Kung fu film pioneer Run Run Shaw dies at 106

January 08, 2014 - 6:33:36 am

HONG KONG: Run Run Shaw (pictured), the billionaire film pioneer hailed as the inventor of the kung fu genre and who launched a media empire that stretched from Hong Kong to Hollywood, died yesterday at the age of 106.

The colourful mogul, whose flagship Shaw Brothers Studio helped shape Asian cinema in the 20th century and influenced the films of directors such as Quentin Tarantino, passed away at his home in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s chief executive Leung Chun-ying, leader of the city of seven million people, praised Shaw’s legacy.

“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,” Leung told reporters.

Shaw, listed by Forbes as a billionaire, was also a generous philanthropist who was knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth in 1977 for his public service as a long-time backer of the Red Cross.

He co-produced Ridley Scott’s 1982 cult hit “Blade Runner”, and his studio’s kung fu films became genre-defining — but he famously missed out on signing Bruce Lee following failed talks over remuneration.

Lee instead joined Golden Harvest, a Hong Kong-based production house founded by Shaw’s former employee Raymond Chow, which propelled the martial arts icon to international stardom.

Shaw and his older brother Runme first founded a film production house in Shanghai in 1927, before moving in to Hong Kong and Singapore. AFP

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