Michelle Yeoh was born in 1963 in Ipoh, Malaysia. As a young girl she studied ballet and seemed to be headed for a career in dance, but a spinal injury ended her dance career. She continued to study choreography.
In 1983, she won the Miss Malaysia beauty pageant, then went on to represent Malaysia at the Queen of the Pacific 1983 beauty pageant which she also won. This moved her on to the 1983 Miss World pageant, which she did not win.
She next appeared in a television commercial with Jackie Chan - foreshadowing events to come - and this brought her to the attention of a fledgling Hong Kong film production company, D-and-B Films - who cast her in the Sammo Hung directed Owl vs Bobbo (1984), and followed it with roles for Yeoh in Yes, Madam (1985); Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars (1985) ; In the Line of Duty (1986); Magnificent Warriors (1987); and Easy Money (1987). After these films - in which D-and-B Films had Yeo credited as Michelle Khan - Yeoh married D-and-B honcho Dickson Poon and retired from acting.
Here she is in the trailer for Magnificent Warriors - check out her moves!
When Yeoh and Poon divorced in 1992, Yeoh returned to acting. She teamed with Jackie Chan in 1992 for the incredibly popular Police Story 3: Super Cop (released here as Supercop in 1996) - with both doing an amazing amount of stunt work for the film - and followed it with 6 (!) movies in 1993, then continued making two or three movies a year through the 1990's. Yeoh also ditched the Khan name and moved back to her own moniker.
Here's some of her fights and action from Supercop:
She first came on to my radar in a big way when she was hired as the Bond girl for Tomorrow Never Dies in 1997. I thought she was marvelous as Wai Lin - a Chinese secret agent initially reluctant to team up with Pierce Brosnan's James Bond - and the movie is my favorite of Brosnan's four 007 outings.
Here's the trailer for Tomorrow Never Dies - with some choice Yeoh moments along the way...
Her second film after TND propelled Michelle Yeoh much higher in her fame - Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. While not anything particularly special in terms of Hong Kong action cinema - it really caught on with audiences worldwide - earning massive amounts of money and several nominations and awards, including a BAFTA for Best Actress for Michelle Yeoh!
Michelle Yeoh has continued to act in the 21st century, though more in dramas and fewer action films - but who knows what else she might get up to before age slows her down completely? Definitely check out some of her 80's and 90's movies - action junkies will find a very satisfying fix in Michelle Yeoh!
Until next post - the last for this A-Z Challenge - you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!