HONG KONG — Pioneering Hong Kong movie producer Run Run Shaw, whose studio popularized the kung fu genre that influenced Quentin Tarantino and other Hollywood directors, died Tuesday.
Shaw died peacefully at age 107, according to a statement from Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB), which he helped found in 1967. No cause of death was given.
His Shaw Brothers Studios, once among the world’s largest, helped launch the careers of powerhouses including director John Woo and churned out nearly 1,000 movies. He also produced a handful of U.S. films, including 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner and 1979 disaster thriller Meteor.His television empire, which remains a dominant force in Hong Kong, nurtured actors that later rose to fame, such as Chow Yun-fat. Wong Kar-wai, the director behind critically acclaimed art-house movies like Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love, got his start through a TVB training course and worked at the station briefly as a production assistant.
Ironically, one actor who slipped through Shaw’s grasp, Bruce Lee, went on to become the world’s biggest kung fu star.
Shaw (pronounced Shao in Mandarin) led TVB until retiring as chairman in December 2011 at the age of 104. He is survived by his second wife and four children from his first marriage.
Shaw was born near Shanghai to a wealthy textile merchant. One of his six siblings, elder brother Runme Shaw, set up a silent film studio, Unique Film Production Co. Shaw and a third brother, Runje, went to Singapore in 1923 to market films to southeast Asia’s Chinese community and eventually opened 139 movie theatres across the region.