Liu Xiao Ling Tong

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Liu Xiao Ling Tong
Journey to the West on Star Reunion 58.JPG
Liu Xiao Ling Tong on Star Reunion in 2014.
Background information
Chinese name六小齡童 (traditional)
Chinese name六小龄童 (simplified)
PinyinLiù Xiǎo Líng Tóng (Mandarin)
BornZhang Jinlai (章金莱)
(1959-04-12) 12 April 1959 (age 59)
Shanghai, China
ResidenceBeijing, China
Alma materArt School of Zhejiang Kunju Opera Troupe
Years active1965–present
Yu Hong (m. 1988)
ChildrenZhang Tongtong (daughter)
ParentsYan Chagu (mother)
Zhang Zongyi (father)
Yu Hong (Chinese: 于虹; pinyin: Yú Hóng)(wife)
Golden Eagle Award for Best Actor (1988)

Zhang Jinlai (simplified Chinese: 章金莱; traditional Chinese: 章金萊; pinyin: Zhāng Jīnlái; born 12 April 1959), better known by his stage name Liu Xiao Ling Tong (六小龄童; "Little Six Year Old Child"), is a Chinese actor best known for his role as the Monkey King (Sun Wukong) in the 1986 television series Journey to the West.


Early life and family background[edit]

Zhang was born on April 12, 1959 in Shanghai in a family of performing artists. His family members, who are Peking opera actors, specialise in playing the role of the Monkey King (Sun Wukong), the protagonist of the classical novel Journey to the West. His great-grandfather Zhang Tingchun was even considered "better than a living Monkey King".[1]

Zhang's great-grandfather, Zhang Tingchun (章廷椿), mostly performed in the countryside of Zhejiang under the stage name "Huo Hou Zhang" (活猴章).[2] Zhang's grandfather, Zhang Yisheng (章益生) with the stage name "Sai Huo Hou" (赛活猴; 賽活猴; Sài Huó Hóu; "Better than a living monkey"),[2] moved to Shanghai and trained his two sons. Zhang's father, Zhang Zongyi, whose stage name was "Liu Ling Tong" (六龄童; 六齡童; Lìu Líng Tóng; "Six Year Old Child"), was also famously known as "Nan Hou Wang" (南猴王; Nán Hóu Wáng; "Southern Monkey King"). His stage name indicated his age when he started performing. Zhang Songyi's performance was acclaimed by Chinese leaders, including Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. His specialty was Sun Wukong, gaining him the nickname "Monkey King of the South", as another actor Li Wanchun was better known in northern China. Zhang Jinlai's uncle, who specialised in playing Zhu Bajie, had the stage name "Qi Ling Tong" (七龄童; 七齡童; Qī Líng Tóng; "Seven Year Old Child").

Zhang's elder brother used the stage name "Xiao Liu Ling Tong" (小六龄童; 小六齡童; Xiǎo Lìu Líng Tóng), which means "Little Six Year Old Child", or "Six Year Old Child, Junior". The role of Sun Wukong was originally offered to Zhang's elder brother, but because the latter died of leukemia in 1966, Zhang inherited their father's legacy instead. He changed his stage name slightly, to "Liu Xiao Ling Tong", which still means "Little Six Year Old Child".

Zhang tried very hard to play the role of Sun Wukong well as a dedication to the memory of his elder brother. He also helped people affected by leukemia. In 1992, China Central Television (CCTV) produced an eight-episode television series titled Hou Wa (猴娃; "monkey child")) about Zhang's life.[citation needed]


Zhang gained international fame for his starring role as the Monkey King (Sun Wukong) in the 1986 television series Journey to the West, adapted from the classical novel of the same title. His compelling performance, which was greatly praised by critics, helped him win the Best Actor award at the 6th Golden Eagle Awards in 1988.[1] After that, he also appeared in other films and television series, such as New Year's Day (《过年》). On September 27, 2006, he was conferred the Certificate of Mouthpiece of the 3rd International Forum on China Cultural Industry.[3] Zhang reprised his role as Sun Wukong again in Wu Cheng'en and Journey to the West (《吴承恩与西游记》), a 2010 television series about Wu Cheng'en, author of Journey to the West, and his inspiration for writing the novel. Zhang also simultaneously portrayed Wu Cheng'en.

Zhang's recent activities mostly focus on promoting monkey culture.[1] Zhang also expressed his concern over recent Sun Wukong portrayals. He said while he was happy to see that Journey to the West, as well as other Chinese classical novels, received such attention from foreign directors, he emphasized "...such adaptation has to be based on adequate knowledge of Chinese culture." and "the Monkey King is not King Kong."[4]



Year English Title Chinese title Role Notes
1981 The True Story of Ah Q 《阿Q正传》 The revolutionist
1991 At Love-Corner in Weekend 《周末恋爱角》 Du Dachuan
New Year's Day 《过年》 Cheng Zhi
The Extra 《喜剧明星》 The journalist
1992 Good Luck 《祝你好运》 Director Zhang
1994 《青春的忏悔》 The doctor
2018 Miser 《财迷》 Mr. Hao
TBA Journey to the West 3D 《敢问路在何方》 Sun Wukong

TV series[edit]

Year English Title Chinese title Role Notes
1986 Journey to the West 《西游记》 Sun Wukong
1993 Monkey Child 《猴娃》 Liu Lingtong
1994 《大上海屋檐下》 Yan Shipeng
1997 《双筒望远镜》 Father
2000 《追踪309》 Luo Dapeng
《1939·恩来回故里》 Zhou Enlai
Journey to the West 《西游记续集》 Sun Wukong
2001 The Pearl King 《义海风云》 Li Zhengping
2002 《某年某月某一天》 The doctor
2004 The Story Of Three loves 《啼笑姻缘》 Guan Shoufeng
2005 Lian Cheng Jue (A Deadly Secret) 《连城诀》 Hua Tiegan
The Delighted Seven Fairies 《欢天喜地七仙女》 Taishang Laojun
2006 Xun Huisheng 《荀慧生》 Wang Yaoqing
2007 Legend of He Long 《贺龙传奇》 Zhou Enlai
2009 War and Peace over Peking 《北平战与和》 Hu Shi
2010 Wu Cheng'en and Journey to the West 《吴承恩与西游记》 Wu Cheng'en
2013 Chivalous Robber Lee-San 《新燕子李三》 Li Xian
2015 Dare Stone Male Tiandong 《石敢当之雄峙天东》 Jade Emperor


Year Nominated work Award Result Notes
1988 Journey to the West 6th Golden Eagle Television Awards: Best Actor Won
1994 Monkey Child 12th Golden Eagle Television Awards: Best Supporting Actor Won


  1. ^ a b c Liu Xiao Ling Tong-- the "Monkey King". Dandan. Retrieved on May 22, 2008.
  2. ^ a b "六小龄童是电视剧里演得最好的猴子" (in Chinese). 28 January 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  3. ^ Liu Xiao Ling Tong (actor of Monkey King): Mouthpiece of the 3rd International Forum on China Cultural Industry. Retrieved on May 22, 2008.
  4. ^ Foreign versions of "Journey to the West" tell a different story. Retrieved on May 22, 2008

External links[edit]