Jimmy Wang Yu
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Jimmy Wang Yu (Chinese: 王羽; born March 28, 1943) is a Taiwanese actor, film director, producer and screenwriter. Wang rose to fame in 1967 with his starring role in One-Armed Swordsman, a martial arts film produced by the Shaw Brothers Studio and The Chinese Boxer (1970).
Jimmy Wang Yu
March 28, 1943
(m. 1969; div. 1975)
|Jimmy Wang Yu|
Wang was born as Wang Zhengquan in Shanghai. Before joining the Hong Kong-based Shaw Brothers Studio in 1963, he served in the National Revolutionary Army and was also a swimming champion in Hong Kong and a car racing enthusiast. In 1968, he acted with Cheng Pei-pei in the wuxia film Golden Swallow, directed by Chang Cheh. Following that, Wang starred in many other wuxia films, including Temple of the Red Lotus (1965), One Armed Boxer (1971), Master of the Flying Guillotine (1976) and Return of the Chinese Boxer (1977).
If One-Armed Swordsman was the movie that launched Wang's acting career, The Chinese Boxer was the film that sealed his fame in Hong Kong cinema. The latter has been credited as being the first Hong Kong martial arts film that kickstarted the unarmed combat genre, mainly kung fu. It also triggered a phenomenon that filled the ranks of many Chinese martial arts associations across Southeast Asia. Chinese youths, in their bid to emulate Wang, took to punching sandbags, and reading up on the history of Shaolin Kung Fu.
Controversy dogged Wang after the fame that exploded with The Chinese Boxer. He broke his contract with the Shaw Brothers Studio, and was promptly slapped with a lawsuit. The legal tussle that ended in the studio's favour led to Wang being banned from making films in Hong Kong. Wang then looked to Taiwan for better career prospects, linking up with Golden Harvest and other independent film outfits. His subsequent works were mostly filmed in Taiwan.
With the success of The Chinese Boxer, Wang stood unchallenged in Southeast Asia for a short time, as the Chinese actor with the most formidable fists and legs. But beginning in the 1970s, Wang's star began to be eclipsed with the entry of new actors, many with superior martial arts training such as Ti Lung, David Chiang, and especially Bruce Lee, whose role in The Big Boss (1971) revolutionised the martial arts film genre.
In 1975, Wang starred in the Australian action film The Man from Hong Kong. In 1976, Wang appeared alongside Jackie Chan in Lo Wei's Killer Meteors. In the late 1970s, Wang helped Chan when then the latter sought his help in settling a dispute with Lo Wei. Chan eventually repaid the favour with his roles in Wang's films, Fantasy Mission Force (1982) and Island of Fire (1990).
In 1986, Sammo Hung cast Wang as Wong Kei-ying (the father of Chinese folk hero Wong Fei Hung) in Millionaire's Express. In the years that followed, Wang kept a low profile, making a rare public appearance in 2002 at the funeral of Chang Cheh.
Wang acted in more than 70 films in a career that spanned more than two decades. He left an indelible mark on the history of martial arts film. Wang was once the highest paid martial arts film actor in Hong Kong before Bruce Lee broke the record.
In 1969, Wang married actress Jeanette Lin, who was nine years his senior. Before that, Wang had an affair with the wife of film director Chun Kim. Chun Kim hanged himself before a divorce took place. Jeanette Lin, who had a high profile in Hong Kong cinema in the 1950s and 1960s, left the industry almost immediately after her marriage. Matrimony turned out to be a tumultuous affair for both Wang and Lin. Amid allegations of wife-beating, the marriage crumbled in 1975. Wang and Lin had three daughters. Their eldest daughter Linda Wong became a popular Cantopop singer in the 1990s. Lin migrated to the United States in 1977 and died in 1995 after an asthma attack.
Wang later remarried, this time to air hostess Wang Kaizhen (王凱貞). This marriage, too, proved to be a stormy relationship and Wang Kaizhen filed for divorce. Maybe out of frustration, Wang Kaizhen started an affair with a young businessman Zhang Zhao (張昭). Having gotten wind of it, Wang, accompanied by reporters and the police, surprised the couple at their lodging and publicly exposed his wife. After public humiliation was heaped on the couple, Wang divorced his second wife in 1997.
In 1981, he faced a murder charge in Taiwan. However, the charge was dropped due to lack of evidence. Wang's involvement in public brawls also made headlines from time to time.
In 2011 Wang Yu suffered a stroke which caused him to lose much of his strength in the left side of his body. However, he worked vigorously at his physical therapy, even exceeding the doctor's recommended pace. Reportedly he would lift his arm 1000 times a day instead of 200, and he would walk three times the suggested distance. As a result of his efforts he can walk and talk almost normally, and he can lift his left arm, though he can no longer use its full strength. Since then he has tried to live normally, and has even returned to film work. He admitted to even driving to his physical therapy session with the use of only the one arm, but explained that his daughter put a stop to that when she found out and had hired him a driver.
- Boxers of Loyalty and Righteousness (1973)
- One Armed Swordsman Against Nine Killers (1976)
- Return of the Chinese Boxer (1977)
- Island of Fire (1990)
- The Beheaded 1000 (1991)
- Stand Behind the Yellow Line (1997)
- Eighteen Springs (1997)
- The Chinese Boxer (1970)
- One Armed Boxer (1971)
- Boxers of Loyalty and Righteousness (1973)
- Four Real Friends (1974)
- The Man from Hong Kong (1975) ( Australian Brian Trenchard-Smith was principal director w/Wang Yu doing some 2nd unit work)
- Tiger & Crane Fists (1976)
- Master of the Flying Guillotine (1976)
- One Arm Chivalry Fights Against One Arm Chivalry (1977)
Awards and nominationsEdit
|1977||15th Golden Horse Awards||Best Actor||Brotherly Love||Nominated|
|2011||48th Golden Horse Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Dragon||Nominated|
|2012||31st Hong Kong Film Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|2013||15th Taipei Film festival||Best Actor||Soul||Won|
|2013||50th Golden Horse Film Awards||Best Leading Actor||Soul||Nominated|