Run Run Shaw, cofounder of the Shaw Brothers film
production company, at one time the largest in Hong Kong, died in
his home at the age of 106, according to the mogul’s most recent
company, Television Broadcasts Limited. Shaw was a pioneer of
Chinese film and is considered the creator of the kung fu genre.
Run Run opened Shaw Brothers studios in 1924, and by 1987, when
film production was suspended to focus on the tv side of business,
they had made more than 1,000 films. From
the New York Times obituary:
Born in China, Mr. Shaw and his older brother, Run
Me, were movie pioneers in Asia, producing and sometimes directing
films and owning lucrative cinema chains. His companies are
believed to have released more than 800 films worldwide.
After his brother’s death in 1985, Mr. Shaw expanded his interest
in television and became a publishing and real estate magnate as
well. For his philanthropy, much of it going to educational and
medical causes, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and showered
with public expressions of gratitude by the Communist authorities
Mr. Shaw enjoyed the zany glamour of the Asian media world he
helped create. He presided over his companies from a garish Art
Deco palace in Hong Kong, a cross between a Hollywood mansion and a
Hans Christian Andersen cookie castle. Well into his 90s he
attended social gatherings with a movie actress on each arm. And he
liked to be photographed in a tai chi exercise pose, wearing the
black gown of a traditional mandarin.
Asked what his favorite films were, Mr. Shaw, a billionaire, once
replied, “I particularly like movies that make money.”
Though he eventually expanded into television, Shaw believed the
film industry would always pay off for him. From
the Hollywood Reporter obit:
Reflecting at the peak of his fame in 1976, Shaw
told Time magazine that, “A small screen can
never compare with a big screen. Movie houses will carry on. People
like to go out, they like to be in a crowd … as long as the
Chinese population in Asia is big, I will get back my investment.
Besides, I make movies only for entertainment, never
Anyone left groaning over an awkwardly inserted political
messages on tv or in a movie should appreciate that.
Courtesy of Youtube, here is the Shaw Brothers’ 1973 classic
Five Fingers of Death:
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/07/run-run-shaw-pioneer-of-kung-fu-genre-de