What Is Chow Yun-fat’s Net Worth?
Chow Yun-fat is a Hong Kong actor who has a net worth of $200 million. He is best known in Asia for working with John Woo in genre films like “A Better Tomorrow” (1986), “Hard Boiled” (1992), and “The Killer” (1989), and he is known in the West for his roles in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000) and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (2007). Chow became a household name in Hong Kong following his role in the hit 1980 series “The Bund.”
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He has more than 110 acting credits to his name, including the films “Hong Kong 1941” (1984), “City on Fire” (1987), “The Replacement Killers” (1998), “Anna and the King” (1999), “Bulletproof Monk” (2003), and “Confucius” (2010) and the television series “Hotel” (1976), “A House Is Not a Home” (1977), “The Giants” (1978), “Over the Rainbow” (1979), and “The Brothers” (1980). Yun-fat is credited as a writer on the films “All About Ah-Long” (1989) and “Peace Hotel” (1995), and in 2008, he published a book of his photos that was sold at Louis Vuitton stores, with proceeds going to victims of the Sichuan earthquake.
Chow Yun-fat was born on May 18, 1955, on Lamma Island, Hong Kong. His father, Chow Yung-Wan, worked on a Shell Oil tanker, and his mother, Chan Lai-fong, was a vegetable farmer as well as a cleaning lady. The family lived in a farming community, and their house did not have electricity. Every morning, Chow woke up at dawn and helped his mother sell Hakka tea-pudding and herbal jelly. He spent his afternoons working in the fields. When Yun-fat was 10 years old, the family moved to Kowloon. Chow dropped out of school at age 17 to help support his family, and he found work as a postman, taxi driver, bellboy, and camera salesman. He later attended City University of Hong Kong, and after college, he was accepted to local TV station TVB as an actor trainee. Yun-fat entered into a three-year contract with TVB, and in 1975, he appeared on television in “Chinese Folklore: God of River,” “Chinese Folklore: Dream of the Red Chamber,” “Little Women,” “Broken Pieces,” and “Beautiful Ladies.”
Chow signed an exclusive acting contract with Goldig Films and made his movie debut in 1976, appearing in “The Hunter, the Butterfly and the Crocodile,” “Reincarnation,” and “Massage Girls.” In 1980, he starred as Hui Man-Keung on the TVB series “The Bund,” which became a hit all over Asia. Though Yun-fat had become a successful television actor, his goal was to find success in films, and it came when he starred in 1986’s “A Better Tomorrow,” which was directed by John Woo. The movie was ranked #2 on the Hong Kong Film Awards’ “Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures” list, and Chow reprised the role of Mark ‘Gor’ Lee in 1987’s “A Better Tomorrow II” and 1989’s “A Better Tomorrow 3.” In the late ’80s, he also appeared in the films “City on Fire” (1987), “Scared Stiff” (1987), “An Autumn’s Tale” (1987), “Prison on Fire” (1987), “The Eighth Happiness” (1988), and “Wild Search” (1989). In 1989, Yun-fat played Ko Chun in “God of Gamblers,” which broke Hong Kong’s box office record with a gross of HK$37,058,686.
In 1995, the “Los Angeles Times” referred to Chow as “the coolest actor in the world,” and around this time, he moved to Hollywood. In 1998, he starred in “The Replacement Killers” alongside Mira Sorvino, then he appeared in 1999’s “The Corruptor” and “Anna and the King.” In 2000, Yun-fat starred as Li Mu-Bai in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” which grossed $213.5 million at the U.S. box office and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. He played the title role in 2003’s “Bulletproof Monk,” then he appeared in the Chinese romantic comedy “Waiting Alone” in 2004. Chow starred in 2006’s “Curse of the Golden Flower,” and in 2007, he played Captain Sao Feng in the Walt Disney Pictures blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” which brought in $960.9 million at the box office. When the film played in mainland China, Yun-fat’s part was omitted because the government censors believed that the character “vilified and humiliated” Chinese people. Chow played Muten Roshi in 2009’s “Dragonball Evolution,” and he starred as the title role in 2010’s “Confucius.” In 2012, he appeared in “The Assassins” and “The Last Tycoon,” followed by “From Vegas to Macau” (2014), “From Vegas to Macau II” (2015), and “From Vegas to Macau III” (2016). In 2018, he starred in the action film “Project Gutenberg,” which won a Hong Kong Film Award for Best Film and earned him a Best Actor nomination.
Yun-fat married actress Candice Yu in 1983, and they split up nine months later. He then wed Jasmine Tan on May 6, 1987, and sadly, they had a stillborn daughter in the early ’90s. Chow is the godfather of former child model Celine Ng. Though Yun-fat is extremely wealthy, he lives modestly and often uses public transportation. He owned the same Nokia phone for 17 years and didn’t upgrade to a smartphone until his Nokia phone stopped working. The Hong Kong website Jayne Stars reported that Chow only spends $800 HKD ($102 USD) each month, and he has said that he will leave his entire fortune to charity. Yun-fat told Jayne Stars in 2018, “My dream is to be a happy and normal person. The hardest thing in life is not about how much money you earn, but how to keep a peaceful mindset and live the rest of your life in a simple and carefree manner.” Chow received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from City University of Hong Kong in 2001 and a Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa from Hong Kong Baptist University in 2021.
Awards and Nominations
Chow has been nominated for 19 Hong Kong Film Awards, winning Best Actor for “A Better Tomorrow” (1987), “City on Fire” (1988), and “All About Ah-Long” (1990). He was named Best Actor for “Hong Kong 1941” at the 1984 Asia-Pacific Film Festival, and he won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Actor for “Let the Bullets Fly” at the 2011 Asian Film Awards. Yun-fat earned Golden Horse Film Festival awards for Best Leading Actor for “Hong Kong 1941” (1985) and “An Autumn’s Tale” (1987), and he won a Best Actor award for “Project Gutenberg” at the 2018 Chinese American Film Festival. He has received four Huading Award nominations, winning the 1978 Excellence Award – National Top 10 Film Actor in 2020, and in 2011, he earned a Huabiao Film Award for Outstanding Abroad Actor for “Confucius.”
In 1999, Chow received a Career Award from the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards, and in 2012, the Shanghai International Film Festival honored him for Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Cinema. Yun-fat has also earned nominations from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, Asian Film Critics Association Awards, Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, China Film Director’s Guild Awards, Faro Island Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards, Hundred Flowers Awards, Iron Elephant Film Awards, and Macau International Movie Festival. Chow was made an Honorary Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 1999.
In 1995, Chow paid $40 million for a 5,000 square foot home in Tai Au Mun, Clearwater Bay, Hong Kong. Though he renovated the home, he never lived in it, and he put it on the market for $50 million in 2001.
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