100 Famous Women in China - Page 10

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Thread: 100 Famous Women in China

  1. #91
    86. Chen Yanyan(an actress nicknamed Queen of Tragedies)
    ChenYanyan (01/12/1916—05/07/1999) was the daughter of a mandarin, bornin Ningpo town of Zhejiang province adjacent to the East Sea. Soonher family moved to Peking. She went to the MoiraHouse Girls School. In 1930 when she was fourteen, she began to likefilming. After school, she often went to see film shooting of outdoorscenes by any film companies.
    Oncewhen the movie SpringDream of Old Capitalwas in shooting process, she went to the conductor and recommendedherself. As she was pretty and lovely, the conductor let her play aside role. She must wear long fur coat and high-heeled shoes,flirting with a bodyguard of some officer. She was only fourteen, andhad no such experience. She failed the performance. The part of thefilm was cut off. Anyway, she was a potential movie star. Theconductor went to her home to talk with her parents. As shepersevered in her wish to be an actress, her mother agreed first.Originally her father did not like his daughter to be an actress. Atlast, he yielded to the mother. So the mother accompanied her toShanghai. Thus she started her filming career.
    Atfirst she worked as a trainee, and sometimes helped in the darkroom.Then she played some side roles. Gradually her performing ability wasacknowledged in the film circle. She acted in Maternallight,ThreeModern Ladies,etc. She was apt to play young girls. So she had the nickname: LittlePretty Bird. In 1936, she acted in New& Old Times,etc. In 1938, she filmed Storyof Lute,etc. In 1942, she acted in MadameButterfly,etc. When she reached mid-age, she acted some tragic roles and wasnicknamed Queen of Tragedies.
    She got married tothe cameraman of the company in 1937 and bore a daughter for him. Butsoon there was a conflict between them and finally they divorced.Afterwards, she married Wang Hao, an actor. In 1949, they moved toHong Kong. In 1952, they founded a film company of their own. Theyshot outside scenes in Hong Kong or Taiwan. When the husband betrayedher, they divorced. And she lived single ever since. She stoppedacting in 1972. And in 1993, she was conferred the Memorial Award ofthe Golden Horse Awards. She died on the seventh of May in 1999 atthe age of eighty-three.

  2. #92
    87. Gong Qiuxia(a famous actress and singer with silver voice)
    GongQiuxia (12/04/1916—09/07/2004) was born in Chongming town ofJiangsu province, which is now part of Shanghai. She was known tohave the silver voice. In 1930, she was a student in Renshan GirlsSchool in Shanghai, and at the same time she was admitted in atraining class for singing and dancing. In 1933, she joined ShanghaiPlum Singing & Dancing Ensemble. During that time, she acted indrama and operas, such as ImperialConcubine Yang,Backstage,etc. But she soon felt that it was not a regular acting troupe, andso she left it. Then the troupe was dismissed.
    In1936, she had a part in the movie Parentsand Offspring.It was her first movie. She married the conductor. In 1937, she actedin NewYear's Money,for which she won great fame. Every New Year's Day in China, parentswould give children money put in a red envelope, meaning good luckfor the whole year. Another famous movie for her was StrangeCase in an Ancient Pagoda.She also sang the theme song of the movie herself. Then she sangtheme songs for other movies. Those songs soon became popular. Shehad a contract with a gramophone company to make records. She wasboth the singer and actress.
    InMay of 1945, she held a personal concert to sing most of all thepopular theme songs she had sung in movies in Lyceum Theater,Shanghai. After 1949, she acted in more than sixty movies, such asFlowerStreet,HarvestMoon,Thunder,and ThreeSmiles,etc. She played the role of a good wife. After 1956, she had no moregramophone records made. In 1967, she and her husband moved to livein Taiwan. The last movie she acted in 1980 was Rouge.In 1993, she attended the International Film Festival in Shanghai. Onthe seventh of September in 2004, she died of heat disease in HongKong at the age of eighty-seven.

