Birthplace: British Hong Kong
Maggie Cheung Man-yuk (Chinese: 張曼玉; born 20 September 1964) is an actress from Hong Kong. Raised in Britain and Hong Kong, she has over 80 films to her credit since starting her career in 1983. Some of her most commercially successful works were in the action genre, but Cheung once said in an interview that of all the work she has done, the films that really meant something to her are Song of Exile, Center Stage, Comrades: Almost a Love Story and In the Mood for Love. As Emily Wang in Clean, her last starring role to date, she became the first Asian actress to win a prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Maggie Cheung was born in Hong Kong in 1964 to Shanghainese parents. She attended St. Paul's Convent School, where she began at the primary one level. Her family emigrated from Hong Kong to the United Kingdom when she was eight. She spent part of her childhood and adolescence in Bromley, Kent, England. She returned to Hong Kong at the age of 18 in 1982 for a vacation but ended up staying for modeling assignments and other commitments. She also shortly obtained a sales job at Lane Crawford department store.
In 1983, Cheung entered the Miss Hong Kong pageant and won the first runner-up and the Miss Photogenic award as well. She was a semi-finalist in the Miss World pageant the same year. After two years as a TV presenter, it led to a contract with TVB (the television arm of the Shaw Bros. Studio).
Cheung is a polyglot as a result of her upbringing in Hong Kong and England and ten years' stay in Paris. In Center Stage, Cheung performed in Cantonese, Mandarin and Shanghainese fluently, switching languages with ease. In Clean, she performed in fluent English, French and Cantonese.
Soon after her debut, Cheung broke into the film industry, starring in vapid comedies. She caught the attention of Jackie Chan, who cast her in Police Story (1985) as May, his long-suffering girlfriend. The film was a huge hit and made Cheung a star overnight.
Despite her success, Cheung found herself typecast in the roles of comics or weak, clumsy women. Realizing this, Cheung wanted to break away by seeking more dramatic roles. She got this opportunity when Wong Kar-wai cast her in As Tears Go By (1988), her first of many collaborations with Wong. Cheung often cite the film as the piece that truly began her serious acting career, and she won critical praise for it. In 1989, she won Best Actress awards at the Golden Horse Award and Hong Kong Film Award for her work in Full Moon in New York and A Fishy Story respectively. In 1991, she became the first Chinese performer to win a Best Actress Award at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival for her work in Center Stage.
Cheung subsequently proved her versatility with roles in action films. Her performance in sci-fi martial arts smash hit The Heroic Trio (1992) and its' sequel Executioners (1993) impressed both critics and audiences with her martial arts skills. Also in a departure from her usual roles, Cheung played a beautiful and vicious femme fatale in New Dragon Gate Inn (1992).
After taking a break in 1994, Cheung returned to film Olivier Assayas' Irma Vep (1996), which helped her break into the international scene. That same year, she won further acclaim for her work in the romantic film Comrades: Almost a Love Story, in which she played one of a pair of lovers kept apart for ten years by fate and circumstance. The following year, she made her first English-language film in Wayne Wang's Chinese Box (1997). Cast as a mysterious young woman named Jean, Cheung held her own against the more internationally well-established Irons and Gong.
After her 1998 marriage with Olivier Assayas, Cheung stayed mainly in France. She returned to Hong Kong to film In the Mood for Love (2000), which won critical acclaim and a second Taiwanese Golden Horse award for Cheung. Thereafter, she starred in Zhang Yimou's Hero (2002) and Wong's 2046 (2004). She won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for her role as a mother who tries to kick her drug habit and reconcile with her long-lost son in Clean (2004).
Cheung was a jury member at the 1997 Berlin Film Festival, the 1999 Venice Film Festival, the 2004 Hawaii International Film Festival, the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, and the 2010 Marrakech International Film Festival. And for the first time in its history, the 59th Cannes Film Festival (2006) used a photographic image of a real actress on its poster — that of Cheung.
On 7 February 2007, The New York Times rated Maggie Cheung as one of the 22 Great Performers in 2006 for her Cannes winning role as Emily in Clean. After 25 years of making movies, she decided to retire from acting to pursue a career as a film composer. She had mentioned she would like to compose music and paint after having fulfilled her acting potential. Her most recent film appearance was as Mazu, Chinese goddess of the sea, in the film Ten Thousand Waves (2010) by British filmmaker and installation artist Isaac Julien.
As UK's Independent puts it, since her Cannes moment in 2004, Cheung "turned her back on film" and has shifted her focus to philanthropy, making music, and editing. In April 2010, Cheung was appointed as UNICEF's Ambassador to China. In July 2011, she was awarded a doctor honoris causa at the University of Edinburgh.
