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Sir Run Run Shaw passed away today, Jan 7, 2014 at 6:55 AM local time at the age of 107 at his home in Hong Kong.
Martial artists and movie fans know him to be one of the co-founders of Shaw Brothers movie studios. He also founded TVB, Hong Kong's biggest TV studio. Both Shaw Brothers and TVB launched the careers of such stars/cultural icons as: Lau Kar Leung, Gordon Lau, Alexander Fu Sheng, Ti Lung, David Chiang, Five Venoms Gang, Chow Yun-fat, Wong Kar Wai, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Andy Lau, Stephen Chow and many, many more.
Excerpted from South China Morning Post:
Entertainment tycoon and philanthropist Sir Run Run Shaw passed away peacefully at home in the company of his family on Tuesday morning, his flagship broadcast firm said.
Shaw was instrumental in shaping Hong Kong media culture, co-founding the Shaw Brothers Studio, which produced more than 1,000 films since its establishment in 1958, and Television Broadcasts (TVB), Hong Kong’s first free television, in 1967.
“With his vision and energy, he had built the company to become Hong Kong’s premier television and a world leader in the Chinese-language television industry,” TVB said on Tuesday.
“Although we knew this day would come, no words can adequately express our sorrow and lessen our sense of a profound loss. He will be sadly missed by al of us in TVB. Out thoughts are with his wife, Miss Mona Fong, and his family,” it said.
Shaw attracted top talents to the station, the city's largest film studio and television broadcaster, ushering in what many call the golden age of TV entertainment in Hong Kong.
In the battle for talent, there was one he famously could not snare: Bruce Lee. Despite having made an appearance in TVB in 1969, Lee eventually signed a two-movie deal with Golden Harvest, co-founded by Shaw’s former employee Raymond Chow.
According to Lee’s descendants, Shaw's studio tried to “woo him away” repeatedly but Golden Harvest kept the kung fu star away from arm's reach by sending him to Thailand for filming rather bringing him back to Hong Kong.
Shaw was a well-known philanthropist who had a passion for education. Lawmaker James To recalled he once asked Shaw how many schools he had. “He then sank into deep thoughts for two minutes,” To said in a radio show this morning. “Then he said he had more than 4,000 schools.”
Former TVB general manager Stephen Chan agreed that the tycoon had placed high emphasis on education. “Don’t think education is expenses. Education is investment,” he quoted Shaw as saying to a government official.
Shaw was known to be a keen practitioner of qigong, an exercise aligning energy and the body. Former TVB general manager Ho Ting-kwan said Shaw began practising qigong in his 60s and he did it first thing in the morning. He said he ate very little each meal and went to bed early, which was his secrets to longevity.
He set up Shaw Prize in 2004 awarding scientists who have achievements in the areas of astronomy, mathematics and life and medical science.
Shaw, born on November 23, 1907, originally founded the Shaw Organisation with his brother in 1926 in Shanghai. Four years later, the firm became Shaw Studios.
He invested in many notable films, including Ridley Scott's cult classic Blade Runner, according to the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, which gave him a Special Award just last month.
Back in its heyday, Shaw Brothers Studio made 40 films a year. The studio system was the largest of its kind in Asia. It also served as a cradle for some of the greatest filmmakers in the region and defined cinema in the 1960s.
After a 44-year career, Run Run Shaw stepped down from all his TVB posts in December 2011. In March that year, he sold his entire 26 per cent holding in TVB to a group of investors for HK$6.26 billion.
Excerpted from NY Times:
Run Run Shaw was born Shao Yifu in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, in 1907. As a child, he moved to Shanghai, where his father ran a profitable textile business. According to some Hong Kong news media accounts, Run Run and Runme were English-sounding nicknames the father gave his sons as part of a family joke that played on the similarity of the family name to the word rickshaw.
As his fortune grew, Mr. Shaw donated generously to hospitals, orphanages and colleges in Hong Kong, for which he was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1974 and a knighthood in 1977. In 1990 he donated 10 million pounds to help establish the Run Run Shaw Institute of Chinese Affairs at Oxford University, where his four children had studied. In 2004 he established the Shaw Prize, an international award for research in astronomy, mathematics and medicine. As Hong Kong’s days as a British colony dwindled, Mr. Shaw stepped up his philanthropy in China. He contributed more than $100 million to scores of universities on the mainland and raised money in support of Chinese victims of floods and other natural disasters. Chinese leaders toasted him for his generosity at banquets in Beijing.
Mr. Shaw’s philanthropy did not extend to the United States, but he was once viewed as a white knight in New York. In 1991, when Macy’s was on the verge of bankruptcy, he bought 10 percent of its preferred shares for $50 million, becoming one of the largest shareholders in R. H. Macy & Company.
Rest In Peace Sir Run Run Shaw
Thank you for all you have done for the Hong Kong movies/tv industry - many many fond memories!
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