Run Run Shaw, “father of the Kung Fu movie genre,” and head of a film empire that extended from Hong Kong to Hollywood died yesterday at the age of 106.
Born November 23,1907, in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, China, in 1907. Run Run Shaw Shao Renleng was the youngest of 6 sons of Shangai textile merchant Shaw Yuh-Hsuen. Which earned him the nickname “Uncle Six.” He also had one sister. As a child, he was educated in American-run schools in Shanghai, before leaving home at 19 to help his third older brother Runme Shaw market films to south-east Asia’s Chinese community from Singapore.
In fact, three of his brothers had already established Tianyi Film Productions (aka the Unique Film Productions) in Shanghai to produce Chinese silent films in 1924, and later produced what is considered the first Chinese “talkie” in 1931.
36 years later, Shaw helped establish Hong Kong broadcaster TVB, producing everything from sitcoms to soap operas and variety shows, and launched the careers of future movie stars such as Chow Yuen-fat, Tony Leung, Stephen Chow and Andy Lau, while Shaw Brothers Studio went on to produce approximately 1,000 feature films including “Five Fingers of Death,” “The 36th Chamber of Shaolin,” as well as co-producing Quentin Tarantino’s iconic :Blade Runner” in 1982.
“Sir Run Run Shaw has for a long time promoted the entertainment industry in Hong Kong, his philanthropy also has spread from Hong Kong to China and beyond. He is an elder that we very much respect,” stated Hong Kong’s chief executive Leung Chun-ying.
Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1977 for his work on behalf of the Red Cross, Sir Run Run also donated billions of (Hong Kong Dollars) to charity, hospitals and schools including Shaw College (the 4th constituent college of Chinese University of Hong Kong) as well as having established the Run Run Shaw Institute of Chinese Affairs at Oxford University.
He also founded the Shaw Prize, in 2002, an international award often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of the East,” for scientists specializing in research for astronomy, mathematics, and life and medical science.
In addition, Run Run Shaw donated $13 million for diaster relief following the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan.
Shaw redited his longevity to his practice of qigong, which he did every morning for more than 40 years, as well as “eating very little each meal and going t be early, as well as consuming $300,000 HK worth of ginseng a year,” according former TVB general manager Ho Ting-kwan.
Shaw is survived by his second wife Mona Shaw, and children Shaw Vee Meng, Shaw So Man, Shaw So Wan and Shaw Vee Chung