Veteran actor WU Ma passed away from lung cancer this morning in Hong Kong, according to local media reports. He was 71 years old.
Wu – whose real name is Fong Hong-yuen — joined Shaw Brothers Studios in 1963 as a contract actor. In addition to acting, he also served as an assistant director on several films by CHANG Cheh.
He made his directorial debut in 1970 with Wrath of the Sword (1970) and spent most of the decade working as a director – including several productions credited as co-directed with Chang.
In the 1980's, Wu shifted his focus back to acting, becoming a familiar face to audiences in the modern classics Project A (1983), Mr. Vampire (1985) and Peking Opera Blues (1986).
His most famous role came in A Chinese Ghost Story (1987), playing a rapping, ghost-catching Taoist priest. Wu received one of his three Hong Kong Film Awards nominations for Best Supporting Actor in the role.
Wu remained a prolific character actor in recent years with supporting roles in 14 Blades (2010) (pictured), White Vengeance (2011), My Own Swordsman (2011) and I Love Hong Kong (2011).
His final role is believed to be in the forthcoming action film Fighting, starring LU Yi and Peter HO.
Over his nearly five decade-long career, Wu has directed 49 films and acted in over 240 films.
WU, Ma (Fong Hong-yuen)
Born: 8/18/1942, Tianjin, China
Died: 2/4/2014, Hong Kong, China
Ma Wu’s western – actor:
Shanghai Express – 1986 (imprisoned security officer)