Legendary Hong Kong film producer Raymond Chow, who introduced martial art legends like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan to the world and "the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" in the big screen, is dead. He was 91.
He died on Friday, reports variety.com
He was also among the first to bring Hong Kong films to global attention through international partnerships and distribution.
He had a brief stint with "Voice of America" before leaving journalism for filmmaking when he was recruited by Shaw Brothers Studio in 1958, joining the company as the publicity chief and later became head of the production department.
Chow's Golden Harvest was best known for discovering Lee, making him an international kung fu star and cultural icon who is still influential today.
Their first film, "The Big Boss", made Lee an instant legend, setting new box office records at the time. It was then followed by "Fist of Fury" and "The Way of the Dragon".
Chan also found initial fame from filming the Kung Fu comedies "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow" and "Drunken Master", produced by Golden Harvest. The movies became a new sub-genre of Kung Fu movies.
Unlike many Hong Kong filmmakers, Chow was keen on venturing into the international market, particularly Hollywood. One of his most notable successes was "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" in 1990, a screen adaptation of the comic series of the same name.
But Golden Harvest suffered great financial losses during the Asian financial crisis in 1998, the same year when Chow's partner, Ho, died. Chow sold the company to China's Wu Kebo in 2007 and it changed its name to Orange Sky Golden Harvest after merging with a mainland Chinese partner.
"Chow set up Golden Harvest in the 1970s. The company has since produced a good number of movie classics, helped nurture a pool of Hong Kong talents, and brought them to the international stage. We are most grateful for his great contribution to the development of the Hong Kong film industry," said Edward Yau, Hong Kong's secretary for commerce and economic development.
(With inputs from agencies.)