Oscar Leung’s Road to Stardom

It is somewhat inaccurate to call Oscar Leung (梁烈唯), the 33-year-old sharpshooting star of Tiger Cubs <飛虎>, a newcomer. Oscar has been in the industry for nearly 13 years and has acted in more than 60 films and television dramas. In the past, people would acknowledge Oscar as that “bad student #1,” “addict #2,” or “gangster #3,” but now people are beginning to see him as L’Escargot’s <缺宅男女> “Kwan Yi Gor,” Tiger Cubs’ “Chong Cheuk Yuen,” and most importantly, people now recognize him as the talented actor, Oscar Leung.

Oscar Leung, the “Tiny” Star

At only 19 years old, Oscar debuted in the film industry as the lead character in the crime film, The Young Ones <監獄風雲之少年犯> in 1999. With such a prominent role as his debut, Oscar expected himself to eventually become a big movie star like Andy Lau (劉德華) and Aaron Kwok (郭富城). However, the entertainment industry was not as easy to break through as he had originally thought.

“Thinking back, no one even knew who I was in my first few years of acting in movies! I did not gain recognition until I acted in TVB’s Shine on You <青出於藍>. That is the power of television! However, my career faltered slightly afterwards, and I played the same small roles over and over again. A lot of people recognized me, but they did not know my name.”

Oscar is good friends with Chilam Cheung (張智霖) and his wife, Anita Yuen (袁詠儀). The trio is often caught eating out together, and the paparazzi would label Oscar as the “tiny star” who “sticks to” the Cheung family. Oscar sighed, “I believe that many do see me that way. When I was younger, I would be upset at these reports. Now, I have nothing to be upset about. Of course, some of my friends are definitely more popular and richer than me. Chilam and I have been friends for a long time, and he never thought of me that way. None of my friends do!”

The paparazzi also claimed that Oscar had to financially rely on his girlfriend, Tina, who had to pay for their dinner dates on several occasions. Oscar laughed, “What is wrong with that? We’ve been dating for nearly 10 years! I was not born into a rich family, nor do I have the ability to earn a lot of money. Normal couples would support and endure hardships with each other. There would be times when she would pay and times when I would pay!”

Living Off Rice Noodles

Oscar stated that his financial struggles were the hardest experiences he had to deal with since debut. The actor mused, “My bank account often read zeros. When I was still doing movies, I could sometimes earn up to six figures, and once I get my salary I would spend it all. Now that I’m in TVB, I can’t do that anymore. Everyone knows how poor TVB’s salary is. My dad would also laugh at me and say, ‘Your salary is only slightly higher than the foreign domestic helpers!’”

Soon after signing with TVB, Oscar moved out of his home and lived with his girlfriend, Tina, in Stanley. On payday, Oscar would immediately go to the supermarket to buy a month’s worth of rice noodles. Sometimes, he would buy some refrigerated steamed dumplings when he found good deals at the market. Vegetables that do not rot quickly, such as cabbage, were also included in his diet. When Oscar became fed up with eating rice noodles all day, he would spend about $15 HKD to buy four cocktail buns – one for lunch and another for dinner – and save the last two for the next day.

Oscar admitted that he considered leaving the industry after filming 2007’s The Green Grass of Home <緣來自有機>. “At the time, I was the crew’s laughing stock due to my heavy ‘lazy accent.’ I was beginning to feel that I didn’t belong here anymore, so I got a friend to teach me how to become a DJ. I actually learned quite a lot as a DJ!”

Showering at the Gym 

Oscar’s career was revived again after appearing in the 2008 TVB sports drama, Your Class or Mine <尖子攻略>. “I never knew that my role as a delinquent student in Your Class or Mine would bring me back to the industry!” exclaimed Oscar. “I was nominated for ‘Most Improved’ and ‘Best Supporting’ Awards at the TVB Anniversary. The company even asked me to sign as a managed artist!”

While filming Your Class or Mine, Oscar was introduced to Sun Hei SC’s soccer team, and occasionally participated in the team’s sports events. Oscar said, “I joined Sun He’s B team, and met Alan Tam (譚詠麟). He told me, ‘You’re too skinny to be a striker! When someone crashes into you, you’ll fall down for sure! How can you be in the industry? The people in this industry should have an even stronger will to fight back!’ After he told me that, I decided to go to the gym!”

