Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Life of Sir Run Run Shaw

One night I was doing some random movie research, one thing led to another and somehow I ended up reading up on the life of Sir Run Run Shaw.

I'm a big fan of kung fu flicks, and those who love kung fu have to know about the Shaw Brothers Studios. You may remember it as the Chinese logo that showed up before Kill Bill starts.

Shaw Brothers studios is responsible most notably for all the great kung fu flicks out of Hong Kong from the 60's and 70's, and is headed by two men, Sir Run Run Shaw and his brother Dr. Runme Shaw. Both lead some amazing lives, but I'm gonna talk about Sir Run Run Shaw(yes that's really his name, get over it).

He was born in 1907, no one knows the date or month. And I might as well say this now, yes, he's still alive and kicking.

In the 1920's at the age of 19, he and his brother Runme traveled to Singapore and created a chain of cinemas still running to this day.

In the 1950's or so he and his brother create the famous Shaw Brothers Studios, which was the biggest power in movie making in Hong Kong through the 60's and 70's. His impact just here alone would have him marked in cinematic history forever.

Unfortunately he made two big mistakes, the first was passing on a young kid known as Bruce Lee, the second was missing out on Jackie Chan eight years later.

As a result, in the 1980's he focused on television, and created TVB, which is the biggest fucking channel for Chinese programming. Hell, my folks, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, 18th uncle twice removed, all living here in the states all watch that channel. That's a Hong Kong channel, not an American channel, or even something like BBC America. Huge.

In 1974 he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1977.

He is a member of the way exclusive, way historic London Gentleman's Club White's, whose former members include so much European royalty from the 1600's till now that it boggles the mind.

Lest you think his impact never reached the States, without him a little movie called Blade Runner would not exist. Yeah, you're welcome planet earth.

His wife died at the very full age of 85 in 1987. In 1997, at 90 fucking years old, he traveled to Las Vegas to remarry.

In 2004, at the age of 97 he created The Shaw Prize which is known as the Nobel Prize of the East. The award is to scientists in the field of Astronomy, mathematics, and life and medical science and is for $1,000,000. That's US currency, not HK currency.

Literally less than 4 months ago, at the age of 104, he has finally decided to retire. Let me spell that out, ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR YEARS OLD, AND HE IS BARELY RETIRING.

He has donated hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars to charity and has a net worth of $3.5 billion.

If that isn't a very full life, then I just don't know what is.

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