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|Raymond Chow with his wife, daughter and son-in-law|
courtesy of on.cc
The Veteran filmmaker who created legends out of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan passed away two days ago at age 91. His family kept a low profile and did not respond to confirm the news. Chow Man Wai's family reportedly will hold a family memorial on the 11th at the Hong Kong Funeral Parlor and will not make any official announcement until after the funeral.
Originally named Chow Ting Yam, the 91 year old former Golden Harvest Group chief Chow Man Wai passed away two days ago. His family and friends including his daughter Chow Chung Hung were by his side. Jackie Chan, who became a star under Chow Man Wai's watch, was working on his new film PROJECT X (KONG LO SHA BO) in Huairou. After hearing the news Jackie Chan immediately called Chow Chung Hung but he was unable to get in touch with her. He kept calling Hong Kong and contacting the likes of the Performing Artist Guild in hopes of getting more information. The Hong Kong Federation of Filmmakers president Tin Kai Man said that Chow Man Wai's family currently would not announce any news and would make further decisions once all matters have been taken care of.
Since announcing his retirement in 2007 and selling his Golden Harvest shares for HK$ 200 million to Orange Sky Entertainment, Chow Man Wai has rarely appeared in public. In 2013 he guest starred in the Donnie Yen Chi Tan starred film KUNG FU JUNGLE (YUT GOR YUN DIK MO LUM) as a street vendor client. In 2014 he appeared at Sir Run Run Shaw's memorial. Last year he attended Jackie Chan's lifetime achievement Oscar party. His final public appearance was in November last year at "Gold Label Manager" Willie Chan Chi Keung's funeral as his pallbearer.
With over half a century in the film industry, Chow Man Wai was born in Hong Kong. At age 13 he moved to Shanghai with his family. In 1949 after finishing his journalist course in Shanghai he returned to Hong Kong and worked as a court reporter for an English newspaper. Later he worked at the Pan Asia News Agency and the United States Information Agency. In 1959 he joined Sir Run Run Shaw's Shaw group and worked there for over 10 years. Later he and fellow Shaw colleagues Leonard Ho Koon Cheung, Choi Wing Cheong and others formed Golden Harvest to rival Shaw. Thus he and Sir Run Run Shaw were rumored to be at odds.
After founding Golden Harvest, he invested US$ 1.5 million on the live action version of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES. It made US$ 1 billion to become the third highest grossing film globally in 1990, behind only GHOST and PRETTY WOMAN. In 2008 he even received the Hong Kong Film Award Lifetime Achievement Award.
Chow Man Wai successfully promoted Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan internationally and opened the doors to Hollywood film. In the early 70s he made a high price offer to the rising star Bruce Lee in the U.S. to join Golden Harvest. His film THE BIG BOSS was a hit. Then the film FIST OF FURY again broke Hong Kong box office record. Later his films ENTER THE DRAGON, RETURN OF THE DRAGON and GAME OF DEATH started a global kung fu fever that successfully promoted Bruce Lee and Chinese kung fu internationally. Bruce Lee in 1973 passed away at the home of female star Ting Pei and DEATH became his final film.
With Bruce Lee's passing, Jackie Chan joined the company. Chow Man Wai saw his film development potential and lent him a hand on the road to Hollywood. In the 80s he arranged for him to star in Hollywood films THE BIG BRAWL, CANNONBALL RUN to "explore" overseas and introduce him to the foreign audience. Then Jackie Chan starred in POLICE STORY and PROJECT A film series and successfully made a name in Hollywood.
Family was very important to Chow Man Wai. He and his wife Yuen Hei Wa have a daughter Chow Chung Hung. Chow Chung Hung's husband Glen Chin (Chan Ying Ming) with the film HOLLYWOOD HONG KONG was nominated for the Golden Horse Award Best Actor but was no match for Leon Lai Ming. Chow Man Wai was his position in the film industry inevitably had many romantic rumors. The hottest was his relationship with media person Ng Suk Fong.
Chow Man Wai's confidant was female writer Ng Suk Fong (pen name "Lan Yan"). In 1960 she gave birth to his son Chow Chung Kok, 3 years later they had his second son Chow Chung Kei, but he never gave the three any legitimacy. When the younger son was 4, Ng Suk Fong passed away from illness and her sister raised her two sons. They grew up without a father. The second son Chow Chung Kei in 1987 graduated from the Chinese University medical school and in 2000 founded Hong Kong first 24 hour TY Healthcare. The older son Chow Chung Kok is a construction engineer. In addition he also trusted his other confidant Lau Leung Wa very much and even sent her to the U.S. to convince Bruce Lee to join Golden Harvest.