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Joan Chen

Real name: Chong Chen
Birthdate: April 26, 1961
Status: Married
Partner: Peter Hui

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Joan Chen Chong (Traditional Chinese: 陳冲; Simplified Chinese: 陈冲; Mandarin Pinyin: Chén Chōng; Cantonese: 陳沖/Chan Chung; Cantonese IPA: ; Jyutping: can4 cung1; Yale: chan4 chung1) (born as Chen Chong on April 26, 1961, in Shanghai, China) is a Chinese American actress, film director, screenwriter and film producer, best known for her roles in The Last Emperor, Twin Peaks, Red Rose, White Rose, Saving Face, and for directing the feature film Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl.

Born into a family of doctors (her grandparents were educated at Oxford and her parents were trained at Harvard), Chen Chong grew up during the Cultural Revolution. At age 14, Chen was discovered on the school rifle range by Mao Zedong's wife Jiang Qing, as she was excelling at marksmanship. This led her to be selected for the Actors' Training Program by the Shanghai Film Studio in 1975, where she was discovered by veteran director Xie Jin who chose her to star in his 1977 film Youth ('春, Qīngchūn) as a deaf mute whose senses are restored by an Army medical team. She soon enrolled in the prestigious Shanghai Institute of Foreign Languages, at age 17 (one year before one could go), where she majored in English.

Chen Chong first became famous in China for her performance in Zhang Zheng's Little Flower (小花) in 1979 for which she won the Hundred Flowers Award (百花), in which she played a revolutionary's daughter in pre-Maoist China, who falls in love with the wounded soldier whom she and her mother care for. Little Flower was her second film and Chen soon hit the status of China's most loved actress, which earned her to be dubbed "the Elizabeth Taylor of China" by Time magazine, for having achieved stardom while still a teenager. In addition, Chen is famous in China for her role in the 1979 film Hearts for the Motherland (海外赤子) (aka Overseas Compatriots or A Loyal Overseas Chinese Family), which depicts an overseas Chinese family that returns to China from southeast Asia out of their patriotic feelings but encounter political troubles during the Cultural Revolution. The songs, I Love You, China (我爱你中国) and High Flies the Petrel, sung by Chen's character, are perennial favorites in China.

At age twenty, Chen moved to the United States where she studied filmmaking at California State University, Northridge. In 1989, she became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Chen will appear in 7 films whose release is scheduled for 2007 and 2008: Singapore film The Leap Years (based upon a novel by Catherine Lim and starring Wong Li-Lin, Ananda Everingham and Qi Yuwu), Australian film The Home Song Stories (directed by Tony Ayres, again co-starring Qi Yuwu), American films Michael Almereyda's Tonight at Noon (along with Ethan Hawke and Rutger Hauer) and All God's Children Can Dance (opposite Tzi Ma), Chinese film Jiang Wen's The Sun Also Rises (opposite Jaycee Chan and Anthony Wong Chau-Sang), and Chinese American film Ang Lee's Lust, Caution (along with Tony Leung Chiu-Wai).

Chen married her second husband, cardiologist Peter Hui, on January 18, 1992. She was formerly married to actor Jimmy Lau from 1985 to 1990. Joan and her current husband have 2 daughters and live in San Francisco, but spend part of every year in Shanghai, China with Joan's family, so their daughters can be familiar with Chinese culture.


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