Bai Ling (Chinese: 白灵, born October 10, 1966)[1] is a Chinese American actress and musician. She is best known for her work in the films The Crow, Nixon, Red Corner, Crank: High Voltage, Dumplings, Wild Wild West, Anna and the King, Southland Tales, and Maximum Impact, as well as TV shows Entourage and Lost. She won the Best Supporting Actress awards at the 2004 Hong Kong Film Awards and the 2004 Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan for her role in Dumplings.

Bai Ling
Bai in 2016
Born (1966-10-10) October 10, 1966 (age 57)[1][2]
Years active1981–present
Parent(s)Bai Yuxiang, Chen Binbin
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese白靈
Simplified Chinese白灵

Early life edit

Bai was born in Chengdu. Her father, Bai Yuxiang (白玉祥), was a musician in the People's Liberation Army, and later a music teacher. Her mother, Chen Binbin (陈彬彬), was a dancer, stage actress, and literature teacher at Sichuan University; Bai's maternal grandfather was a military officer of the Kuomintang army, thus was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. In the early 1980s, Bai Ling's parents divorced, and her mother married renowned writer Xu Chi. Bai Ling has one older sister, Bai Jie (白洁), who works for the Chinese tax bureau, and a younger brother, Bai Chen (白陈), who emigrated to Japan and works for an American company.

Bai has described herself as a very shy child who found that she best expressed herself through acting and performing. During the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), she learned how to perform by participating in eight model plays, at her elementary school shows. After her graduation from middle school, Bai was sent to do labor work at Shuangliu, on the outskirts of Chengdu.

In 1978, after graduating from high school, she passed the People's Liberation Army's exams, and became an artist soldier in Nyingchi Prefecture, Tibet. Her main activity there was entertaining in the musical theater. She also served briefly as an Army nurse. Bai later stated that during her time in Tibet, other female performers and she were regularly plied with alcohol and sexually abused by older male officers, including one instance of rape that led to a pregnancy she aborted. She cites this period of sexual abuse for her subsequent struggles with alcohol addiction.[3][4] Subsequently, Bai spent some time in a mental hospital.

Soon after her release from the hospital, in 1981, Bai joined People's Art Theater of Chengdu, and became a professional actress. Her performance as a young man in the stage play Yueqin and Little Tiger drew the attention of movie director Teng Wenji (滕文骥), which gained her first movie role in On the Beach (1985), as a village girl who becomes a factory worker and struggled against her father's will for her to marry her cousin.

She temporarily moved to New York in 1991 to attend New York University's film department as a visiting scholar, but later obtained a special visa that allowed her to remain in the United States until she became a U.S. citizen in 1999.

Career edit

Bai at a party in July 2007

Bai began her acting career in China, appearing in several Chinese feature films. In 1984, she made her film debut as a fishing village girl in the movie On the Beach (海滩). Later, she filmed several other movies, including Suspended Sentence (缓期执行), Yueyue (月月), and Tears in Suzhou (泪洒姑苏) without much attention. She became famous after playing a girl with a psychological disorder who has an affair with her doctor, in the film The Shining Arc (弧光), directed by Zhang Junzhao (张军钊), her most highly acclaimed role in the Chinese film industry. In 1991, Bai moved to the United States, where she appeared in a number of American films and television shows including the legendary soap opera Guiding Light alongside actress Melina Kanakaredes.

Bai's first major American film role was in The Crow (1994), where she played the half sister and lover of the main villain, Top Dollar. In 1997, she played the lead female role, opposite Richard Gere, in the American film Red Corner. The New York Times praised Bai Ling's performance, saying that she gave the film "not only grace, but also substantial gravity".[5] For her role in Red Corner, she received the National Board of Review Freedom for Breakthrough Female Performance and the San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress.[6] The film was critical of human rights abuse in China, and as a result, Bai Ling's Chinese citizenship was revoked. She later became a U.S. citizen.[7]

Bai was named one of People's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 1998. She shaved off her hair, which was longer than 36 in (90 cm) for her role in Anna and the King, and is widely known in Thailand as "Tuptim", her character's name from the film, though the film is officially banned because of its depiction of the King of Siam. She filmed scenes for Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) as Senator Bana Breemu, but her role was cut during editing. She claimed that this was because she appeared in the June 2005 issue of Playboy magazine, whose appearance on newsstands coincided with the movie's May 2005 release, but director George Lucas denied this, stating that the cut had been made more than a year earlier.[8] Her scenes were included in the deleted scenes feature of the DVD release.