  3. #93
    88. Yuan Meiyun (firstactress in China acting a boy)
    YuanMeiyun1917—02/19/1999wasborn in Hangzhou city of Zhejiang province. She began to learn Pekingopera at six and acted on the stage at nine. When her father died,her mother, for five hundred yuan, let her daughter of ten learnacting further from an expert in that field. Her performance wasapplauded by audience, which attracted the attention of a movieconductor.
    In1932, at the age of fifteen, she acted in the film LittleActress.The heroine in the film had almost the same experience as she, and soshe acted the role like living her own life. The film was a greatsuccess. She was then nicknamed Little Actress. In 1933, after shefinished some more films, she took the main role in a film shootingan Peking opera. As she learned Peking opera as a little girl, herperformance in that movie was excellent. Then in the movie DisguisedGirl,she acted a boy, which was a comedy. The movie was welcomed by theaudience. Therefore, it became a serial.
    In1937 when Shanghai was occupied by the Japanese, she filmed TheLady of the Camellias,Sunrise,Lady'sFan,etc. In 1938, she went to Hong Kong and filmed FemaleMasterthere. In 1944, she acted the hero, not the heroine, in the RedChamber Dream. Onceshe had an accident. At that time, all the film studio in China hadan underground level like basement. When it was night and she went toher dressing room to change. She missed a step and got the fall. Sherolled through the staircase into the basement and fainted. Luckilyshe only hurt her knees as there were wooden chips and nails. Whenthe film RedChamber Dreamfinished, she gained a bit weight and did not look so good on thescreen as before. Her health got poor and she stopped acting in 1948.
    In 1938, she andher husband joined the same film company and they began to like eachother. Afterwards, her husband turned to be the conductor. When shestopped filming, she helped her husband to make the films. Theyreturned to the mainland in the eighties and lived a retired lifethere till their last days.

  4. #94
    89. Bai Hong (thefirst singer queen in China)
    Bai Hong(02/24/1919—05/28/1992) was born in Peking in a mandarin family. Atthe beginning of 1931, Shanghai Mingyue Singing & DancingEnsemble came to Peking to enroll singers and dancers. At the timeshe was twelve, lovely with white skin. She was accepted and went toShanghai with the ensemble. Thus she began her career.
    Atfirst she acted operas on stage, such as ThreeButterflies,GrapeFairy,LittlePainter,etc. Her acting ability was acknowledged. In 1932, her first song wasrecorded for the gramophone, and through 1933, she already producedmany gramophone records. Then the ensemble put an advertisement tointroduce her, which made her popular. At that time, many famoussingers sang their favorite songs on radios. They earned income fromthe radio broadcast with business advertisements.
    In 1934, thenewspaper Grand Evening Post in Shanghai held a competition forfemale radio singers. They would put the information on theirnewspaper for which singer, at what time, on which radio and whatsong she would sing. Audience could listen to whichever singer theyliked and then voted for her. The competition began on thetwenty-sixth of May and ended on the fourteenth of June. The resultwas that Bai Hong was voted the first with 9103 votes and Zhou Xuanwas the second with 8876 votes. Their photos appeared separately onthe cover of Singer Illustrated Magazine, which was first publishedin August of 1935. She was the first singer queen in China.
    In1934, she acted in the musical film FairyMaidensand also sang the theme song. In April of 1936, the Mingyue Singing &Dancing Ensemble held a performance for their fifteenth anniversaryin Jincheng Theater. The five-scene opera FairyMaidenswas performed. More than sixty famous actors and actresses joined theperformance with Bai Hong as the heroine. It was a great success.Afterwards, they went to perform in Nanking city and every night wasfull house. In July of 1936, the troupe had a tour in the south Asiafor one year and returned to Shanghai next July. In 1938, dramaacting became popular in Shanghai. She acted the main character inThunder,and then in Sunrise.
    Between1938 and 1940, she filmed Lady'sFan,ThreeMusketeers,and EmpressWu the Great,etc., and also sang the theme songs. From the thirty-first ofDecember in 1940 to the fourth of January in 1941, she performed theEuropean-styled opera Songof the Earth,which described the rebellion of the villagers in the south of theYangtze River, and which hinted that the Chinese people rose againstthe Japanese. Therefore, it was forced to stop.
    Inlate 1942, they rehearsed the three-scene opera Songof the Fashion.Round the Chinese New Year in 1943, the opera was shown in MajesticTheater. But as she was exhausted in the rehearsals, once she faintedon the stage. The performance ceased. She was sick for some time. InDecember of 1944, she held her own concert in Suzhou city. Then twodays in January of 1945, she gave her solo concert in Lyceum Theatern Shanghai. The songs she sang were AveMariaby Schubert, MerryWidow Waltz,Carmen,and many Chinese popular tunes.
    In1936, she married a composer, who was more than ten years older thanshe, and they had four children. After the surrender of Japan, formost of her time, she sang on the stage, and her husband was theconductor of the orchestra. But on the twenty-fourth of January in1950, they declared divorce. Then she went to live in Beijing. InAugust that year, she married an actor. Afterwards, she joined amilitary ensemble as an actress. She acted the dramas Sunriseand Mother,etc.
    During the culturalrevolution, she was persecuted and put in prison as she had known thescandals of Jiang Qing when in Shanghai. Luckily she survived. Sheretired in 1979. But not long after, she was diagnosed to suffer fromcancer and died on the twenty-eighth of May in 1992 at the age ofseventy-two.

