Maggie Cheung in 2007.
20 September 1964
|Alma mater||St. Paul's Convent School |
St Edmund's School, Canterbury
University of Edinburgh
|Years active||1984-2004 |
(m. 1998; div. 2001)
|Ole Scheeren (2007-2011)|
Maggie Cheung Man-yuk (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Jyutping: Zoeng1 Maan6 Juk2; born 20 September 1964) is an Hong Kong-born British actress. Raised in Hong Kong and England, she started her career after placing second in 1983's Miss Hong Kong Pageant. She achieved critical success in the late 80s and into the early 2000s, before taking a break from acting since her last starring role in 2004. In recent years, she rarely makes public appearances except for fashion events and award ceremonies.
Cheung has won numerous accolades at home and abroad for her acting. She has won the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actress 5 times in the span of 11 years from 1990 to 2001, and holds the record for most wins in that category. She also holds the record for most wins for the Golden Horse Award for Best Leading Actress in Taiwan, having won 4 times. In the West, she has been awarded the Silver Bear for Best Actress at Berlin International Film Festival in 1992 and Best Actress at Cannes Film Festival in 2004. In 2004, she became the first Asian actress to be nominated for the French César Award for Best Actress.
Her most acclaimed performances include As Tears Go By, Center Stage, Comrades: Almost a Love Story, The Soong Sisters, In the Mood for Love, and Clean. Her cheongsam-wearing character in 2000's In The Mood for Love, opposite male lead Tony Leung and under the direction of Wong Kar-wai, is a classic in both the film and fashion worlds.
Maggie Cheung was born in Hong Kong in 20 September 1964 to Shanghainese parents. She attended St. Paul's Primary Catholic School in Happy Valley, where she began at the primary one level. Her family emigrated from Hong Kong to the United Kingdom when she was eight. She spent part of her childhood and adolescence in Bromley, London, England. She returned to Hong Kong at the age of 18 in 1982 for a vacation but ended up staying for modeling assignments and other commitments. She also shortly obtained a sales job at Lane Crawford department store.
In 1983, Cheung entered the Miss Hong Kong pageant and won the first runner-up and the Miss Photogenic award as well. She was a semi-finalist in the Miss World pageant the same year. After two years as a TV presenter, it led to a contract with TVB (the television arm of the Shaw Bros. Studio).
Cheung is a polyglot as a result of her upbringing in Hong Kong and England and ten years' stay in Paris. In Center Stage, Cheung performed in Cantonese, Mandarin, and Shanghainese fluently, switching languages with ease. In Clean, she performed in fluent English, French, and Cantonese.
Soon after her debut, Cheung broke into the film industry, starring in comedies. She caught the attention of Jackie Chan, who cast her in Police Story (1985) as May, his long-suffering girlfriend. The film was a huge hit and made Cheung a star overnight. TVB had also cast Barbara Yung and Kent Tong in a period drama, Kings of Ideas (?) but due to the death of Barbara Yung, the role was assigned to Cheung.
Despite her success, Cheung found herself typecast in the roles of comics or weak, clumsy women. Realizing this, Cheung wanted to break away by seeking more dramatic roles. She got this opportunity when Wong Kar-wai cast her in As Tears Go By (1988), her first of many collaborations with Wong. Cheung often cites the film as the piece that truly began her serious acting career, and she won critical praise for it. In 1989, she won Best Actress awards at the Golden Horse Award and Hong Kong Film Award for her work in Full Moon in New York and A Fishy Story respectively. In 1991, she became the first Chinese performer to win a Best Actress Award at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival for her work in Center Stage.
Cheung subsequently proved her versatility with roles in action films. Her performance in the sci-fi martial arts smash hit The Heroic Trio (1992) and its sequel, Executioners (1993), impressed both critics and audiences with her martial arts skills. Also in a departure from her usual roles, Cheung played a beautiful and vicious femme fatale in New Dragon Gate Inn (1992).
After taking a break in 1994, Cheung returned to film Olivier Assayas' Irma Vep (1996), which helped her break into the international scene. That same year, she won further acclaim for her work in the romantic film Comrades: Almost a Love Story, in which she played one of a pair of lovers kept apart for ten years by fate and circumstance. The following year, she made her first English-language film in Wayne Wang's Chinese Box (1997). Cast as a mysterious young woman named Jean, Cheung held her own against the more internationally well-established Irons and Gong.
After her 1998 marriage with Olivier Assayas, Cheung stayed mainly in France. She returned to Hong Kong to film In the Mood for Love (2000), which won critical acclaim and a second Taiwanese Golden Horse award for Cheung. Thereafter, she starred in Zhang Yimou's Hero (2002) and Wong's 2046 (2004). She won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for her role as a mother who tries to kick her drug habit and reconcile with her long-lost son in Clean (2004).
Cheung was a jury member at the 1997 Berlin Film Festival, the 1999 Venice Film Festival, the 2004 Hawaii International Film Festival, the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, and the 2010 Marrakech International Film Festival. And for the first time in its history, the 59th Cannes Film Festival (2006) used a photographic image of a real actress on its poster — that of Cheung.
