Maggie Cheung

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Maggie Cheung
Maggie Cheung 2004 Cannes.jpg
Maggie Cheung 2004 in Cannes
Cheung Man-yuk Margaret

(1964-09-20) 20 September 1964 (age 58)
Alma materSt. Paul's Primary Catholic School, Happy Valley
St Edmund's School, Canterbury
University of Edinburgh
Years active1984–2004
(m. 1998; div. 2001)
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese張曼玉
Simplified Chinese张曼玉

Maggie Cheung Man-yuk (Chinese: 張曼玉; born 20 September 1964) is a Hong Kong former actress. Raised in Hong Kong and Britain, she started her career after placing second in 1983's Miss Hong Kong Pageant. She achieved critical success in the late 1980s and into the early 2000s, before taking a break from acting following her last starring role in 2004. She rarely makes public appearances except for fashion events and award ceremonies.

Cheung has won numerous accolades at home and abroad for her acting. She has won the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actress 5 times in the span of 11 years from 1990 to 2001, and holds the record for most wins in that category. She also holds the record for most wins for the Golden Horse Award for Best Leading Actress in Taiwan, having won 4 times. In the West, she has been awarded the Silver Bear for Best Actress at Berlin International Film Festival in 1992 and Best Actress at Cannes Film Festival in 2004. In 2004, she became the first Asian actress to be nominated for the French César Award for Best Actress.

Her most acclaimed performances include As Tears Go By, Center Stage, Comrades: Almost a Love Story, Green Snake, The Soong Sisters, Irma Vep, Hero and Clean. The Wong Kar-wai–directed In the Mood for Love (2000), in which she plays a cheongsam-wearing character opposite male lead Tony Leung, is a classic in both the film and fashion worlds.

Early life and education[edit]

Maggie Cheung was born in Hong Kong on 20 September 1964 to Shanghainese parents.[1] She attended St. Paul's Primary Catholic School in Happy Valley, where she began at the primary one level. Her family emigrated from Hong Kong to the United Kingdom when she was eight. She spent part of her childhood and adolescence in Bromley, London, England. She returned to Hong Kong at the age of 18 in 1982 for a vacation but ended up staying for modelling assignments and other commitments. She also briefly had a sales job at the Lane Crawford department store.[2]

In 1983, Cheung entered the Miss Hong Kong pageant and won the first runner-up and the Miss Photogenic award as well.[3] She was a semi-finalist in the Miss World pageant the same year.[4] After two years as a TV presenter, it led to a contract with TVB (the television arm of the Shaw Bros. Studio).[2]

Cheung is a polyglot as a result of her upbringing in Hong Kong and England and ten years' stay in Paris. In Center Stage, Cheung performed in Cantonese, Mandarin, and Shanghainese fluently, switching languages with ease. In Clean, she performed in fluent English, French, and Cantonese.


Soon after her debut, Cheung broke into the film industry, starring in comedies. She caught the attention of Jackie Chan, who cast her in Police Story (1985) as May, his long-suffering girlfriend. The film was a huge hit and made Cheung a star overnight.[5][6] TVB had also cast Barbara Yung and Kent Tong in a period drama, Kings of Ideas (橋王之王) but due to the death of Barbara Yung, the role was assigned to Cheung.

Despite her success, Cheung found herself typecast in the roles of comics or weak, clumsy women. Realizing this, Cheung wanted to break away by seeking more dramatic roles. She got this opportunity when Wong Kar-wai cast her in As Tears Go By (1988), her first of many collaborations with Wong.[5][6] Cheung often cites the film as the piece that truly began her serious acting career, and she won critical praise for it. In 1989, she won Best Actress awards at the Golden Horse Award and Hong Kong Film Award for her work in Full Moon in New York and A Fishy Story respectively.[6] In 1991, she became the first Chinese performer to win a Best Actress Award at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival for her work in Center Stage.[7]

Cheung subsequently proved her versatility with roles in action films. Her performance in the sci-fi martial arts smash hit The Heroic Trio (1992) and its sequel, Executioners (1993), impressed both critics and audiences with her martial arts skills.[5] Also in a departure from her usual roles, Cheung played a beautiful and vicious femme fatale in New Dragon Gate Inn (1992).[6]

After taking a break in 1994, Cheung returned to film Olivier Assayas' Irma Vep (1996), which helped her break into the international scene.[5] That same year, she won further acclaim for her work in the romantic film Comrades: Almost a Love Story, in which she played one of a pair of lovers kept apart for ten years by fate and circumstance. The following year, she made her first English-language film in Wayne Wang's Chinese Box (1997). Cast as a mysterious young woman named Jean, Cheung held her own alongside the more internationally well-established stars, Jeremy Irons and Gong Li.[6]

After her 1998 marriage with Olivier Assayas, Cheung stayed mainly in France. She returned to Hong Kong to film In the Mood for Love (2000), which won critical acclaim and a second Taiwanese Golden Horse award for Cheung.[2][5] Thereafter, she starred in Zhang Yimou's Hero (2002) and Wong's 2046 (2004).[5] She won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for her role as a mother who tries to kick her drug habit and reconcile with her long-lost son in Clean (2004).[8]

Cheung was a jury member at the 1997 Berlin Film Festival,[9] the 1999 Venice Film Festival, the 2004 Hawaii International Film Festival, the 2007 Cannes Film Festival,[10] and the 2010 Marrakech International Film Festival.[11] And for the first time in its history, the 59th Cannes Film Festival (2006) used a photographic image of a real actress on its poster – that of Cheung.