  5. #95
    90. Chen Yunshang(Film Queen of China)
    ChenYunshang (08/10/1919—06/30/2016) was born in Hong Kong, but herfamily moved to Canton when she was a little child. She had anEnglish name: Nancy Chan. Since a child she learned mandarin, Pekingopera, and Canton opera, which means to use Canton dialect in thedialogue. She was beautiful, and could sing and dance. In 1933, atthe age of fourteen, she joined a film company. In 1936, she wasinvited to Hong Kong to act in TheNew Youth,which earned her popularity. In the subsequent four years, she hadmore than twenty films made in the dialect of Cantonese.
    In1938, she was invited to Shanghai to act the role of Mulan in MulanJoins the Army,in the language of mandarin, which also became popular and for whichshe won the Film Queen of China held the third time in Shanghai.During the next five years, she had more than twenty films made inmandarin. In ten years she had fifty-seven films in all. Anastonishing number.
    In 1945, shemarried a practitioner in Hong Kong, Therefore, she retired from thescreen and set her heart on looking after her husband and family. Sheseldom participated in social activities. She lived peacefully inHong Kong till her death on the thirtieth of June in 2016 at home atthe age of ninety-six.

  6. #96
    91.Yin Guifang (a famous actress of Shaoxing opera)
    YinGuifang (12/01/1919—03/01/2000) was born in a poor family. Herfather died when she was only seven. She was a famous actress ofShaoxing opera or Yue opera, like Beijing opera. Shaoxing is a townin Zhejiang province, which has a simplified name Yue. There are manylocal operas in China. Beijing opera is only one of them. In everyopera, the actors and actresses sing in different dialects. Thedialogue or words of songs in Beijing opera are said or sung inmandarin. Those of Shaoxing opera are said or sung in Shaoxingdialect.
    Yinalways acted the main male character. In Shaoxing opera, onlyactresses perform. No actors traditionally. So the male characterswere played by actresses attired like actors, yet in female voices.Nowadays, Shaoxing opera had a little reform. Actors were trained toplay male roles.
    Atthe age of ten, she began to learn the acting of Shaoxing opera inSheng town in Zhejiang province, which was deemed the “homeland”of Shaoxing opera. In 1933, she went with her troupe on a performingtour to Shaoxing, Ninpo, and Hangzhou, and some other towns. At theend of 1934, another troupe needed an actress to play as an actor.Therefore, she was invited to go there. Thus she became famous.
    In1938, she came to Shanghai and soon in 1940, she became the chiefactress in the troupe. Generally the performance of Shaoxing operawas about old stories, that is to say, the costumes were of the oldstyles like people wore in the ancient China. In 1942, despite theopposition of the owner of the theater, she insisted in playingmodern stories, that is to say, the actresses wore modern costumes,like people in the forties of the nineteenth century wore. The ownerobjected to it because he was afraid that the change might affect hisbox office earnings. Anyway, the new opera Gold and Beauty wason in June, which was welcomed by the audience. The new notion was asuccess.
    Inspring of 1945, she invited some play writers to write new operas,such as Desert Prince, and The Love's Dream, etc.However, at the same time, they also acted some old operas like Baoyuand Daiyu, both were the names of the hero and heroine in thewell-known novel Red Chamber Dream. They did this to meet thewish of part of the audience who liked to watch old stories. In 1946,she and her partner founded their own troupe. Besides the formeroperas, they had a new opera Begonias, which was the nicknameof an actor in the opera. It was a tragedy.
    In1947, when another famous actress of Shaoxing opera want to havebenefit performance for the people in some disastrous regions, shesupported the action and gave up her own plan to make a film. In1948, she was voted to be the “Emperor of Yue Opera” because sheacted the male role. In 1952, she performed The Tale of WestChamber and The Tale of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai,another tragedy. In 1954, there was a joint performance for manylocal operas. Their opera Qu Yuan won the first prize for theplay, the acting, and the music. The Character Qu Yuan was apatriotic poet as well as a high-rank official in Chu state in thefirst warring period (770—221 BC). In 1955, she was selected as theso-called people's representative of Shanghai municipal conference.
