Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Top 10 Facts You Didn't Know About Sir Run Run Shaw (November 23, 1907 – January 7, 2014)

Earlier today, I posted the news that the Hong Kong film pioneer and media mogul, Sir Run Run Shaw, passed away at the age of 107.

Following up on that news, here's the Top 10 Facts you didn't know about him as collected by me, Stickgrappler. Told you that I will be blogging more this year!

Enjoy these facts!

1. Nickname

  • 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. (Apologies, this one isn't a fact - Thank you Brian B. and achillesgirl!)
  • The sixth of seven children, he was nicknamed as "Uncle Six" (Luk Suk).

2. World War II

Photo Credit:  TheHindu.Com

In 1941, during a Japanese invasion of Malaya, the Shaw Brothers saw their theaters stripped and film equipment confiscated. He and his brother buried more than $4 million in gold, jewelry and currency in their backyard, which they dug up after World War II and used to resume their careers.

3. Asteroid Belt

2899 Runrun Shaw, a small main belt asteroid, which was discovered by Chinese astronomers in 1964 is named after Sir Run Run Shaw.

4. Shaw Brothers Logo

The studio's logo — the initials SB on a shield — was inspired by the Warner Brothers emblem, in a nod to its Hollywood aspirations. It came full circle when Tarantino appropriated the Shaw Brothers logo for use in his two "Kill Bill" movies, which were in homage to the studio and other Hong Kong martial arts movies.

5. Bruce Lee

Photo Credit: found on French Bruce Lee Fanpage on Facebook
Bruce Lee, 2nd from Left, Sir Run Run Shaw, 3rd from Left
Why does this look photoshopped to me?

He failed to see the potential of Bruce Lee, refusing to budge from his standard $2,000-a-film contract for newcomers. Raymond Chow, a former Shaw Brothers producer, founded Golden Harvest, and signed the young Lee to a 2 movie deal for $7,500 a film.

6. Honors

Queen Elizabeth
Photo Credit: ETOnline

Amongst the many honors he received, these are some of the notable ones:

  • Appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1974
  • He was knighted in Mar 1978 by Queen Elizabeth for his philanthropy (many 'net news report 1977, but thanks to Brian B. for the corrected date
  • In 1998, he received the highest Hong Kong honor, the Grand Bauhinia Medal, from the Hong Kong government

7. Produced some U.S. films

  • He produced a handful of U.S. films, including the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner and the 1979 disaster thriller "Meteor." Just last month, Dec 2013, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts gave him a Special Award (presumably for Blade Runner).
  • Shaw Brothers was co-producing films with Warner Bros. (Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold)
  • Put $16 million into MGM’s production of the film version of James Clavell’s best-selling novel Taipan, shot in Hong Kong at Shaw Studios in 1986

8. The Shaw Prize

Photo Credit:  http://sin.stb.s-msn.com/
Sir Run Run Shaw, 2nd from Right

In 2002, he founded the annual Shaw Prizes which has become known as the 'Nobel of the East.' The honor offers up to US $1 million annually to winners in mathematics, medicine and astronomy with the first award in 2004.

9. Philanthropy

Shaw donated billions of dollars to charity, schools and hospitals over the years:

  • His name adorns many hospital and school buildings in China and Hong Kong
  • In 1984, an interviewer mentioned that a medical team fighting leprosy in southwestern China had trouble traveling over the rugged, mountainous terrain. Upon hearing this, Shaw immediately decided to donate off-road vehicles but demanded there be no publicity
  • In 1990, he donated 10 million pounds to help establish the Run Run Shaw Institute of Chinese Affairs at Oxford University
  • After the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China, he donated US $13 million for disaster relief
  • He bought 10 percent of Macy's preferred shares for US $50 million when it was nearly bankrupt in 1991.

10. Secret to Longevity

Photo Credit:  gentinghighlife

  • According to a 1966 Life magazine article, he would rise at 6 a.m., eat a breakfast of noodles and tea, practice Chinese calisthenics and read a script or two before heading to the studio in one of his Rolls-Royce cars. After lunch and a nap, he would return to the office to work until midnight.
  • Shaw was known to be a keen practitioner of qigong. It's said that Shaw began practising qigong in his 60s and he did it first thing in the morning. Shaw said he ate very little each meal and went to bed early, which was his secrets to longevity. 30+ years of Qigong!
  • He was known to regularly consumed expensive ginseng, costing him close to HK$300,000 a year. 

Were these facts cool or what? Which was your favorite? My favorite has to be the World War II burying of $4 million. My deepest gratitude to my kot1k for the idea of this blog entry.

Rest in Peace Sir Run Run Shaw

EDIT 1/10/13: Sadly, many of the Internet news sites regurgitate the same information, which may not be accurate. My apologies in advance, as I collected these off the 'net.



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