Outpouring of grief over film titan's death

Media mogul Raymond Chow (far right) with Jackie Chan, one of the many actors Mr Chow has been credited with grooming.
Media mogul Raymond Chow (right) with Jackie Chan, one of the many actors Mr Chow has been credited with grooming.PHOTO: HONG KONG FILM ARCHIVE

Many remember Raymond Chow for his contributions to HK film industry

Tributes came pouring in for the late media mogul Raymond Chow Man-wai, the man credited with bringing the late gongfu legend Bruce Lee to the silver screen and the world.

Among the outpouring of grief was a Twitter message by Lee's daughter Shannon, who paid tribute to Mr Chow for his role in the late cultural icon's rise to stardom.

"Thank you Raymond for taking a chance on a young Bruce Lee and helping him to realise his dream. Rest in peace, Raymond," she said in the tweet.

Actor and singer Andy Lau told Apple Daily that after he left Hong Kong broadcaster TVB to join Golden Harvest - founded by Mr Chow in 1970 - he was afraid to chat with the film industry veteran. They became close only later on.

He recalled that Mr Chow had once advised him to "go after your dreams but don't lose yourself during the chase even if you lose your dream".

Last Friday night, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam expressed her "deep sorrow" over his death: "He created a variety of film styles, produced a number of popular movies and groomed many top directors and actors, making enormous contributions to the development of the glory days of the movie industry in Hong Kong in the 1980s."

The same night, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau sent his condolences, adding that Mr Chow nurtured "a pool of Hong Kong talent and brought them to the international stage".

Dubbed the "godfather of the Hong Kong film industry", Mr Chow died at the age of 91, local media reports said, adding that the family has kept mum so far.

Mr Chow has a daughter with his late wife and two sons with his late mistress.

Born in 1927, Mr Chow began his career as a newspaper reporter before joining the Shaw Brothers group in 1959. He rose to the top in entertainment mogul Run Run Shaw's empire but left the group in 1970 to set up Golden Harvest with film producer Leonard Ho.

 

M Chow was among those responsible for creating the golden era of Hong Kong's film industry in the 1980s and 1990s. He produced and invested in more than 600 movies and groomed talent such as actors Jackie Chan, the Hui brothers, Sammo Hung and film director John Woo.

In Singapore, where Hong Kong martial arts films are popular, many recall growing up watching Mr Chow's films.

Mr Nelson Mok, 43, said: "When the iconic square logo comes up on the big screen, everyone knows that it's Golden Harvest. In Chinese cinema, it's the logo that everyone recognises."

The director of international business at mm2 Entertainment worked with Mr Chow back in 2001 when he was an employee at Golden Harvest. He remembers Mr Chow as a "humble, soft-spoken and good boss" who gave great advice to people.

"The first time I saw him in the office, I geeked out. I've great respect for what he has achieved. He's a legend."

Educator Gideon Ren, 34, said watching Mr Chow's films opened the scope to watching other Hong Kong martial arts films such as Ip Man, who was also Lee's teacher.

"He set the bar for many martial arts movies by looking for talented people who can perform their own craft and do their own stunts," said the Jackie Chan fan, who cited Police Story as his favourite martial arts film.

"The film slots right into my era and I remember watching the series growing up thinking that Jackie Chan is the biggest daredevil in the martial arts film world."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 04, 2018, with the headline 'Outpouring of grief over film titan's death'. Print Edition | Subscribe