She may have sung Cantonese opera as well as any Hong Kong diva, but Chow Kwun-ling was 100 per cent American. Born in about 1922 and raised in California, Chow learned opera from an early age and performed in the Chinatowns of San Francisco and other west coast communities. The closure of the Hong Kong film industry during the Japanese occupation of the second world war brought her to the silver screen. Grandview, a Cantonese studio based in San Francisco, produced about two dozen features from the early to mid-40s, at least six of which starred Chow. A few of these productions included scenes in colour, then a novelty in Chinese cinema, and earned her the nickname 'Technicolor Queen'. Chow's American movies were released in Hong Kong after the war, and she moved to the colony in 1947, for what would prove to be an extremely prolific decade. She starred in about 120 features between 1950 and 1954, reaching a peak of almost 40 in 1952. Although she appeared in the occasional opera film, Chow was most often cast in contemporary pictures, playing the sympathetic heroine. A sample of memorable parts includes the young wife whose husband might have killed his first spouse in Lovers Mystery (1950), the suicidal title character of The Neglected Wife (1952), and The Young Master is a Girl (1952), a comedy in which she discovers that the object of her affection (the cross-dressing Yam Kim-fai) isn't a man. Chow and husband Wong Chiu-mo also co-starred in numerous features, including The Gold Rush (1953), one of Hong Kong's few experiments in 3-D. Chow and Wong moved back to California in the late 1950s, and went into the restaurant business. A scandal erupted when opera star Ho Fei-fan toured America with his troupe and, invited by his former colleagues to stay at their home, became romantically involved with Chow. She divorced her husband and temporarily returned to Hong Kong. In 1961 and 1962, Chow made almost 20 films, ranging from historical operas to modern dramas. Her most frequent co-star was seven-year-old sensation Bobo Fung, in pictures such as The Little Go-Between and Little Cosmonaut (both 1961). Chow's last movie, The Dragon and the Bat, was released in 1964. She returned to California and never again performed on celluloid. Her Hong Kong career, encompassing almost 200 films, was just one chapter in a long life spent mostly in America.