    In1959, her troupe was relocated to Fuzhou town in Fujian provinceacross to Taiwan, and she was chosen to be the people'srepresentative of the town's conference. In 1960, she was accepted tobe a member of CPC. During the cultural revolution, she was beaten bythe local red guards and became handicapped. One of her legs and oneof her arms were paralyzed as her spine was damaged. In 1978, afterthe arrest of the gang of four, she was rewarded with a lot oftitles: member of national literary federation, vice chairwoman ofFujian branch of national dramatist association of China, and memberof Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) inFujian province. In 1979, though paralyzed, she went to Shanghai tohold her solo concert, helped by Shaoxing Opera theater of Shanghaiand the Academy of Arts of China. In the concert, she sang somefamous pieces of her tune in her opera Memory of My Country.In 1986, they held the celebration of their fortieth anniversary oftheir troupe. From the tenth to the seventeenth of December in 1990,the troupe went to perform in Hong Kong. On the first of March in2000, she died, leaving her arts of Shaoxing opera for her disciplesto inherit.

  7. #97
    92.Zhou Xuan (a movie star and singer with golden voice)
    ZhouXuan (08/01/1920—09/22/1957) was born in Changzhou town of Jiangsuprovince. She was the second child of the eight sisters and brothers.In 1923, she was kidnapped by her uncle, who liked to smoke opium.The uncle gave her to a Wang family in another town for the exchangeof some money. When Wang couple divorced, they gave her to a Zhoufamily in Shanghai, which gave her the chance to be a movie star.
    Sheliked to sing, and at school, her grade in the singing class wasalways the first. In 1928, the family was broke and the adoptivefather wanted to sell her to a brothel, but her adoptive motherstrongly objected to it. In 1931, she joined the Mingyue Singing &Dancing Ensemble. In 1932, she acted the main role in the musicaldrama ExpressTrainon stage, and sang the theme song, which became popular and was madein the gramophone record. In the same year, she performed in anothermusical drama.
    Atthe beginning of 1934, after her performance on stage for some time,she was invited to sing on radio. Then she was the second in theradio singer competition and got the nickname golden voice. In 1935,she was invited to act in her first film Childrenof Trouble Time.Only she had a side role. But it was the first step for her to enterthe film circle. In 1936 she acted the main role in four films.
    In1937, she acted in the musical film for some business advertisement,which was not so welcome as others, but the theme song WhenWill You Come Againwas very popular. Almost all people in Shanghai knew it and therecords sold well. Her most popular film was StreetAngel,in which two theme songs were especially welcomed by the public. Theywere WanderingSongstressand Songof four Seasons.Afterwards, she joined the performing tour in Hong Kong andPhilippines. She returned with the troupe in the summer of 1938.
    InFebruary of 1940, she took the part of the heroine in the film DongXiaowan(see above), who was a famous prostitute at the end of Ming dynasty.In June of the same year, she acted in the famous love comedy ThreeSmiles,and in December, she acted in the movie Taleof the West Chamber. In 1941, Shanghai Daily held an activity to vote for film queen.She was voted to be the film queen, but she refused to take thetitle, because she thought that too much honor was not a good thing.
    InJune of 1944, she accepted the role of the heroine in the film RedChamber Dream. It was the first Chinese film that was introduced to Japan. In Marchof 1945, she began to act in the film Phoenixon the Wing.And in May of the same year, she gave her solo concert for three daysin Jindu Theater in Shanghai, singing all her popular songs.
    Inwinter of 1946, she was invited to fly to Hong Kong and in Januarynext year she began to shoot her first film in Hong Kong. Her themesong Nightof Shanghaibecame a popular song ever since. In the same year, she shot anotherfilm, in which she played two different roles: a village girl, kindand naive; a Hong Kong girl, naughty and haughty. In 1948, she actedin the film Secretsof Qing Palace,which was another of her master pieces and which attractedinternational attention for a Chinese female movie star.
    Shereturned to Shanghai from Hong Kong in 1950. And in January of 1951,she was invited to play the main role in the film Doveof Peace,but during the shooting, she fell sick and was diagnosed of some kindof nerve disease. She was sent to a nursing home. In July of 1957,she got meningitis and was sent to the hospital. She died of thatdisease on the twenty-second of September.
    Inautumn of 1936, she got engagement with a composer and married him onthe tenth of July in 1938. The marriage lasted for three years. Theneach suspected the other of having affairs with someone else. After aseries of quarrels, Zhou Xuan left home and they got divorced in1941. Then she lived together with a cloth businessman without aformal marriage. She had two sons with him. Then it was rumored thatthe man cheated her out of her money. So in 1950, she made opendeclaration to stop living together with him. Then she knew apainting teacher. But when she prepared to marry him in May of 1952,the teacher was arrested for cheating and sentenced for three years'service. She lived alone till her death.

