One of the most instantly recognizable faces in Asia, Chow Yun-Fat is an actor of phenomenal renown and popularity. An icon of the action genre thanks to his numerous collaborations with Hong Kong directors John Woo and Ringo Lam, Chow gained fame playing the killer with a soul (and two large guns) in such films as Woo's classic A Better Tomorrow, and in doing so, inspired new trends in action filmmaking. However, although he is best known on the international level for his work in action films, Chow has also acted in films of almost every conceivable genre, proving himself equally adept in melodramas, romances, and comedies alike.
Born May 18, 1955, on Lamma, a small island off of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor, Chow got his start as a professional actor while still in his teens. Chow's first break came in 1973, when he enrolled in Hong Kong TV station TVB's training program for young actors performing in a number of soap operas. In the early '80s, he would star in the station's popular series Shanghai Beach, earning lasting fame as the ultra-cool gangster Hui Man-Keung.