Godfather of Hong Kong film industry Raymond Chow dies at age 91

(From left) Television producer Robert Chua, actor Bruce Lee and Mr Raymond Chow at a lunch session in 1972. PHOTO: COURTESY OF ROBERT CHUA
Mr Robert Chua, Mr Raymond Chow and Mrs Chow in a photo taken about three years ago. PHOTO: COURTESY OF ROBERT CHUA
Mr Raymond Chow with actor Jackie Chan at the Cannes Film Festival in Hong Kong in 2001. PHOTO: APPLE DAILY
Mr Raymond Chow touring the new Tampines Golden Village cinemas in Singapore in 1996. PHOTO: ST FILE
Mr Raymond Chow was among the pallbearers at the funeral of Hong Kong film producer and manager Willie Chan on Nov 23, 2017. PHOTO: APPLE DAILY

Mr Raymond Chow Man-wai, the man whose name was synonymous with gongfu legend and cultural icon Bruce Lee, has died at the age of 91.

Known as the "godfather of the Hong Kong film industry", Mr Chow had been the one who introduced Bruce Lee to the world after the late gongfu star appeared on Hong Kong's popular variety show Enjoy Yourself Tonight.

Long-time friend Robert Chua, widely known as the pioneer of terrestrial television in Hong Kong, told The Straits Times on Friday (Nov 2) that Mr Chow's death "is a loss to the film industry".

"He brought Bruce to the world and, in turn, Hong Kong to the world," he said.

Describing Mr Chow as soft spoken, down to earth and a gentleman, Mr Chua said: "I just find that unlike some people who are very active and gungho, he's very mild but also passionate."

Born in 1927, Mr Chow began his professional life as a newspaper reporter before working as a radio and television producer for several years.

In 1959, he joined the Shaw Brothers group and later held a key position in Run Run Shaw's empire.

Mr Raymond Chow receives the Lifetime Achievement award during the Asian Film Awards presentation ceremony in Hong Kong on March 21, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

In 1970, he set up Golden Harvest with the late Leonard Ho Koon-cheung and started producing a series of acclaimed movies, including Fist of Fury, Police Story and The Private Eyes.

In his career, Mr Chow also nurtured and groomed those who worked in front or behind the camera, including actors Jackie Chan, the Hui Brothers, Sammo Hung and film director John Woo.

Digital news outlet HK01 said Mr Chow was in 1998 awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star by the government for his very distinguished service to the community.

In 2007, he sold his shares in Golden Harvest and announced his retirement at age 81 in 2008, the same year he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

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