Chinese Film Industry Pays Tribute to Run Run Shaw

Sir Run Run Shaw - H 2014

Sir Run Run Shaw - H 2014

"There's no me if not for Mr. Shaw," says Chow Yun Fat, as Jackie Chan, Andy Lau and others mourn the legendary producer's death at 106.

HONG KONG – Hong Kong media mogul, film producer and philanthropist Sir Run Run Shaw passed away at his home on Tuesday at the age of 106. The founder of Shaw Brothers Studio and Television Broadcast Limited (TVB), Shaw was instrumental in bringing Chinese-language film, especially the martial arts genre, to the attention of the world.

His film and TV empire launched the careers of some of China's biggest stars, including Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau and Chow Yun-Fat. Figures from across the Chinese film industry spoke out on Wednesday to mourn the passing of the media tycoon. 

PHOTOS: Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2013

"I heard that Run Run Shaw passed away and I have many feelings," wrote action superstar Jackie Chan on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter. "I remembered how much I admired Shaw Brothers movies when I started my acting career and finally became successful. Mr. Run Run Shaw said that starting your own business and collecting money was a satisfaction but that distributing money and donating money was a pleasure. When I finally had the means to help others, Mr. Shaw's charitable behavior has always been my model. In the future, no matter whether it's movies or charity, I will go on."

Chan was discovered and signed under Golden Harvest, the rival of Shaw Brothers Studio, when he started his career in the 1970s.

Chow Yun-Fat (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End), who began his career at Shaw's Television Broadcast Limited (TVB), told local press: "There's no me if not for Mr. Shaw."

"Uncle Six [Shaw's nickname] was very hardworking and every day he came to office for meetings," Chow added. "He took care of the juniors. Once I went with Uncle Six abroad to attend a film festival; he took the initiative to come over and talk to me. He was very friendly and was a good person. I hope he has a good journey. He passed away in his sleep. It was a blessing."

STORY: Legendary Producer Run Run Shaw Dies at 106

Another contract actor at TVB at the beginning of his career, actor-singer megastar Andy Lau, expressed his sadness at Shaw's passing on Weibo: "I'll miss him forever and I wish him a good journey." 

Veteran producer-director Wong Jing (Young and Dangerous) also took to Weibo: "The studio tycoon I respect the most, the most successful filmmaker in my mind, philanthropist, Sir Run Run Shaw, R.I.P."

Likewise, director Pang Ho-Cheung (Love in the Buff): "A giant of an era, R.I.P."

Hong Kong producer Philip Lee (Cloud Atlas, The Dark Knight), told The Hollywood Reporter: "Indeed, the late Sir Run Run Shaw is probably the biggest icon in the Hong Kong film industry ever. I grew up with all the Shaw Brothers films in the 1960s and 70s. It went back to my mother's time. She used to take me to a theater nearby our home to watch those love stories produced by Shaw in the 60s. I was about eight or nine years old and I've been a movie fan since then."

Ng Yu, CEO of Hong Kong's Emperor Entertainment Group, recalled that “Shaw never interfered with production, and he allowed the producers to freely play and perform. He would give suggestions. Even though he had so much work to do every day, he still took time to watch films and TV programs from all over the world. He focused on film and television, which was also his interest. He contributed his life to this industry. He was very rare.”

Singaporean director Anthony Chen, who's Ilo Ilo won best picture and best director at the 2013 Golden Horse Awards, had this to say: "Sir Run Run Shaw's influence is undeniable, as his Shaw empire was behind some of the most landmark Chinese language films that are still well remembered and applauded today. These films have influenced filmmakers inside and outside the region and will always remain an important reference."

Hong Kong's chief executive, CY Leung, offered a public tribute to the local press: "Sir Run Run was a legend in the media and the film industry and a renowned philanthropist. Year after year, he made countless donations to Hong Kong, the Mainland and many parts of the world for the benefit of education, scientific and technological research, medical and social welfare services, as well as culture and art.??     

"His extraordinary dedication and competence earned him great respect in the community. The government and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Sir Run Run and extend our deepest condolences to his family," Leung said.

Patrick Brzeski and Elaine Lu contributed to this report.