Legendary movie mogul Jimmy Heung dies in Beijing

Jimmy Heung, of the studio that produced 'God of Gamblers', was seeking treatment in Beijing

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 November, 2014, 1:21pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 November, 2014, 3:59am

Film mogul Jimmy Heung Wah-sing died in Beijing on Thursday night. He was 64 and had been receiving treatment for oesophageal cancer there.

Heung co-founded Win's Entertainment with his elder brother Charles in the 1980s. The company went on to become one of Hong Kong's most successful film studios in the 1990s.

Win's scored a number of box-office hits, including the 1989-1991 God of Gamblers franchise, starring Chow Yun-fat as a renowned gambler, and the 1991-1993 comedy series Fight Back to School, starring Stephen Chow Sing-chi as an undercover cop.

Jimmy Heung was one of the few local filmmakers who, undeterred by rampant piracy across the border, ventured into the mainland market in the 1990s.

The brothers went their separate ways soon after.

With Jimmy Heung focused on the mainland, Charles Heung formed China Star Entertainment Group to continue making films in Hong Kong.

In 2001, Jimmy Heung and his then girlfriend, actress Shirley Cheung Yuk-shan, were arrested by anti-triad officers in connection with a criminal damage case.

He married his present wife Duanmu Yingzi - a mainland-born businesswoman - in 2009.

He was married to another woman, Cheung Mei-ling - whom he met when she was attending a TVB acting class - in the 1980s, but they divorced a few years later. Earlier this year, it was reported that Jimmy Heung had complained of a persistent sore throat and a subsequent medical check-up diagnosed him with oesophageal cancer.

He rejected chemotherapy and flew to Beijing for treatment instead.

Yesterday, condolences flooded in from show business, including messages from Stephen Chow and director Wong Ching, who made many hit movies under Win's, including 1987's The Romancing Star and the God of Gamblers franchise.

Charles Heung's wife Tiffany Chen, vice-chairman of China Star Entertainment Group, also expressed her condolences.

"He was the 13th child, my youngest brother-in-law whom I loved the most. Jimmy Heung, his brother Charles and I battled for eight years in the movie industry from 1986 to 1993, which was our golden era," she wrote online.

"Although we went separate ways in 1993, I will always remember his thoughtfulness and uniqueness. Rest in peace."