September 6, 2017. 
  21. ^ a b "31st Flying Apsaras Awards concludes in Ningbo". China Daily. April 4, 2018. 
  22. ^ "Zhang Yimou starts new film project". China Daily. March 22, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Sun Li and Deng Chao hold party for their daughter". Sina. August 21, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Sun Li Wears Wings to Fight Fur". PETA. February 11, 2010. 
  25. ^ "第二十二届中国电视金鹰奖". CTAATV (in Chinese). September 14, 2012. 
  26. ^ "2012電影節、電視節獲獎名單". MITF (in Chinese). Retrieved 2017-05-17.