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China Travel Guide

Chinese actors and actresses

Notable actors and actresses have emerged in the Chinese film industry during its history and have achieved international recognition. Other actors and actresses with Chinese origin also have become stars in different parts of the world.

Most of the famous Chinese actors and actresses are from Hong Kong, because this region has developed a huge film industry and have been in permanent contact with Western. However there are also a good number of Chinese and Taiwanese that today are international superstars.

ACTORS
Bruce Lee (1940-1973). Born: United States (raised in Hong Kong). Description: He was the first chinese actor internationally reconigzed. Lee also was the most influential martial artist of the 20th century and a cultural icon. He played many "kung fu" style movies in the Hong Kong film industry. His son, Brandon Lee was also a famous actor, and as well as his father, Brandon died very young. Best films: Fist of Fury (1972), Way of the Dragon (1973).
Bruce Lee
Jackie Chan (1954-). Born: Hong Kong. Description: He is the most famous actor of China at present. Considered as the successor of Bruce Lee (for its popularity), he added acrobatic fighting style, comic timing and use of improvised weapons in his performance. Best films: Armour of God (1987), Shanghai Noon (2000).
Jackie Chan
Jet Li (1963-). Born: Beijing. Description: He has similar characteristics to Jackie Chan but his characters are more serious and his films more realistic. As a national champion of Wushu, his movies reflects the all the brightness of the Chinese martial arts. Best films: Romeo Must Die (2000), The Warlords (2007).
Jet Li
Andy Lau (1961-). Born: Hong Kong. Description: He is a versatile actor that has played several distinct roles, from comedy to drama. He's also a musician. Best films: A Fighter's Blues (2000), Protégé (2007).
Andy Lau
Chow Yun-fat (1955-). Born: Hong Kong. Description: He is one of the famed actors in Asia and a major actor in the Hong Kong cinema. He's has participated in several movies under the direction of John Woo. Best films: Anna and the King (1999), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).
Yun Fat
Other actors: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Leslie Cheung, Jacky Cheung, Eric Tsang, Ge You, Jay Zhou.
ACTRESSES
Ruan Lingyu (1910-1935). Born: Shanghai. Description: She was a the first Chinese superstar during the 1930s, in the times of the silent films. Ruan was a prominent Chinese actress, but her tragic death at the age of 24 converted her into an icon of Chinese films. Best films: Reminiscences of Beijing (1931), The Goddess (1934).
Ruan Lingyu
Gong Li (1965). Born: Shenyang. Description: She is the most distinguished and beloved actress of China. Gong Li became an international celebrity thanks to his talent, beauty and the support of Chinese director Zhang Yimou. She is also credited with helping bring Chinese films to Europe and North America. Best films: Red Sorghum (1987), To Live (1994).
Gong Li
Zhang Ziyi (1979-). Born: Beijing. Description: Currently, she is the most quoted Chinese actress in Western cinema, where frequently is considered the successor of Gong Li. She has received several recognitions including her inclusion in the jury of the Cannes Film Festival, becoming its youngest member. Best films: Purple Butterfly (2003), Memoirs of a Geisha. (2005).
Zhang Ziyi
Maggie Cheung (1964-). Born: Hong Kong. Description: With her unique elegant style, she is the first Asian woman to win a prize at the Cannes Film Festival and is listed as one of the best Oriental actresses in cinema history. Best films: In the Mood for Love (2000), Clean (2004).
Maggie Cheung
Zhao Wei (1964-). Born: Wuhu, Anhui. Description: Also known by her English name, Vicki Zhao; she is one of the most talented young film actresses in the country along with Xu Jinglei and Zhou Xun. In addition, Zhao is a controversial pop singer. Best films: Jade Goddess of Mercy (2003), Warriors of Heaven and Earth (2003).
Zhao Wei
Other actresses: Anita Mui, Joan Chen, Lucy Liu, Bai Ling, Shu Qi, Li Bingbing, Wang Fei.


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