Cheung married French director Olivier Assayas in 1998. They divorced in 2001.
|Year||Chinese Title||English title||Notes|
|緣份||Behind the Yellow Line|
|1985||摩登仙履奇緣||Girl with the Diamond Slipper|
|聖誕奇遇結良緣||It's a Drink, It's a Bomb|
|開心鬼撞鬼||Happy Ghost 3|
|原振俠與衛斯理||The Seventh Curse|
|1987||七年之癢||Seven Years Itch||Cameo|
|精裝追女仔||The Romancing Star|
|A計劃續集||Project A Part II|
|用愛捉伊人||You Are My Destiny||Cameo|
|1988||應召女郎1988||Call Girl '88|
|愛的逃兵||Love Soldier of Fortune|
|旺角卡門||As Tears Go By|
|南北媽打||Mother vs. Mother|
|月亮星星太陽||Moon, Star, Sun|
|求愛敢死隊||How to Pick Girls Up!|
|警察故事續集||Police Story 2|
|肥貓流浪記||Beloved Son Of God|
|黃色故事||The Game They Call Sex|
|不脫襪的人||A Fishy Story|
|少女心||Hearts No Flowers|
|再見王老五||The Bachelor's Swan-Song|
|我要富貴||My Dear Son|
|求愛夜驚魂||In Between Loves|
|急凍奇俠||The Iceman Cometh|
|神勇雙妹嘜||Doubles Cause Troubles|
|1990||人在紐約||Full Moon in New York|
|三人新世界||Heart into Hearts|
|客途秋恨||Song of the Exile|
|紅場飛龍||The Dragon from Russia|
|阿飛正傳||Days of Being Wild|
|富貴吉祥||The Perfect Match|
|黑雪||Will of Iron|
|雙城故事||Alan & Eric - Between Hello & Goodbye|
|阮玲玉||Center Stage||aka Actress|
|1992||兩個女人，一個靚，一個唔靚||Too Happy for Words||Short film|
|家有喜事||All's Well, Ends Well|
|新龍門客棧||New Dragon Gate Inn|
|譁! 英雄||What a Hero!|
|警察故事3: 超級警察||Police Story 3: Supercop|
|三人做世界||Heart Against Hearts||Cameo|
|赤腳小子||The Bare-Footed Kid|
|東方三俠||The Heroic Trio|
|飛越謎情||Enigma of Love|
|東成西就||The Eagle Shooting Heroes|
|追男仔||Boys are Easy|
|東邪西毒||Ashes of Time|
|1996||甜蜜蜜||Comrades: Almost a Love Story|
|1997||宋家皇朝||The Soong Sisters|
|1999||爱在异乡的故事||Augustin, King of Kung-Fu|
|花樣年華||In the Mood for Love|
|2008||東邪西毒(終極版)||Ashes of Time Redux|
|2009||惡棍特工||Inglourious Basterds||deleted scene|
|2010||全城熱戀||Hot Summer Days||Cameo|
|Better Life||Short film|
|萬層浪||Ten Thousand Waves|
|Year||Original Title||English title|
|1984||畫出彩虹||Rainbow Round My Shoulder|
|新紮師兄||Police Cadet '84|
|1985||武林世家||The Fallen Family|
|拆擋拍擋||Zhe Dang Pai Dang|
|楊家將||The Yang's Saga|
|1989||Golden Horse Award||Best Actress||Full Moon in New York|
|1990||Best Supporting Actress||Red Dust|
|Hong Kong Film Awards||Best Actress||A Fishy Story|
|Torino International Festival of Young Cinema||Jury Special Prize||Farewell China|
|1991||Golden Horse Award||Best Actress||Center Stage|
|1992||Berlin International Film Festival|
|Chicago International Film Festival|
|1993||Hong Kong Film Awards|
|1996||Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards||Comrades: Almost a Love Story|
|1997||Hong Kong Film Awards|
|Asia-Pacific Film Festival|
|Golden Bauhinia Awards|
|Golden Horse Award|
|Hong Kong Film Awards||The Soong Sisters|
|2000||Golden Horse Award||In the Mood for Love|
|2001||Asian Film Critics Association Awards|
|Chinese Film Media Awards|
|Durban International Film Festival|
|Hong Kong Film Awards|
|SESC Film Festival||Best Foreign Actress|
|2003||Chinese Film Media Awards||Most Popular Actress||Hero|
|2004||Cannes Film Festival||Best Actress||Clean|
|Hawaii International Film Festival||Award for Achievement in Acting||N/A|
|2005||Montréal World Film Festival||Exceptional Contribution to Cinematographic Art||N/A|
|Asian American International Film Festival||Acting Achievement Award||N/A|
|2007||Shanghai International Film Festival||Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Cinema||N/A|