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Leslie Cheung

Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing (Ch. Zhang Guóróng in Pinyin) was a Cantopop singer and the star of several Hong Kong movies. His fans passionately called him Gor-gor (elder brother in Cantonese), started by Joey Wong in A Chinese Ghost Story.

He was born the youngest of 10 children. His parents divorced when he was young. He studied at Leeds University in northern England. In 1976 he took second prize at ATV Asian Music Contest.

His successful albums include The Wind Blows On (1981).

Together with Chow Yun-Fat he starred in John Woo's 1986 action movie A Better Tomorrow. In Stanley Kwan's Rouge, he played an opium-smoking playboy. He also teamed up with Woo in Once a Thief.

He left the music business in 1990 and immigrated to British Columbia, Canada at the peak of his career after he had reached superstar status in Hong Kong. He was the first one ever in Cantopop history having a retirement concert, althrough he had continued to play in movies. In 1992, he gained Canadian citizenship and soon returned to music after the long hiatus.

Cheung was one of few Hong Kong actors who dared to take on openly gay roles. He was well known for his movie, Farewell, My Concubine (1993). In it, he portrayed a opera singer who fell in love with his fellow performer. Farewell, My Concubine shared the Palme d'Or with The Piano in 1993 in the Cannes Film Festival. It was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. He also played a role in the movies Days of Being Wild (1991) and Happy Together, (1997) directed by Wong Kar-wai.

He committed suicide in Hong Kong on April 1, 2003 by jumping from the 24th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. He was 46 years old. He left a note saying he had been suffering from emotional problems.

Despite the scare of SARS, many of Cheung's fans from around the world flew to Hong Kong to attend his memorial service on April 5, 2003. Cheung's family urged the tabloids to let Cheung rest in peace. During Cheung's twenty six years career, the tabloids had reported numerous rumors about Cheung's sexual orientation and his relationship with Mr. Tong and Kenneth, which were later to be his life partner for 20 years. This suggests that he indeed was gay and he finally confronted these rumors in 1995 as well as his recent film roles as gay characters, shortly after a tabloid caught a snapshot of him and Mr. Tong holding hands together. Those non-stop rumors, combined with what he believed was a sagging career had troubled Cheung for years and often caused him depression. It is unknown if the tabloids or what he perceived as a sagging film and music career were the cause of the emotional problems mentioned in his suicide note.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

Leslie Cheung Facts

Birth NameCheung Kwok-wing
OccupationActor, Musician
BirthdaySeptember 12, 1956
BirthplaceHong Kong
Date of deathApril 1, 2003 (age 46)
Height5' 9" (1m75)  How tall is Leslie Cheung compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Double Tap
Anna Magdalena
Little Dragon Maiden
Days of Being Wild
Farewell My Concubine
Ashes Of Time Redux
Behind The Yellow Line
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