In 2004, Bai made a comeback to Chinese cinema, co-starring with Hong Kong actress Miriam Yeung in independent filmmaker Fruit Chan's horror thriller Dumplings. Her portrayal of the villainous local chef Aunt Mei in the film earned her the 2005 Hong Kong Film Award for Best Supporting Actress, and led to her renewed popularity among the Chinese film audience. In the same year, she also received critical acclaim for her performance in another independent movie, The Beautiful Country, co-starring Nick Nolte, and directed by Hans Petter Moland.

Later in 2005, Bai was a member of the official jury at the 55th Berlin International Film Festival. On television, she was a cast member on the VH1 program called But Can They Sing?. Also in 2005, Bai guest-starred in season two of Entourage in which she played a love interest of Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier).

In 2007, she starred as Coco in the film adaptation of the controversial Chinese contemporary novel Shanghai Baby, which premiered at Cannes Film Festival, and also guest-starred in one episode ("Stranger in a Strange Land") of the show Lost. Since 2007, she has appeared in a number of films, including Love Ranch, Crank: High Voltage, and A Beautiful Life, although she became more well known for her red-carpet appearances and outrageous fashions.[9]

In 2013, Bai enjoyed a career resurgence with the movie The Gauntlet (a.k.a. Game of Assassins), which earned her the Best Actress award at the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood, and at the 2014 Asians on Film Festival. Also, for Speed Dragon, she received the Best Feature Film Award at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. In late 2014, Bai starred alongside David Arquette in The Key, Jefery Levy's adaptation of the novel by Nobel Prize laureate Jun'ichirō Tanizaki. In October 2014, Bai was a member of the jury in the "India Gold 2014" section of the Mumbai Film Festival.

Personal life edit

On February 14, 2008, Bai was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport for shoplifting.[10] Bai stated it was an "emotionally crazy" day due to the breakup of a relationship,[11] and was ordered to pay a fine and penalties after pleading guilty in March 2008 to disturbing the peace.[12]

In a 2009 interview, Bai claimed that she is from the Moon, where her grandmother lives. "I'm not really in reality. I'm in my own universe and my mind is a million miles somewhere else", she stated, further explaining: "Why I feel like I come from the Moon is because my mother told me I was found somewhere". She believes that when she looks up at the Moon, she can often spot her grandmother there, still living in her childhood home.[13]

In 2011, she appeared in the fifth season of the VH1 reality television series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, which documented her recovery from alcohol addiction.[14] In a 2011 interview regarding her public image and troubles over the years, she stated:

I accidentally or innocently destroyed the beautiful Bai Ling that everybody loved, that beautiful, talented actress. Instead, the media brought me out as this crazy slut showing her nipples everywhere. I become this character the pop culture Hollywood machine created. Somehow, I become a victim to that image.[3]

Bai is openly bisexual.[15][16]

