Hong Kong media mogul Sir Run Run Shaw (邵逸夫) died at age 106 on Tuesday, January 7, 2014. The founder of Shaw Brothers film studios and TVB died peacefully in his home in Hong Kong. He is survived by his second wife, Mona Fong (方逸華), two sons and two daughters from his first wife, and 20 grand and great-grandchildren.
Born in 1907 in Shanghai, Sir Run Run was the sixth of seven children, helping him earn his nickname, “Uncle Six”. Despite his wealthy family background, Sir Run Run believed in working hard for success. At the age of 19, he joined his brother’s film distribution business and honed his skills in film editing, cinematography, script writing, and directing. In 1926, he co-founded Shaw Brothers, which released blockbuster martial arts films that were highly popular with western audiences. By the end of the 20th century, the studio produced more than 1,000 films, earning Sir Run Run the honor as the most influential man in the Chinese film industry.
The TVB Empire
Sir Run Run’s influence in television proved to be even more expansive. He launched Hong Kong’s largest free-to-air television station, TVB, in 1967. For three decades, Sir Run Run was always at the forefront of his empire, from organizing the first Miss Hong Kong pageant in 1973 to the station’s charitable shows.
From the 1970s to the 2000s, TVB was a powerhouse that churned out family dramas that appealed to both local and international Chinese viewers. TVB produced many talents, including Chow Yun Fat (周潤發), Tony Leung Chiu Wai (梁朝偉), Stephen Chow (周星馳), and Andy Lau (劉德華), who went on to find greater success in their film careers.
An Active Philanthropist
As one of Hong Kong’s wealthiest individuals, Sir Run Run was a philanthropist who had a passion for education. He set up two funds to develop education research, medical benefits, arts and culture. He conferred honorary degrees by universities in 1974 and 1977, and received the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1974 and was knighted in 1977. In 1998, he received the Grand Bauhinia Medal from the Hong Kong government for his service as the Hong Kong Affairs Adviser during the Transition Period when Hong Kong was handed back to China. In 2007, he was awarded China’s highest recognition, the China Charity Honorary Life Award for his philanthropy.
In 2004, Sir Run Run set up the Shaw Prize, awarding scientists who made achievements in the areas of astronomy, mathematics, life and medical sciences. The Shaw Prize is also widely known as the Nobel Prize of the East.
TVB Executive Chairman Norman Leung (梁乃鵬) said the entire company is mourning Sir Run Run’s death and that “TVB’s success today is only possible with Sir his wise leadership”. The funeral will take place when his family and friends arrive from overseas. Meanwhile, Sir Run Run’s body has been sent to the United Christian Hospital in Kwun Tong. Details about the public memorial service will be announced at a later date.
This article is written by Karen for JayneStars.com.