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Thread: 100 Famous Women in China

  1. #81
    77. Wang Hanlun(from a movie star to a business woman)
    WangHanlun (1903—08/17/197was one of the earliest female movie stars in China. She was born in a big official family in Suzhou city. Then they moved to live inShanghai. She was early educated in St. Mary's Hall, a female schoolrun by the church in Shanghai. After the death of her father, at theage of sixteen, her brother forced to discontinue her schooling andarranged for her to marry an official, who had the adultery with aJapanese woman not long afterwards and deserted her. She had to teachin a primary school in Hongkou district of Shanghai for her living.Then she worked as a clerk in British-American Tobacco Co. (hk) Ltd.,and then as a typist in Siming Foreign Firm, where she knew a femalecolleague, who was also a shareholder of Mingxing film company. Asthe colleague knew that she liked filming, the colleague took her oneday to see the conductor, who was just looking for a female star forhis movie. He told her to perform some actions and make someexpressions on the face like smiling, angry, sad and happy. Hethought that she was okay to be a star and signed a contract withher. Thus, she began her acting career.
    Therefore,she resigned from her typist job. When her brother learned it, he wasangry and wanted to send her back to their hometown Suzhou to punishher by family rules. In old families in that time, there were familyrules to punish their sons and daughters who had done somethingagainst the rules or even the will of elders. But it was republicnow. So Wang Hanlun declared to stop her relationship with the familyso that they could not punish her by the family rules.
    Heroriginal name was Peng Jianqing. Now as she severed herself from herfamily, she changed her name to Wang Hanlun. The self-given name wasreally taken from Helen by sound, but in Chinese characters. So youcan pronounce Hanlun as Helen.
    TheMingxing Film Company was founded in 1922. The movie Wang had a rolein it was called AnOrphan Rescues His Grandpa.The movie was on in 1924 to the warm applause of the public. She thenacted in other three successive movies. She became so well-known tothe public that another film company, Changcheng Film Company, cameto ask her to work for them and pay her more. She then transferred tothat company. For this company, she filmed DesertedWomanand others. But this company did not pay her more, and her complaintscame of no avail. She went to work for another company, Tianyi FilmCompany. As all the film companies paid her not to her satisfaction,she founded a film company of her own called “Hanlun Film Company.”She acted in a movie named BlindLove.All her movies had a tragic end. So she was nicknamed “first tragicstar on the screen.” During the recess, she would go on the stageto greet her audience, which got her a lot of fans.
    In1931, she gave up filming and changed her aim to business. She openeda beauty shop in Shanghai. She was one of the first women who studiedthe beauty culture in China. When Shanghai was occupied by Japanesearmy, she had to close the shop. When the Japanese wanted her to workfor them, she refused on the pretense that she was sick. So she livedin a poor condition by selling her belongings. In 1945 when Japansurrendered, she wanted to resume her acting. But as she went to afilming company, the owner rejected her, implying that she was tooold. She was then in her forties.
    In1950 when CPC took reign over the mainland, the Kunlun Movie Companyinvited her to the role of Empress Dowager Cixi in the movie Legendof Wuxun.When Shanghai Film Factory was founded, she was given a job there andgot salary as a clerk of something. But she was still assigned someside roles. When the Cultural Revolution began, though she wasretired, the red guards came to her home and took away all the oldfilms she kept for so long. She died of disease on the seventeenth ofAugust in 1978 in the hospital.

  2. #82
    1. Zhang Zhiyun (the first movie queen in China)

    ZhangZhiyun (1904—1975)was the first movie queen in China. She was born in Fanyu town ofGuangdong province and in childhood, moved to Shanghai with herfamily. When her father died, her family fell into financialdifficulties. Therefore, she had to cease her education in the middleschool.
    Atthe beginning of 1924, Dazhonghua Film Company was founded and theyput an advertisement on the newspaper, “Actresses wanted.” Theapplication letters with a photo must be sent to the newspaper's mailbox. Ten days later, they received about ten thousand female photos,but none of them were suitable. Then they found that a reporterworking there secretly opened all letters and hid whatever photos heliked. After negotiation, he returned ten photos. Zhang's photo wasone of them.
    Shewas chosen and acted in two silent films, successfully. In 1925 shewent to work for Mingxing Film Company. In 1926, the newspaper heldan activity to vote for movie queen. Twelve actresses joined in it.Zhang was the first by getting 2146 votes. So she was the first moviequeen in China.
    Shethen participated in parties of the upper social circle and became toknow Tang Jishan, a tea salesman. In 1927, she gave up her filmingand went with him to America to sell tea. Tang just wanted to use hertitle of movie queen as his spokeswoman to advertise his products.But he did not know that American people never heard of the moviequeen in China. So he failed and had to take her back to China. In1931, he deserted Zhang and lived together with another movie star.
    Thencame the ages of sound film. As she could not speak mandarin, she hadseldom any contracts. In 1933, she tried to act in a sound film andin 1935, in another sound film called NewPeach Fan.But the audience did not acknowledge her success. She had to retirefrom filming circle again. In forties she got married and in fifties,she moved to live in Hong Kong till she died there.

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