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Saturday 23 September 2017

Kung fu film king Run Run Shaw dies at 106

Hong Kong movie producer Run Run Shaw poses for a photograph during the Run Run Shaw prize presentation ceremony in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong movie producer Run Run Shaw poses for a photograph during the Run Run Shaw prize presentation ceremony in Hong Kong.

Geoffrey Macnab

Run Run Shaw the colourful tycoon who built a Hong Kong movie and TV empire has died at the age of 106.

His studios nurtured rising talents like actor Chow Yun-fat and director John Woo, inspired Hollywood filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino and produced the 1982 sci-fi classic 'Blade Runner'.

His secret of longevity was "eat sparingly and go to bed early", according to the 'South China Morning Post'.

Shaw's involvement in the film industry stretched back to the silent era. He and his brother Runne formed a film distribution company in Singapore in the 1920s.

The producer and impresario was a key figure in turning Hong Kong into the "Hollywood of the East".

Anyone growing up in the region watched Shaw Brothers films, which were turned out in their hundreds. The films included 'The 36th Chamber of Shaolin', which Quentin Tarantino called "the 3rd greatest kung fu movie of all time" and acknowledged as a strong influence on his own 'Kill Bill' films.

Even the cult US director Monte Hellman worked with the Shaws on 'Shatter' (1974), which was co-produced with Hammer Films.

When Bafta was desperately trying to raise funds for its new home at Piccadilly, London, in 1977, Run Run Shaw rode to the rescue, making "a very substantial donation".

Bafta named one of its cinemas after Run Run Shaw and only last month it gave him an honorary award in recognition of his contribution to cinema.

However, for all of his prominence in cinema over the last 75 years and more, Shaw was a reticent figure who rarely gave interviews.

The Shaw brothers had been prominent producers in southern China in the 1930s. Their business empire took a tumble after the Japanese invasion of Singapore and they eventually decamped to Hong Kong -- and the glory years soon followed. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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