On 7 February 2007, The New York Times rated Cheung as one of the 22 Great Performers in 2006 for her Cannes winning role as Emily in Clean. After 25 years of making movies, she decided to retire from acting to pursue a career as a film composer. She had mentioned she would like to compose music and paint after having fulfilled her acting potential. Her most recent film appearance was as Mazu, Chinese goddess of the sea, in the film Ten Thousand Waves (2010) by British filmmaker and installation artist Isaac Julien.
As UK's Independent puts it, since her Cannes moment in 2004, Cheung "turned her back on film" and has shifted her focus to philanthropy, making music, and editing. In April 2010, Cheung was appointed as UNICEF's Ambassador to China. In July 2011, she was awarded a doctor honoris causa at the University of Edinburgh.
Cheung has been rumoured to have been romantically involved with In the Mood for Love co-star Tony Leung, who is married to fellow actor Carina Lau. Lau quashed rumours of a feud by uploading a photo of her running into Cheung at an airport in 2013.
|Year||Chinese Title||English title||Notes|
|Behind the Yellow Line|
|1985||Girl with the Diamond Slipper|
|?||It's a Drink, It's a Bomb|
|Happy Ghost 3|
|?||The Seventh Curse|
|1987||?||Seven Years Itch||Cameo|
|The Romancing Star|
|A?||Project A Part II|
|You Are My Destiny||Cameo|
|1988||?1988||Call Girl '88|
|?||Love Soldier of Fortune|
|?||As Tears Go By|
|?||Mother vs. Mother|
|Moon, Star, Sun|
|How to Pick Girls Up!|
|Police Story 2|
|Beloved Son Of God|
|?||The Game They Call Sex|
|A Fishy Story|
|Hearts No Flowers|
|The Bachelor's Swan-Song|
|?||My Dear Son|
|In Between Loves|
|?||The Iceman Cometh|
|Doubles Cause Troubles|
|1990||?||Full Moon in New York|
|Heart into Hearts|
|?||Song of the Exile|
|?||The Dragon from Russia|
|?||Days of Being Wild|
|?||The Perfect Match|
|Will of Iron|
|?||Alan & Eric - Between Hello & Goodbye|
|Center Stage||aka Actress|
|1992||?,,?||Too Happy for Words||Short film|
|?||All's Well, Ends Well|
|New Dragon Gate Inn|
|?!||What a Hero!|
|?3||Police Story 3: Supercop|
|Heart Against Hearts||Cameo|
|?||The Bare-Footed Kid|
|?||The Heroic Trio|
|?||Enigma of Love|
|?||The Eagle Shooting Heroes|
|Boys are Easy|
|?||Ashes of Time|
|1996||Comrades: Almost a Love Story|
|1997||?||The Soong Sisters|
|1999||?||Augustin, King of Kung-Fu|
|?||In the Mood for Love|
|2008||?()||Ashes of Time Redux|
|2009||?||Inglourious Basterds||deleted scene|
|2010||?||Hot Summer Days||Cameo|
|Better Life||Short film|
|Ten Thousand Waves|
|Year||Original Title||English title|
|1984||?||Rainbow Round My Shoulder|
|?||Police Cadet '84|
|1985||?||The Fallen Family|
|?||Zhe Dang Pai Dang|
|The Yang's Saga|
|?||Kings of Ideas|
|1989||Golden Horse Award||Best Actress||Full Moon in New York|
|1990||Best Supporting Actress||Red Dust|
|Hong Kong Film Awards||Best Actress||A Fishy Story|
|Torino International Festival of Young Cinema||Jury Special Prize||Farewell China|
|1991||Golden Horse Award||Best Actress||Center Stage|
|1992||Berlin International Film Festival|
|Chicago International Film Festival|
|1993||Hong Kong Film Awards|
|1996||Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards||Comrades: Almost a Love Story|
|1997||Hong Kong Film Awards|
|Asia-Pacific Film Festival|
|Golden Bauhinia Awards|
|Golden Horse Award|
|Hong Kong Film Awards||The Soong Sisters|
|2000||Golden Horse Award||In the Mood for Love|
|2001||Asian Film Critics Association Awards|
|Chinese Film Media Awards|
|Durban International Film Festival|
|Hong Kong Film Awards|
|SESC Film Festival||Best Foreign Actress|
|2003||Chinese Film Media Awards||Most Popular Actress||Hero|
|2004||Cannes Film Festival||Best Actress||Clean|
|Hawaii International Film Festival||Award for Achievement in Acting||N/A|
|2005||Montréal World Film Festival||Exceptional Contribution to Cinematographic Art||N/A|
|Asian American International Film Festival||Acting Achievement Award||N/A|
|2007||Shanghai International Film Festival||Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Cinema||N/A|
|1985||Hong Kong Film Awards||Best Actress||As Tears Go By||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Red Dust||Nominated|
|1992||Best Actress||New Dragon Gate Inn||Nominated|
|1992||Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards||Best Leading Actress||New Dragon Gate Inn||Nominated|
|1998||Golden Bauhinia Awards||Best Actress||The Soong Sisters||Nominated|
|2000||In the Mood for Love||Nominated|
|2005||César Awards||Best Actress(Meilleure actrice)||Clean||Nominated|
|2002||Chlotrudis Awards||Best Actress||In the Mood for Love||Nominated|