On 7 February 2007, The New York Times rated Cheung as one of the 22 Great Performers in 2006 for her Cannes winning role as Emily in Clean.[12] After 25 years of making movies, she decided to retire from acting to pursue a career as a film composer. She had mentioned she would like to compose music and paint after having fulfilled her acting potential.[13] Her last film appearance was as Mazu, Chinese goddess of the sea, in the film Ten Thousand Waves (2010) by British filmmaker and installation artist Isaac Julien.[14]

As UK's Independent puts it, since her Cannes moment in 2004, Cheung "turned her back on film"[13] and has shifted her focus to philanthropy, making music, and editing. In April 2010, Cheung was appointed as UNICEF's Ambassador to China.[15] In July 2011, she was awarded a doctor honoris causa at the University of Edinburgh.[16] Cheung retired from acting in 2013 and has since kept a low profile.[17]

Cheung has provided celebrity endorsement for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Cheung married French director Olivier Assayas in 1998; they divorced in 2001.[19] She began a relationship with German architect Ole Scheeren in 2007,[20] but the relationship ended in 2011.[21]

Cheung has been rumoured to have been romantically involved with In the Mood for Love co-star Tony Leung, who is married to fellow actor Carina Lau. Lau quashed rumours of a feud by uploading a photo of her running into Cheung at an airport in 2013.[22]


Year Chinese Title English title Notes
1984 青蛙王子 Prince Charming
緣份 Behind the Yellow Line
1985 摩登仙履奇緣 Girl with the Diamond Slipper
警察故事 Police Story
聖誕奇遇結良緣 It's a Drink, It's a Bomb
1986 玫瑰的故事 Lost Romance
開心鬼撞鬼 Happy Ghost 3
原振俠與衛斯理 The Seventh Curse
1987 七年之癢 Seven Years Itch Cameo
天賜良緣 Sister Cupid
心跳一百 Heartbeat 100
精裝追女仔 The Romancing Star
A計劃續集 Project A Part II
用愛捉伊人 You Are My Destiny Cameo
1988 應召女郎1988 Call Girl '88
愛的逃兵 Love Soldier of Fortune
過埠新娘 Paper Marriage
雙肥臨門 Double Fattiness
旺角卡門 As Tears Go By
南北媽打 Mother vs. Mother
月亮星星太陽 Moon, Star, Sun
求愛敢死隊 How to Pick Girls Up!
警察故事續集 Police Story 2
肥貓流浪記 Beloved Son of God
黃色故事 The Game They Call Sex
流金歲月 Last Romance
1989 小小小警察 Little Cop
不脫襪的人 A Fishy Story
少女心 Hearts No Flowers
再見王老五 The Bachelor's Swan-Song
我要富貴 My Dear Son
求愛夜驚魂 In Between Loves
急凍奇俠 The Iceman Cometh
神勇雙妹嘜 Doubles Cause Troubles
1990 人在紐約 Full Moon in New York
三人新世界 Heart into Hearts
客途秋恨 Song of the Exile
紅場飛龍 The Dragon from Russia
愛在別鄉的季節 Farewell China
滾滾紅塵 Red Dust
阿飛正傳 Days of Being Wild
1991 志在出位 Today's Hero
豪門夜宴 The Banquet
富貴吉祥 The Perfect Match
黑雪 Will of Iron
雙城故事 Alan & Eric - Between Hello & Goodbye
阮玲玉 Center Stage a.k.a. Actress
1992 兩個女人,一個靚,一個唔靚 Too Happy for Words Short film
白玫瑰 Rose
家有喜事 All's Well, Ends Well
真的愛妳 True Love
新龍門客棧 New Dragon Gate Inn
譁! 英雄 What a Hero!
雙龍會 Twin Dragons
警察故事3: 超級警察 Police Story 3: Supercop
三人做世界 Heart Against Hearts Cameo
戰神傳說 Moon Warriors
1993 千面天王 Millionaire Cop
赤腳小子 The Bare-Footed Kid
東方三俠 The Heroic Trio
武俠七公主 Holy Weapon
青蛇 Green Snake
飛越謎情 Enigma of Love
東成西就 The Eagle Shooting Heroes
神經刀與飛天貓 Flying Dagger
追男仔 Boys Are Easy
現代豪俠傳 Executioners
廉政第一擊 First Shot
濟公 Mad Monk
1994 新同居時代 In Between
東邪西毒 Ashes of Time
1996 甜蜜蜜 Comrades: Almost a Love Story
迷离劫/迷離劫 Irma Vep
1997 宋家皇朝 The Soong Sisters
中国匣 Chinese Box
1999 爱在异乡的故事 Augustin, King of Kung-Fu
2000 一見鍾情 Sausalito
花樣年華 In the Mood for Love
2002 英雄 Hero
2004 2046 2046
錯得多美麗 Clean
2009 惡棍特工 Inglourious Basterds Deleted scene[23]
2010 全城熱戀 Hot Summer Days Cameo
Better Life Short film[24]
萬層浪 Ten Thousand Waves