Oscar signed up for a gym membership at the South China Athletic Association. For the next few years, Oscar spent his leisure time training at the gym. “It was amazing! The gym had newspapers, magazines, TV, air conditioning, and bathrooms. One time, the shower at home broke, so I spent a few weeks showering in the gym instead! I didn’t even need to buy toilet paper for the longest time!”

Oscar’s shirt size went from size 44 to size 46 within a few years. “Alan Tam was very impressed with my appearance and he told me to keep up with this shape! I had to sacrifice many other things in order to pay for my gym membership, but it was all worth it.”

Oscar also revealed that it was his muscular figure that won him his best known role to-date in Tiger Cubs, “I originally wanted the producer to cast me in a random villain role, but once he saw my figure, he told me, ‘What? No! You’re so fit! You should be a SDU officer!’”

Bringing His Family Back Home

In 2002, Oscar’s father filed for bankruptcy due to his failed businesses. Oscar’s older brother soon followed in 2007, after being sued by the bank for his unpaid debts. “The bank convinced my brother to sign a document, which required him to be responsible for all of the liabilities of my father’s house! My brother had to pay over $1 million HKD of debt in three months!”

From 2009 to 2010, Oscar accepted as many job offers as he could. “I was willing to do everything. I accepted low-paying jobs, MC jobs, and filmed dramas nonstop! I was willing to do any kind of character, even if my character only shows up in one episode or one shot!”

Oscar continued, “My parents moved into a small flat in Yuen Long. The flat was separated into three different residential houses, and my parents lived in the middle. There was only one window. There was no room to put a sofa or a TV, and the dining table had to be in another really small room. I felt very guilty – my parents sacrificed so much to raise us, and yet they had to live in such a small place while I lived comfortably in Stanley. One night, I said to them, ‘I can’t have you guys live here anymore!’ I told them to give me a year’s time to find them another place to live. I remember that night very well. My mom and I cried so hard… it’s hard to explain that feeling. All I can say is that it was heart wrenching!”

A year later, during the filming of Tiger Cubs, Oscar finally was able to afford a larger place for his parents to stay. “I used all my money to pay for the flat’s deposit and paid half a year of rent in advance. When my mom found out, she was furious with my reckless decision, but I told her that I would not have rented this place if I could not afford it.

“I was actually really scared! What should I do half a year later? My salary simply could not cover the rent costs! The only thing I could do is to accept more filming offers. It happened before – there was one month in which I did not have enough to pay for the rent. I originally planned to ask someone to help me out with the costs, but then I decided to check my account to see if I was paid for any of my outside jobs… and there it was! They paid me! I felt blessed by the heavens. I was really touched!”

Oscar’s all-encompassing enthusiasm and devotion to his family is inspiring. After years of financial struggle, Oscar has now finally seen the light of day. “All I want right now is to take care of my family and my girlfriend. My parents are aging, and I cannot be as lazy as I was before. Now that my role in Tiger Cubs has become a huge hit, I want to use this chance to work even harder! I want to let that bank know that they may have gotten rid of my father and brother, but the Leung family still has me. We will not be defeated so easily!”

Source: East Week #468 via ihktv.com

This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.

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  1. Poverty develops a stronger character, sculpting Oscar into an individual with a rich personality.

    If life were easier for Oscar, maybe he would not be as good an actor?

    1. Probably. Good actors are those who suffered but great ones are those who observes.

  2. I loved him in SDU and pretty much everything he’s been in lately. He’s a star I’m loving right now.

    Love his body too. It’s not too big like Him Law. Perfect size actually.

  3. I used to not like him for some reason. But tiger cubs and after reading this I really don’t mine seeing him more on screen. Wish you succeed and make more so you can take care your family.

    1. i didn’t used to like him neither. he seemed quite cocky (which he readily admits he was) and his roles were not likeable. but i’ve changed my opinion of him since l’escargot. and now, after tiger cubs, i actually like him very much.

  4. aww poor Oscar. He’s a good actor even in small roles. I hope because of what he went through and with his gf through thick and thin, he wont be like other actors who cheat and all those bad news.

