Name: Donnie Yen Ji-dan Date of birth: July 27, 1963 Place of birth: Guangdong, China Height: 5'9' Idol: Bruce Lee Major awards: The Best Young Director Award at the Yubari Film Festival in Japan for Ballistic Kiss, the Coolest Action Actor of 2004 award by MTV Channel and Man of the Year (2002) of Inside Kung Fu magazine. A kung fu icon and acclaimed action choreographer, Yen started learning martial arts at a young age from his mother Bow Sim-mark, a respected wushu and tai chi master, in Boston, United States. He mastered a variety of martial arts styles while training with the Beijing Wushu Team. His talents caught the eye of film director Yuen Wo-ping, the action choreographer of The Matrix. Yuen invited him to star in his first major action flick, Drunken Tai Chi (1984). He starred in many martial arts movies in the 1990s when costume action films were guaranteed box-office successes. Once Upon A Time in China II (1992) and Iron Monkey (1993) were particularly successful. It was not until his directorial debut, Legend of the Wolf (1997), that Yen established himself as an action master. Playing an assassin named Wolf, Yen complemented the action with an innovative plot, lively camera work and powerful music. His second film, Ballistic Kiss, a year later, was equally successful. With dazzling gun-shooting sequences, the film won him the Best Young Director Award at the Yubari Film Festival. Like his peer Jet Li, Yen moved to Hollywood to further his career. He worked as an action director and took on supporting roles in films including Highlander: Endgame (2000) and Blade II (2002). He may be an internationally acclaimed action star, but his talents are put to best use by Chinese filmmakers. His role in Zhang Yimou's Hero (2004) is brief but unforgettable, and his action choreography for The Twins Effect (2003) won him awards at the 23rd Hong Kong Film Awards and the 40th Golden Horse Awards.