KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - International movie star Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh is now a Commander of the Legion of Honour.
The Ipoh-born actress was conferred the title, the highest honour available to a non-French citizen, by French President Francois Hollande during a ceremony at the official residence of the French Ambassador here Tuesday evening.
The National Order of the Legion of Honour (Legion d'Honneur) is the highest decoration in France and rewards men and women, French or foreigners, for their exemplary services rendered to France or to the causes supported by France.
Established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, it is divided into five ranks: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer) and Grand Croix (Grand Cross).
Yeoh, 54, was first awarded the Chevalier title in 2007, and subsequently the Officer in 2012.
Other Malaysians who have been awarded the Commander title are the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah in 2012, Sultan of Terengganu Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin when he was the 13th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and AirAsia group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.
Yeoh flew back for the ceremony from Toronto, where she is filming the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery TV series, in which she plays Captain Georgiou of the starship Shenzhou.
The new series will air later this year.
Yeoh studied dance and martial arts before being crowned Miss Malaysia/World in 1983, which led to a commercial with action star Jackie Chan and then a film career in Hong Kong.
She is best known in the Western world for her roles in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, and in the 2000 blockbuster Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, for which she was nominated for best actress at the Bafta Awards, Golden Horse Awards and Hong Kong Film Awards.