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Yuen Biao

AKA: Yuen Biu, Yuan Biao

Gender: male

Born: July 26, 1957

Biography: Yuen Biao is regarded as one of the most acrobatic martial arts stars in film history. While not as popular as his fellow Chinese opera schoolmates, Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung, Yuen has distinguished himself as dedicated performer who has gathered a loyal cult following around the world.

Yuen Biao was born to his father, Ha Kwong-Tai and mother, Ha Sau-Ying on July 26th, 1957 in Hong Kong.  He was enrolled in the China Drama Academy at the age of 5, the youngest at the school. There, he met Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung, all of whom would become lifelong friends. At the age of 16, Yuen moved to the United States to pursue a career in film but returned shortly, having found Hollywood to be uninterested in the young performer.

Hung, who had been the first to find success in the Hong Kong film industry proved to be instrumental in jumpstarting Yuen's career. After a series of bit parts in various films, Hung cast Yuen as the lead in Knockabout (1979). However, the role that propelled him into stardom came two years later when Yuen starred in the critically acclaimed Prodigal Son, directed by and co-starring Hung. By this time, Jackie Chan had risen to become the top martial arts star in Hong Kong. In 1984, the three friends joined forces to star in the hugely successful Project A. It was this same year that Yuen met his future wife DiDi Phang Sau-Ha while working as a stunt co-coordinator on the film Carry On Pickpocket.

Yuen went on to star in a number of films, many of which never garnered the attention they deserved in Hong Kong or abroad, although 1989's Iceman Cometh co-starring Maggie Cheung stood out. Yet, his popularity is probably greatest in Japan where he has consistently appeared in a number of home grown films there. Yuen also got to work with director Tsui Hark and actor Jet Li in Once Upon a Time in China, although many of his scenes were cut to reduce the film's substantial running time. Yuen stepped up for the first time as director for A Kid from Tibet in 1992. 

More recently, Yuen has appeared in an increasingly fewer number of films, partially as a result of frustration over lack of quality scripts. He continues to work with Jackie and Sammo, including stunt work on Chan's Shanghai Noon. Yuen now has a second home in Canada where he enjoys pursuing his love of golf.

- Rehan Yousuf & Mark Pollard

Links: n/a


Filmography (selected):

2002 - No Problem 2 (actor, action director)

2001 - The Avenging Fist (actor)

1999 - Millennium Dragon (actor)

1999 - A Man Called Hero (actor)

1997 - The Haunted Murder (actor)

1997 - Hero (actor)

1996 - The Hero of Swallow (actor)

1994 - Don't Give a Damn (actor)

1994 - Circus Kids (actor)

1993 - The Sword Stained with Royal Blood (actor)

1993 - Deadful Melody (actor)

1993 - Kickboxer (actor, producer)

1992 - A Kid from Tibet (action director, director, producer)

1991 - Once Upon a Time in China (actor)

1990 - License to Steal (actor)

1990 - The Best of the Martial Arts Films (documentary)

1989 - Iceman Cometh (actor)

1989 - Mr. Canton and Lady Rose (cameo)

1988 - On the Run (actor)

1987 - Dragons Forever (actor)

1986 - Millionaire's Express (actor)

1986 - Righting Wrongs (action director, actor)

1986 - Mr. Vampire 2 (actor)

1983 - The Champions (actor)

1983 - Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (action director, actor)

1983 - The Dead and the Deadly (action director)

1982 - The Prodigal Son (action director, actor)

1981 - Dreadnaught (actor)

1981 - Tower of Death (assistant action director, actor)

1980 - The Victim (assistant action director)

1980 - Encounter of the Spooky Kind (actor)

1979 - The Magnificent Butcher (assistant action director)

1979 - Odd Couple (extra)

1979 - The Incredible Kung Fu Master (action director)

1979 - Knockabout (actor)

1978 - Warriors Two (actor)

1978 - Swordsman and Enchantress (extra)

1978 - Enter the Fat Dragon (stuntman)

1977 - Broken Oath (extra)

1977 - The Secret Rivals 2 (assistant action director, stuntman)

1976 - Challenge of the Masters (extra)

1976 - The Secret Rivals (stuntman)

1976 - The Magic Blade (extra)

1976 - Shaolin Wooden Men (actor)

1976 - Hand of Death (actor)

1973 - Enter the Dragon (extra)

1973 - When Taekwondo Strikes (extra)

1972 - Fist of Fury (stuntman)

1972 - Hap Ki Do (extra)


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