Filmography edit

Film edit

Year Film Role Notes
1984 Hai tan (海滩) Lu Xiao Mei (陆小妹)
1985 Lei sa Gu Su (泪洒姑苏) Wang Lingjuan (王怜娟)
1986 Yue Yue (月月) Yue Yue (月月)
1987 College Student Stories (大学生轶事) Xiao Qian (小钱)
Shan cun feng yue (山村风月) Guier (桂儿)
1988 Wu qiang qiang shou (无枪枪手) Yan Hong (严红)
1989 The Shining Arc (弧光) Jing Huan (景唤)
Fei fa chi qiang zhe (非法持枪者) Nu Siji
1992 Pen Pals Sharice
Escape from China Peasant Woman (voice)
1994 The Crow Myca
Dead Funny Norriko
1995 Dead Weekend Amelia A. TV movie
Nixon Chinese Interpreter
Nobody's Girls: Five Women of the West Mary Bong
1997 Red Corner Shen Yuelin
1998 Somewhere in the City Lu-Lu
1999 Row Your Boat Chun Hua
Wild Wild West Miss Mae Lee East
Anna and the King Tuptim
2001 Shaolin Soccer Mui (voice)
The Breed Lucy Westenra
2002 Face Kim
Storm Watch Skylar
Point of Origin Wanda Orr TV movie
2003 Taxi 3 Qiu
The Extreme Team R.J.
Paris Linda/Shen Li
2004 My Baby's Daddy XiXi
The Beautiful Country Ling
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Mysterious Woman
She Hate Me Oni
Dumplings (餃子) Mei
Three... Extremes (三更2) Mei
2005 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith Senator Bana Breemu
Lords of Dogtown Punky Photographer
Nomad Gaukhar (voice)
Edmond Peep Show Girl
2006 Man About Town Barbi Ling
Southland Tales Serpentine
2007 Living & Dying Nadia
Shanghai Baby [it] Coco
The Gene Generation Michelle
2008 Toxic Lena
The Hustle Han
A Beautiful Life Esther
Dim Sum Funeral Deedee
2009 Crank: High Voltage Ria
2010 Pai mai chun tian (拍卖春天) Zhang Qian (张倩)
Magic Man Samantha
Love Ranch Samantha
Circle of Pain Victoria Rualan Video
The Confidant Black
Chain Letter Jai Pham
Petty Cash Coco
Locked Down Guard Flores
The Lazarus Papers Kyo
2011 The Bad Penny Nok
2012 Clash of the Empires Laylan Video
Yellow Hill: The Stranger's Tale The Stranger Short
2013 Game of Assassins Kim Lee
American Girls Amanda Chen
Blood Shed Lucy
2014 The Key Ida
Vultures in the Void Deadspeed Short
2015 Terms & Conditions The Bodyguard
6 Ways to Sundown June Lee
ABCs of Superheroes Galvana
Boned The Mistress
Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance Doggé
Sacred Blood Lilly
Call Me King Li Soo
Everlasting Cristiane
2016 Beyond the Game Tara
Shanghai Wang Madame Xin
Better Criminal Miss Jasmine Feng
2017 To Pimp a Butterfly Butterfly (Mother) Short
Sharknado 5: Global Swarming Mira TV movie
Andover Professor Huan
Maximum Impact Scanlon
2018 Tang ren jie tan an 2 Aaimali Kunana
Dead Ringer April
Accidental Diplomats The Translator Short
2019 Exorcism at 60,000 Feet Amanda
Speed Dragon Jackie
The Final Level: Escaping Rancala Challenger
The Abortionist Jane
2020 The Legion Amirah
Airliner Sky Battle Dr. Meili Liu
2021 Venus as a Boy Cleo
The Expat NBI Operative
Fast Vengeance Lucid Lucy
Night Caller Jade Mei
Hustle Down Crystal
Banking on Christmas Judith
Painted Beauty Biyu
2022 Jack Be Nimble Nurse Edmond
Lockdown Cherry
Pig Killer Brenda
2023 Johnny & Clyde Zhang
My Red Neck Neighbor Shumai
Buckle Up Scorpio
Back Home Mother of Heung Wing
Phoenix Scavenger
Scalper Jade Mei
Mega Ape Dr. Li
2024 The Haunted Studio Cornelia
Baba Yaga Scorpio
Patsy Lee & the Keepers of the 5 Kingdoms Kuang
The Omicron Killer Nurse Nancy
TBA Werewolf Game TBA

Television edit

Year Title Role Notes
1993 The Guiding Light Lin Episode: "Episode #1.11946"
Homicide: Life on the Street Teri Chow Episode: "And the Rockets' Dead Glare"
1995 The Cosby Mysteries Dr. Valerie Chong Episode: "The Hit Parade"
1998 Touched by an Angel Jean Chang Episode: "The Spirit of Liberty Moon: Part 1 & 2"
2000 Angel Jhiera Episode: "She"
The Wild Thornberrys Mother Panda/Mei-Mei (voice) Guest Cast: Season 2-3
2001 The Chris Isaak Show Herself Episode: "Freud's Dilemma"
The Monkey King Guanyin Episode: "Part 1 & 2"
2003 Jake 2.0 Mei Ling Episode: "Cater Waiter"
2005 But Can They Sing? Herself Main Cast
Entourage Li Lei Episode: "Chinatown"
2007 Lost Achara Episode: "Stranger in a Strange Land"
The Unit Princess Episode: "Freefall"
2009 Free Radio Herself Episode: "KDOG"
2011 Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew Herself Main Cast: Season 5
2012 The Unemployment of Danny London Herself Episode: "London's Labyrinth"
Hawaii Five-0 Esmeralda Episode: "Popilikia"
2021 Transcendent Realms Shadow Main Cast
2023 Barbee Rehab Chinese Barbee Main Cast
Great Kills Bai Main Cast

