Legend of Asian cinema and TV bows out aged 104


AT THE tender age of 104, Run Run Shaw, one of the legends of Asian cinema and broadcasting, has retired as chairman of Hong Kong’s biggest free-to-air broadcaster, TVB, after 40 years at the helm.

Shaw, who was knighted in 1977 and lists the 1982 Ridley Scott sci-fi classic Blade Runneramong his credits, was one of the co-founders of TVB in 1967, when he was already 60 years old. Under his stewardship, it grew from a local TV channel into an international broadcaster with 4,500 staff.

Hong Kong film stars and directors like Chow Yun-fat, Andy Lau and Stephen Chow all cut their teeth in TVB dramas.

The Shaw brothers dominated Chinese cinema for many years.

Run Run Shaw was born in the city of Ningbo in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, in 1907, the son of a Shanghai textile merchant. He had five older brothers.

His career in cinema began in Shanghai, which was then the film capital of China, in the 1920s, and between 1928 and 1938, he and his brothers bought more than 100 cinemas in Singapore and Malaysia and set up Shaw Brothers in 1948.

The company produced about 1,000 movies before it ceased operations in 1987.

Shaw is a very well known public figure in Asia because of his public works, and Shaw college and hospital buildings dot Hong Kong and other cities.

His first wife, Wong Mei Chun, died aged 85 in 1987. In 1997, he married Fong Yat-wa, who had been deputy chairwoman of TVB, in Las Vegas.

Shaw is to step down at the end of the year and he will be replaced by the vice-chair, Norman Leung (71),