Carol Cheng says she does not look down on Stephen Chow

Carol Cheng (left) addressed the rumour that she told Stephen Chow (right) years ago that he would never become a leading actor, saying she had been misquoted.
Carol Cheng (left) addressed the rumour that she told Stephen Chow (right) years ago that he would never become a leading actor, saying she had been misquoted.PHOTOS: CAROL CHENG/INSTAGRAM, THE NEW KING OF COMEDY/WEIBO

Hong Kong actor-director Stephen Chow was in the news recently after he testified in a lawsuit brought against him by his former girlfriend Alice Yu, who had accused him of failing to pay her commission of more than HK$70 million (S$12 million).

Veteran Hong Kong actress-host Carol Cheng, 63, took the chance to clear the air about a long-held misconception about her looking down on Chow, 58.

According to the rumour, Cheng had reportedly told Chow years ago, before he had made it big, that he would never become a leading actor. Both were reportedly not on talking terms for many years as a result.

However, Cheng clarified recently that she had never said such a thing to Chow.

On her radio show When I Was Young I Listen To The Radio, Cheng took the initiative to address the rumour without being prompted.

Cheng - once termed one of the four pillars of broadcaster TVB, together with Liza Wang, Nancy Sit and the late Lydia Sum - said she already admired Chow's talent when he was hosting the children's show 430 Space Shuttle (1982 to 1989).

Cheng and Chow acted together in the television serial The Price Of Growing Up (1987), which also starred Alex Man, Francis Ng and Kathy Chow.

Cheng said she did not often chat with Chow in private, but once when they were waiting to film a scene, Chow asked her if he had any future in acting.

Cheng, who was already a star at that time after acting in serials such as The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1979 to 1980) and The Feud Of Two Brothers (1985 to 1986), remembered telling Chow: "You have the potential, work hard."

However, the version of her comments reported in the media was "You may as well don't do it", with the media saying that Cheng looked down on Chow.

Cheng said she was still angry with the magazine which first reported the rumour, for not checking with her before it carried the news.

Chow left TVB later and Cheng recalled only working with him one more time. She said there was no need for her to explain to Chow back then as she was misquoted by the media.

After leaving TVB, Chow went on to become an established comic actor in movies such as Fight Back To School (1991), Forbidden City Cop (1996) and King Of Comedy (1999).

He later went into directing, winning Best Director for Kung Fu Hustle (2004) at the Golden Horse Awards and directing other movies such as CJ7 (2008) and The Mermaid (2016).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2020, with the headline 'Carol Cheng says she does not look down on Stephen Chow'. Subscribe