Documentary edit

Year Title
2016 Enter the Samurai

Video games edit

Year Title Role Notes
2006 Scarface: The World Is Yours Ana Yamada - U-Gin Bar Manager (voice)

Music video edit

Year Title Artist Notes
1998 "Please" Chris Isaak Herself

Discography edit

Singles edit

  • "Rehab" (2011)[17]
  • "U Touch Me, I Don't Know U" (2011)[18]
  • "I Love U My Valentine" (2012)[19]
  • "Tuesday Night 8pm" (2012)[20]

Music videos edit

  • "Rehab" (2011)[21]
  • "U Touch Me, I Don't Know U" (2011)[22]
  • "I Love U My Valentine" (2012)[23]
  • "Tuesday Night 8pm" (2012)[24]

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Bai Ling Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Archived from the original on 2010-09-10. Retrieved 2015-12-31.
  2. ^ "Bai Ling - IMDb". Retrieved 2015-12-31.
  3. ^ a b Elber, Lynn (2011-07-02). "Bai Ling reveals dark memories of Chinese army". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  4. ^ Lynn Elber (July 2, 2011). Bai Ling reveals dark memories of Chinese army. NBC 5. Accessed 2017-11-13.
  5. ^ The Red Corner (1997) FILM REVIEW; Lady Killer? Beijing Is Not Charmed, The New York Times, October 31, 1997
  6. ^ "Awards for Red Corner". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
  7. ^ Bai Ling biography on
  8. ^ "Ling claims Star Wars bosses cut her after Playboy pose". Contact Music. Archived from the original on April 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
  9. ^ Casual Fuggerday: THE RETURN OF BAI LING – Go Fug Yourself: Because Fugly Is The New Pretty. Go Fug Yourself (2014-05-31). Retrieved on 2015-10-31.
  10. ^ Dan Whitcomb (February 14, 2008). "Actress Bai Ling arrested for shoplifting in L.A". Reuters.
  11. ^ "Bai Ling Blames Bust on Breakup". E! Online. 2008-02-14. Retrieved 2021-05-01.
  12. ^ Bai Ling Enters Shoplifting Plea Deal. Fox News. March 7, 2008
  13. ^ Alex Dobuzinskis (April 18, 2009), "Bai Ling cranks up moonstruck life for 'High Voltage'", Reuters. Accessed 2012-05-24.
  14. ^ "Intake". Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Season 5. Episode 1. June 26, 2011. VH1.
  15. ^ Vicki Hogarth. "Bai Ling Interview". AskMen. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  16. ^ "Actress Bai Ling Discusses Her Bisexuality". GLAAD. 2009-12-18. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  17. ^ Rehab – Single by Bai Ling on iTunes. (2011-10-07). Retrieved on 2015-10-31.
  18. ^ U Touch Me I Don't Know U – Single by Bai Ling on iTunes. (2011-12-25). Retrieved on 2015-10-31.
  19. ^ I Love U My Valentine – Single by Bai Ling on iTunes. (2012-02-12). Retrieved on 2015-10-31.
  20. ^ Tuesday Night 8pm – Single by Bai Ling on iTunes. (2012-06-20). Retrieved on 2015-10-31.
  21. ^ Bai ling – Rehab. YouTube (2011-10-27). Retrieved on 2015-10-31.
  22. ^ Bai Ling Song "U touch me I don't know U". YouTube (2012-01-08). Retrieved on 2015-10-31.
  23. ^ Bai Ling (2012-02-14) I love U my Valentine.m4v. YouTube. Retrieved on 2015-10-31.
  24. ^ Bai Ling Song Tuesday Night 8pm. YouTube (2012-06-21). Retrieved on 2015-10-31.

Further reading edit

External links edit