Funeral of Hong Kong movie producer Raymond Chow to be private event
- Company that used to be Golden Harvest, which he founded in 1970, issues notice saying family asks industry players to respect their wishes
- Showbiz great who died at 91 had introduced Bruce Lee to the world, among other names such as Jackie Chan
The funeral of Raymond Chow Man-wai, the Hong Kong movie producer who introduced the world to martial arts legend Bruce Lee, will be a private event, it was revealed on Wednesday.
The arrangement was announced in a notice issued by Orange Sky Golden Harvest. The company was previously known as Golden Harvest, which Chow founded in 1970 and which he ran until he retired in 2007 and sold his shares.
“Mr Raymond Chow’s funeral will be held in a private ceremony,” the statement read. “His family asks industry players to respect their wishes, and also not to send bouquets and wreaths, with thanks.”
The company offered its condolences to Chow’s family members.
“Mr Chow contributed tremendously to the movie industry in Hong Kong and the world,” the company said. “His death is a great loss to the industry. The staff of our group have expressed their deepest regrets.”
Chow, who died on November 2 at the age of 91, established the firm after leaving his job as chief executive of Shaw Brothers Pictures – then one of the largest film studios in Asia – in 1970.
He produced more than 600 films over his lifetime in a range of genres, from action and comedy to art house movies, and nurtured a number of international superstars and directors.
Born in Hong Kong in 1927, Chow brought martial arts superstar Lee to the silver screen with action movie The Big Boss in 1971. The film earned Golden Harvest a major slice of local and overseas box office takings after just two years in business.
Comedies directed by Hong Kong’s Hui brothers – Michael Hui Koon-man, Samuel Hui Koon-kit and Ricky Hui Koon-ying – lifted the company’s fortunes after a low in the wake of Lee’s sudden death in 1973.
In the 1980s Golden Harvest enjoyed its last wave of major success with another internationally renowned kung fu star, Jackie Chan. It led to a 1994 listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange. The firm is currently valued at HK$1.03 billion (US$131 million).
Following Hong Kong’s handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997, Golden Harvest started to go downhill under the weight of the Asian financial crisis and the death of Chow’s right-hand man, Leonard Ho Koon-cheong.
Chow eventually sold his share of the business to mainland Chinese businessman Wu Kebo.
The showbiz veteran was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star in 1998 for his contributions to the local film industry.