  8. #98
    93. Shangguan Yunzhu (afamous actress, also Mao's mistress)
    Shangguan(double surname) Yunzhu (03/02/1920—11/23/196was born in a small town in Jiangsu province. In 1936, she married apainting teacher, a Mr. Zhang, and next year, she went to Shanghaiwith Zhang. At first she worked in a photo gallery. In 1940, she wasadmitted into a drama school to learn acting. In 1941, she firstappeared on stage in the drama Thunderand was a success.
    Shegot divorced with Zhang, with whom she had a son. Then she married agraduate from Yale and bore a daughter in 1944 for him. But shedivorced him in 1946. She turned to be a film actress and acted inthe following films: AnIllusion of Paradise,Ariver of Spring Water flows East,Hopein the World,and Crowand Sparrow,etc.
    After1949, she worked in Shanghai Film Factory and acted in EarlySpring,and StageDoor Johnny,etc. In 1951, she married the manager of Lyceum Theater and bore ason for him. But they divorced in 1952.
    Inthe fifties, when Mao came to Shanghai, the mayor Ke arranged her tomeet Mao in Jinjiang Hotel. It was said by one of her best friendsthat when Mao received her, Mao was just putting on a sleeping robe.Mao showed her a slip of note paper, saying that since olden timeheroes love beauties. He (Mao) was a hero and she (Shangguan) was abeauty. Afterwards she gave her friend this note to keep for her. Forseveral years she became Mao's secret mistress. Whenever Mao came toShanghai, she would be summoned to see him. She had once been takento Beijing, to where Mao lived—ZhongNanHai. Then Mao's liking ofher faded. He got younger girls.
    Duringthe cultural revolution, she was persecuted by Jiang Qing, Mao'swife, who ordered to organize a special investigating team to dealwith her. They wanted her to confess what she did when she was withMao. She said what she could and refused to say what she could not.So this was not satisfactory and she was tormented. Finally she madesuicide by jumping down from a high building at three a.m., on thetwenty-third of November in 1968 at the age of forty-eight. It wasreported in the official record. But the truth was later known thatshe was thrown down by the team from the high building. At that time,she was surely confined in a room in that high building as always insuch cases. There was someone watching over her. How could she jumpout?

