Bai Yan acted in about 70 TV serials in 11 years

Bai Yan.
Bai Yan.

Veteran local actor Bai Yan, who celebrated his 100th lunar birthday in May, died in the early hours of yesterday after he was hospitalised for pneumonia.

His granddaughter Jenny told Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao that Bai was hospitalised 10 days ago and died surrounded by his family at about 3am yesterday.

Bai had celebrated his 100th birthday on May 5, with the bash attended by more than 130 local actors and people in the TV industry, including Zoe Tay, Aileen Tan, Christopher Lee, Jin Yinji, Zheng Geping, Hong Huifang, Chen Xiuhuan, Pan Lingling, Huang Shinan, Zhu Houren and Tang Hu.

Bai left behind three children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. His wake is held at the Singapore Casket and his funeral will be held on Friday.

Born Yein Pah Yuen in Wuhan, China, in 1920, Bai began his acting career in the 1930s, when he joined the touring Yin Yue Music And Dance Troupe in southern China.

He came to Singapore with the music and dance troupe in the early 1940s and married then local movie star Ye Qing in 1944. She died at 94 in 2016.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Bai was known for acts involving magic and acrobatics mixed with dance, and was adept at performing sketches.


In 1985, at the age of 65, Bai was invited to join the then Singapore Broadcasting Corporation and acted in his first television serial Blossoms In The Sun.

He has acted in other TV serials such as Son Of Pulau Tekong (1985), Men Of Valour (1986), Five Foot Way (1987) and My Fair Ladies (1988).

Bai played the patriarch of a family in We Are Family (1988), a role that was tailor-made for him. He kept in touch with the show's actors, including actress Fang Hui, who had left Singapore but still visited him whenever she returned to the country.

The veteran actor retired from acting after receiving the Special Achievement award at the Star Awards in 1996. He had acted in about 70 TV serials in 11 years.

His last TV serial was The Legends Of Ji Gong, where he played Tudigong (God of the Land), a role which he disclosed in an interview that he had played seven to eight times in local dramas.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2019, with the headline 'Bai Yan acted in about 70 TV serials in 11 years'. Print Edition | Subscribe