  5. Oscar has grown so much. I’m glad he’s finally getting recognized. I like him in “Tiger Cubs.” I know he’ll work harder now because opportunities don’t come too often. Hope he’ll win an award because it means a raise and more job offerings.

  6. I am happy for Oscar that finally getting recognized. He’s a very good actor.
    I like to see his well built body too. : >
    Keep it up Oscar.

  7. I admit that it was due to Tiger Cubs that I have started to fall for Oscar Leung. I have always noticed him in his previous dramas as I thought he was quite a good, natural actor, but certainly for the reasons that I love him now.

    I am so glad that things has worked out for him and that hardship has made him a better person, a more filial son.

    I only hope that good things and more job opportunities go his way.

    P.S I thought his girlfriend’s name is Michelle (Chen)?

  8. This is definitely Oscar’s year. His L’Escargot role seemed to get him hired for a lot of outside events and Tiger Cubs helped continue his momentum. I’m really rooting for him to get the Most Improved award this year.

    1. It seems like TVB is paving the way for Him Law. I don’t think Oscar had any other series before the awards. =/

      1. He has The Confidant which is an anniversary series! He has a pretty big role in there too since he’ll be playing emperor.

  9. For a footballer, he is the right size as a striker. BEcause being slim and small sized means he can run faster and between bigger players.

    As for OScar winning Most Improved, I hope not. 13 years in the industry and now he is most improved? So his 13 years he sucked? Or maybe renamed Most Improved to Most Improved in Popularity. For me he should win best supporting and TVB should and must make such a category. Most improved should be limited to those in the industry for 5 years or less.

    1. ““My bank account often read zeros. When I was still doing movies, I could sometimes earn up to six figures, and once I get my salary I would spend it all. Now that I’m in TVB, I can’t do that anymore. Everyone knows how poor TVB’s salary is. My dad would also laugh at me and say, ‘Your salary is only slightly higher than the foreign domestic helpers!’””

      Sigh. Which is why he must nurture other avenues like ads, businesses, etc.

      1. Raymond Wong won Most Improved in 2009 after being in the industry for uh…… 13 years. Raymond started in 1997, won in 2010. But I guess Raymond is different since he jumped to TVB in 2007(?) and won in 2010… so it’s just 3 years.
        Sigh. I don’t know. Oscar. Just let him win something!!!

  10. Oscar is such a lovable person and his acting has definitely come a long way from when he first debuted. I love watching him in TC and it was because of this series that I really started to take note of him. Sure he was good in his other roles but this role in TC has definitely propelled him to another level. Keep up the great work and hope to see him with an award soon.

  11. omg love hm evn more… wat a great man..hardships make u a better man.ths is one man deservng of praise…

  12. there’s also the my favorite character award. maybe oscar can win that! i’m definitely rooting for him to win something. even though the awards shows are really just a game of politics within tvb, i want oscar to be able to feel that his 13 years of hard work wasn’t wasted. plus, it’ll help him get better pay/more endorsements!

  13. Good for him!! The hard work paid off. He’s an actor we should keep an eye out on. Although he doesn’t have the “main star” quality (tall, handsome), he can definitely play a major supporting character.

  14. Yeah, Oscar a potential good actor, humerous & funny love him too.

  15. I love Oscar. I really hope he wins an award and gets more major roles in future dramas.

  16. He has grown a lot as an actor this year…everyone knows him as a “ah yuen” or “kwan yee gor” He will definetely get more attention in the future! Hope he gets paired up with Mandy Wong again!

  17. Proud of u Oscare and I hope TVB treasure u and made u lead in no time. Oscare is talented and good looking.

  18. Keep it up Oscar. He should win an Oscar with that dedication n hardworking. I always knew he’s a good actor but tvb loves to use the same people over and over again. They should let others shine. From this interview he’s very true to heart. He’s not fake at all. He doesn’t mind telling his stories. It’s funny because yesterday I was thinking that the high school drop outs gets a lot of money even more than the college grads. Or even college dropouts. They suffer n go through so much to become who they are. I wish him all the best of luck. Since everyone said tiger…is good I’ll watch it.

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