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Chow Yun-Fat

Chow Yun-Fat grew up on Lama Island, a small fishing village off of Hong Kong. His family moved to a city on the big island when he was ten. At age 17 he quit school to pursue a career in acting, and at the suggestion of a friend, he applied to and was accepted to a local Hong Kong television station's actor trainee program. After the yearlong program, he was quickly signed to the station as a contract player, which lasted 14 years.

Having done over 128 episodes of the popular television series Hotel, Chow was considered a sex symbol and popular leading man in Hong Kong. The immense popularity of his next series The Bund, made him a household name throughout Southeast Asia.

Chow's first big break in films came when director Ann Hui approached him to star in The Story of Woo Viet. His performance was critically acclaimed, as was the film, filmed when Hong Kong was still mass-producing kung fu action films. Chow's career skyrocketed. He received a number of awards and made 12 films in 1986, a record for a Hong Kong-based actor.

Director John Woo then cast Chow in the role of Mark for the internationally acclaimed film A Better Tomorrow. Chow reached megastar status in Asia, and the character's trench coat, sunglasses and blazing Berettas became iconic. After a series of romantic comedies and dramas, Chow reunited with Woo, on The Killer and Hard Boiled, adding to Chow's international fanbase.

A new film genre emerged in Hong Kong, with Chow at the forefront. The stories were reminiscent of the gangster films starring Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney, now with Chow playing the tragic hero. Hong Kong director Ringo Lam's City on Fire, for which Chow won a Hong Kong Film Award for best actor award, was the inspiration for Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs.

Having conquered Asia with over 68 movies, Chow set out to Hollywood in 1996 for his first English-speaking role, in The Replacement Killers, directed by Antoine Fuqua. He then starred in the police drama The Corruptor, helmed by James Foley. In Twentieth Century Fox's epic Anna and the King, also starring Jodie Foster, Chow took on the role of the King. But it wasn't until the critical hit and box-office smash Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, that Chow became a recognizable face in the U.S.

After making Bulletproof Monk, Chow worked on Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and reunited with Ann Hui on The Postmodern Life of My Aunt. Chow then starred in Curse of the Golden Flower, and returned to work with John Woo in the videogame Stranglehold. His next film project is the big-scale drama/thriller Shanghai, also starring John Cusack.

Chow, whom the Los Angeles Times declared the coolest actor in the world, and whom People magazine voted one of the fifty most beautiful people in the world, continues to live in Hong Kong, where he is known to his fans as Big Brother. Chow spends his spare time photographing landscapes and plans to sell them to raise money for a number of local and international charities with which he is involved.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2009.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Chow Yun-Fat Facts

BirthdayMay 18, 1955 (68)
BirthplaceNam Nga Island, Hong Kong
Height6' 1" (1m85)  How tall is Chow Yun-Fat compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 4K UHD + BD + UV
Dragonball: Evolution
The Monkey King: Havoc In Heaven's Palace
Anna and the King
The Assassins
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