Ng Man-tat, the star Shaolin Soccer and frequent collaborator of Kung Fu Hustle filmmaker Stephen Chow, has died.
The iconic Hong Kong actor, accompanied by his wife and children, died peacefully on Saturday of liver cancer. He was 70.
Born in China’s Fujian province in 1951, Ng began his career with acting classes from Hong Kong’s TVB at 19 years old. Just years later he appeared Tit Lee’s 1975 comedy Gu huo lao xun chun, marking the vet’s first screen credit.
Upon garnering experience in a number of film and television titles throughout the 70s and 80s, Ng landed a recurring role in the adventure series The Legend of the Condor Heroes. The series, adapted from Louis Cha’s novel of the same name, saw Ng play Elder Peng.
In 1989, Ng first acted alongside Stephen Chow, who would soon become a frequent collaborator for “mo lei tau” films, a popular Hong Kong genre consisting of slapstick comedy. Chow and Ng, who became one of the leading directors of the genre, began their collaboration and appeared in a number of mo lei tau titles including both A Chinese Odyssey installments. They also acted together in Sixty Million Dollar Man, The God of Cookery and Chow’s King of Comedy.
Shaolin Soccer, however, became one of the most well-known of the Ng-Chow collaborations. Directed by Chow, the 2001 comedy film starred Ng as Golden Leg Fung, a jaded soccer star who helps bring an unlikely troupe of powerful outsiders, named Team Shaolin, to glory.
The comedy sports film took home the best picture and best director awards at both the 2002 Golden Bauhinia Awards and the Hong Kong Film Awards.
More of Ng’s credits include The Hospital, Overheard 3, Time is Money and Oolong Courtyard: KungFu School. He last appeared in Stanley Tong’s Rising Shaolin: The Protector.
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