Year Original Title English title
1984 畫出彩虹 Rainbow Round My Shoulder
新紮師兄 Police Cadet '84
1985 武林世家 The Fallen Family
拆擋拍擋 Zhe Dang Pai Dang
楊家將 The Yang's Saga
橋王之王 Kings of Ideas



Year Award Category Nominated work
1989 Golden Horse Award Best Actress Full Moon in New York
1990 Best Supporting Actress Red Dust
Hong Kong Film Awards Best Actress A Fishy Story
Torino International Festival of Young Cinema Jury Special Prize Farewell China
1991 Golden Horse Award Best Actress Center Stage
1992 Berlin International Film Festival
Chicago International Film Festival
1993 Hong Kong Film Awards
1996 Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards Comrades: Almost a Love Story
1997 Hong Kong Film Awards
Asia-Pacific Film Festival
Golden Bauhinia Awards
Golden Horse Award
Hong Kong Film Awards The Soong Sisters
2000 Golden Horse Award In the Mood for Love
2001 Asian Film Critics Association Awards
Chinese Film Media Awards
Durban International Film Festival
Hong Kong Film Awards
SESC Film Festival Best Foreign Actress
2003 Chinese Film Media Awards Most Popular Actress Hero
2004 Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Clean
Hawaii International Film Festival Award for Achievement in Acting
2005 Montréal World Film Festival Exceptional Contribution to Cinematographic Art
Asian American International Film Festival Acting Achievement Award
2007 Shanghai International Film Festival Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Cinema


Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1989 Hong Kong Film Awards Best Actress As Tears Go By Nominated
1990 Farewell China Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Red Dust Nominated
1992 Best Actress New Dragon Gate Inn Nominated
2002 Hero Nominated
1992 Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards Best Leading Actress New Dragon Gate Inn Nominated
1998 Golden Bauhinia Awards Best Actress The Soong Sisters Nominated
2000 In the Mood for Love Nominated
2002 Hero Nominated
2005 César Awards Best Actress (Meilleure actrice) Clean Nominated
2002 Chlotrudis Awards Best Actress In the Mood for Love Nominated
2007 Best Actress Clean Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Style File: Maggie Cheung".
  2. ^ a b c "Maggie Cheung: The Lady Is A Vamp". The Independent. 5 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Miss Hong Kong 1983". Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  4. ^ "Miss World Previous Title Holders - 1983".[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Hong Kong Actress Maggie Cheung".
  6. ^ a b c d e "Maggie Cheung: A Multi Award-Winning Actress from Hong Kong". Women of China.
  7. ^ Rockwell, John (25 February 1992). "'Grand Canyon' Wins The First Prize at Berlin Festival". The New York Times.
  8. ^ "Maggie Cheung Snatches Best Actress Award at Cannes". Sina.
  9. ^ "Annual Archives - Juries". Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  10. ^ "Juries 2007". Archived from the original on 3 December 2010. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  11. ^ "Jury 2010". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  12. ^ Hirschberg, Lynn (11 February 2007). "Great Performers". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  13. ^ a b Flynn, Bob (10 April 2007). "Maggie Cheung : Why the Asian Star is turning her back on film". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 6 December 2007.
  14. ^ Gritten, David (6 October 2010). "Maggie Cheung returns in Ten Thousand Waves". The Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  15. ^ "Maggie Cheung appointed UNICEF Ambassador in China". Unicef.
  16. ^ "Honorary degree for Maggie Cheung". Archived from the original on 26 July 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
  17. ^ "Maggie Cheung Gets Unfairly Slammed by Netizens After Someone Posts This Photo of Her".
  18. ^ Wolfgang Schaefer and JP Kuehlwein, Rethinking Prestige Branding, Kogan Page, 2015, p92.
  19. ^ "Maggie Cheung talks about her divorce". China Daily.
  20. ^ "Maggie Cheung Makes Beijing New Home in Name of Love - All China Women's Federation". Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  21. ^ "Maggie Cheung dumped for younger girl". Retrieved 5 April 2018.
  22. ^ "高招 劉嘉玲 拉張曼玉逆襲 世紀合照 破13年僵局". 蘋果日報. 25 November 2013.
  23. ^ "Maggie Cheung Okays with 'Basterds' Cut". China Daily. 22 May 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2009.
  24. ^ "Maggie Cheung waits to age before return to films". The Washiongton Times.
  25. ^ "Maggie Cheung". IMDb. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  26. ^ "Maggie Cheung". Retrieved 8 April 2010.

External links[edit]