Sunday, July 1, 2007

Angela Mao - Martial Arts Superstar

Angela Mao - Martial Arts Superstar
Angela Mao (born September 20, 1950 in Taiwan) is a martial arts film actress best known for the string of kung fu films in which she starred during the 1970s. She is also known as Mao Ying, Angela Mao Ying, and Mao Fu Ying.

She is the daughter of Mao Yung Kang, Peking Opera star, who escaped China to Taiwan in 1949. Angela was originally a Chinese opera actress before becoming an action film actress; at a young age she attended ballet classes before joining The Fu Shing Peking Opera in 1958.

Mao trained in hapkido and other martial arts at an early age . This would later help her achieve success in martial art movies. When she was 17, Huang Feng (an action movie director known for discovering Sammo Hung and Carter Wong) discovered her. Feng was looking for a young woman who knew martial arts to be the leading lady for his upcoming sword fight film, called Angry River.

With her experience in acting and martial arts, Angela quickly began taking leading roles in other action movies in Golden Harvest productions including Hapkido, Lady Whirlwind, and The Fate of Lee Khan (directed by the late King Hu). She was also successful in other movies such as The Association, The Himalayans and many others. Despite this her films were not been released in America and because of this she was unknown to the western movie audience. This would soon change in 1973.

Internationally, she found fame for her role as the doomed sister of Bruce Lee's character in 1973's Enter the Dragon. Although Bruce Lee died shortly after the production of the movie, Mao was able to train and develop a friendship with Lee. Although she was not able to go to his funeral because she was in Taipei at the time, buying her parents a house.

Following the incredible success to her short-lived role in 1973s Enter The Dragon many of her films began to be released in the west. Hapkido was the first to gain this wider audience. The film also starred Carter Wong, Sammo Hung, her real life teacher Hwang In-Shik and also Ji Han Jae. Also working on Hapkido were an uncredited 'bootmaster' Leung Siu-Lung who was helping Sammo with the fight choreography and a stuntman/actor who also worked as stuntman in Enter the Dragon, known today as Jackie Chan.

Angela Mao continued with string a of successful movies through the seventies. Angela along side with actor Carter Wong became a bit of a kung fu duo act in a series of kung fu classic movies. One of most popular movies made by them was When Taekwondo Strikes which was also the only film ever made by Supreme Master Jhoon Rhee. Mao spent time training with Rhee during the making of this movie. After her Golden Harvest contract expired, she returned to Taiwan and for the next five years she continued to make kung fu movies.

Mao married her long time boyfriend, Kelly Lau before retiring from the movie industry.

Mao has been presented with an 'honorary' second degree black belt in Hapkido in recognition of her work in promoting Hapkido technique to the world and for being the art's most honorable, heroic and beautiful female representative.

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