One of our readers asked why we have never featured Maggie Cheung. She is one of Asia’s most beautiful women according to some. So here we go at last:
Maggie Cheung Man-yuk (born September 20, 1964) is a multi award-winning Chinese actress from Hong Kong. Raised in England, she has over 80 films to her credit since starting her career in 1983.Biography
Maggie Cheung traces her ancestry to Shanghai, China, and then fled from the Communists when the concession was returned to the Communists and moved to Hong Kong a couple of generations ago. Subsequently, her family, merchant-class, emigrated from the Crown Colony of Hong Kong to the United Kingdom. Maggie Cheung spent part of her childhood and adolescence in the United Kingdom. Upon her return to Hong Kong in 1983, at the age of 19 Cheung entered the Miss Hong Kong beauty pageant contest. She won second place. She was a semi-finalist in the Miss World pageant the same year.
Prior to 1988, Maggie’s screen appearance was often limited to eye candy roles. One of Cheung’s notable movie roles then is that of “May”, the girlfriend of police detective “Kevin” Chan Ka Kui in Jackie Chan’s Police Story movies (however, she did not reprise the role in Police Story 4: First Strike or New Police Story). Maggie frequently cited her performance in the movie As Tears Go By (1988), her first of many collaborations with film director Wong Kar-Wai, as the piece that truly began her serious acting career. Maggie Cheung is famous for being a talented multi-lingual actress. In Centre Stage, she performed in Mandarin, Cantonese and Shanghainese fluently, switching languages with ease. In Clean, she performed in fluent British-accented English, Parisian French, Cantonese and a smattering of Mandarin. Unlike most traditional actors in Hong Kong who are Cantonese monolingual, she is a polyglot as a result of her cosmopolitan upbringing.
Audiences outside Asia have become increasingly familiar with her work, including her roles in Centre Stage (as Ruan Lingyu), In the Mood for Love, Irma Vep, 2046, Hero, and, most recently, Clean.
She married French director Olivier Assayas in 1998 but divorced him in 2001. Their relationship remained amicable, however, as in 2004 Cheung made her award-winning movie Clean with him. As part of her portrayal of the drug-addicted aspiring singer Emily Wang in Clean, Maggie Cheung performed songs written by David Roback of Mazzy Star.
On 7 February 2007, The New York Times rated Maggie Cheung as one of the 22 Great Performers in 2006 for her Cannes winning role Emily in Clean.
After 25 years of making movies, Cheung is deciding to retire from acting and pursue a career as a film composer. She allows that there might be room for an occasional comedic role, but she would like to paint and compose music, after fulfilling her acting potential.
Maggie in 1984