  9. #99
    94. Bai Yang(international movie award winner)
    BaiYang(04/22/1920—09/18/1996)was born in Peking. In 1931 at the age of eleven, she started tolearn acting in a film company. In 1934 she joined a touring troupe.Her career thus began. In 1936, her first film was Crossroads,which brought her popularity. She was even known internationally. TheTimesin England said that she was the Chinese Greta Garbo.
    Duringthe Anti-Japanese war she was in Chongqing city, the temporarycapital of the Chinese government since the capital Nanking city wasoccupied by the Japanese. She acted in a few films such as Wingsof China,etc., and performed some dramas on the stage such as Sunrise,etc. In 1946 after the surrender of Japan, she went to Shanghai andhad two famous films made: EightThousand Li of Cloud and Moonand ARiver of Spring Water Flows East.
    After1949, she worked in Shanghai Film Factory first as actress and thenas conductor. She was also the vice director of Arts Committee andvice chairwomen of China Film Association. In 1960s, she acted inseveral films, one of which was Blessing.For her acting of the heroine in the film, she was conferred thespecial award of the tenth Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.She also published some books about film acting and skills.
    Duringthe cultural revolution, she was beaten by red guards severely. Shewas put in prison for five years. In 1971, she ended the dark prisonlife, but was sent to labor in the countryside. She was redressed in1977. She wrote an article about her sad experience, which waspublished in PeopleDaily.In 1980s, she played the role of Soong Qinglin (see above) in a TVserial film like soap opera. She died on the eighteenth of Septemberin 1996 at the age of seventy-six.

  10. #100
    95.Hongxiannuu (a famous actress of Canton opera)
    Hongxiannu(12/27/1924—12/08/2013) was the nickname of Kuang Jianlian and wasborn in Canton. Her nickname literally meant “Red thread Woman.”She was a famous actress of Canton opera. When she was eight, shelearned to sing Canton opera by following the gramophone records. In1938, as the Japanese invaders came into China, she went with hermother to Hong Kong via Macao. In spring of 1939, she began to takesome assisting parts on the stage like maids. In 1940, she joined thetroupe founded by her maternal aunt and got the present nickname. In1941, she went with the troupe to Shanghai. At the end of that year,the Japanese army occupied Hong Kong. The troupe went to perform inthe regions that were still under the control of the Chinesegovernment. She married in 1944 and had two sons and a daughter. Thehusband was much older than she.
    Afterthe surrender of Japan, she returned to Hong Kong to learn Beijingopera for three years. Afterwards she performed on the stage MadamaButterfly, etc. In 1946 in Hong Kong, she acted the successfulopera Hidden Desire, a full house everyday for a month. Nextyear this opera was turned into a screenplay and made on a film. Atthe beginning of 1950, she founded the Red Star Troupe and acted inthe Tears of Pearl River. In 1952, the opera Wang Zhaojun(the second beauty, see above) was on. She also tried to turnShakespeare's plays into Canton operas.
    In1955, she was divorced, and in the same year, she was invited byPremier Zhou to the mianland, and in 1965, she was invited as a VIPto attend the national ceremony for the seventh anniversary of theestablishment of the People's Republic of China. In 1957, she camefrom Hong Kong to Canton to work for Guangdong Canton Opera Troupe.
    Duringthe cultural revolution, she and her family were persecuted. Half ofher hair was shaved, a sign of insult. She was called by the redguards as the Black Thread Woman. In 1967, she was sent to labor on atea farm. In 1970, Premier Zhou came to Canton for an internationalconference, and she was allowed to act for the foreign visitors. In1975, she married a writer. The husband died of cancer ten yearslater. During his stay in the hospital, she went there almosteveryday to look after him.
    Herdaughter Hong Hong was also an actress of Canton opera. Disgusting ofthe tyranny of CPC, in March of 1984 when she went with the troupe toHong Kong, she disappeared. Half a year later, on the ninth ofOctober, she appeared in Taiwan and held a press conference, sayingthat she desired freedom and so left the mainland. Afterwards sheimmigrated to Canada. It was said that she had secretly gone back tosee her mother before the mother died of myocardialinfarction on the eighth of December in 2013 in Canton.

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