Lam Ching Ying

林正英 Master For All Seasons

Lam Ching Ying

Lam Ching Ying (林正英) was a Chinese actor, stuntman, action director and director. He was born in Hong Kong on December 27th 1952, under his real name, Lam Gun Bo (林根寶).

As an actor, action choreographer, director, martial artist, and teacher he touched many people with his candour and uncompromising professionalism. He left behind a lasting cinematic legacy, which can be enjoyed and respected by generations all over the World.

Ching Ying passed away of liver cancer at the St. Theresa Hospital in Hong Kong on the 8th of November, at the age of 45.

Awards

1983  Hong Kong Film Awards
Nominated and won "Best Action Choreography" in Prodigal Son

1984  Hong Kong Film Awards 
Nominated and won  "Best Action Choreography" in Winners And Sinners

1986  Hong Kong Film Awards
Nominated for "Best Action Choreography" in My Lucky Stars

1986 Hong Kong Film Awards 
Nominated for "Best Supporting Actor" in Mr Vampire

His Life

Lam Ching Ying was born in Hong Kong on December 27th 1952. After an elementary school education lasting only two years he enrolled in the Peking Opera School of Madame Fan Fok Fa for a period of five years.

At the age of 17 Ching Ying began his carrier as a stuntman and an action choreographer at the famous Shaw Brothers Studio.

After a two year apprenticeship Ying came to the attention of the team at Golden Harvest Studio and he appeared in a supporting role in 1971's box office hit The Big Boss, starring Bruce Lee. Lee was very impressed with his martial artistry and technical knowledge, and promptly hired him as his personal assistant and co-action-director for Fist Of Fury. Ying also worked with Bruce as assistant-action-director on Enter The Dragon and was stunt double for actor Shek Khin, who played the villain.

After Bruce Lee's death, which greatly saddened him, he joined his good friend Sammo Hung, becoming a core member of his stunt team, Hung Ga Ban. Their friendship and professional respect deepened and they collaborated on classic films such as Enter The Fat Dragon, Warriors Two, The Magnificent Butcher. In the last Lam's fight with Yuen Biao demonstrates his expert skill in fighting with a fan and double knives. It is one of the movie's highlights.

In 1982 Ying won his first award for best action-direction for the matchless action-drama The Prodigal Son. Even today this film plays to full houses on festivals. Ching Ying stole the show as the effeminate, but lethal Leung Yee Tai. His Wing Chun style is precise, powerful, compelling and the audience's empathy for his character is always high.

The following year Winners And Sinners won the award for Best Action Choreography at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

In 1985 for Mr Vampire Lam created his most memorable character, the cool Taoist Priest. This role defined his screen image and brought broader recognition for him. The movie won 5 awards including Best Picture, Best Art Design and Best Cinematography. Ying missed out on the award for Best Supporting Actor. He irreversibly type-casted as the "World's Number-One High-Kicking Vampire-Buster" going on to reprise this role several times. Mr Vampire II and III, The Musical Vampire, Magic Cop, Vampire Vs Vampire etc. followed the first success.

In the following years his excessive talents were used in super-hits such as My Lucky Stars, Encounters Of The Spooky Kind, Millionaire's Express, Eastern Condors. As a respected teacher he often mentored other stars. Most famously he trained Michelle Yeoh, and turned the diva into a female action star.

In 1995 he was approached by Hong Kong media giant ATV to reprise his famous Taoist Priest role for a TV series called The Vampire Expert. The project received rave reviews, and The Vampire Expert II followed its' success.

Sadly Lam developed liver cancer. A quiet and private man, he chose not to reveal his illness to the public or even to his closest friends. Retiring from the public eye he sought seclusion at his sister's house, where he lived out his last weeks.

He passed away at the St. Theresa Hospital on the 8th of November at the age of 45.

On November 13th, the day of his funeral, 50 Buddhist monks officiated at a 3 hour prayer ceremony to honor his passing. His friends acted as pallbearers.

At his request he was cremated and his ashes flown to the United States, where they were buried with his favorite clothes, sunglasses, Priest robe and hat. His calligraphic tribute read: "One Smile Returns To The West".

As an actor, action choreographer, martial artist, and teacher he touched many people with his candor and uncompromising professionalism. He left behind a lasting cinematic legacy, which can be enjoyed and respected by generations all over the World.

 

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