Bruce Lee & Connie Chan Po-Chu

Bruce Lee & Connie Chan Po-Chu

LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

August 14th, 2015, 3:25 am #1

Connie Chan Po-Chu (10th Dec. 1946 - )
==================================
Connie Chan Po-Chu was HK cinema's most beloved teen idols in the mid 60s till early 70s. Her main rival was her good friend, Josephine Siu Fong-Fong (13th March 1947 - ) who played along Bruce Lee in “An orphan's tragedy”(1953). Both Connie and Josephine were also members of the famous “Seven Princess” of the HK silver screen which include also the famous Petrina Fung Bo-bo, Nancy Sit Kar-yin and Fung So Bor who played along Bruce Lee in “Kid Cheung (1950).”
Born to impoverished parents in Guangdong, China, Connie was later, adopted by Chan Fei-Nung and his wife, Kung Fan-Hung, who were renowned Cantonese opera stars. Po-Chu was a name given by her adopted parents which meant the precious pearl, while Connie was an English name given by the movie company.

Photos of Bruce Lee & Connie Chan: http://postimg.org/image/b7zqpmne3/

Photos of Connie Chan: http://postimg.org/image/v4dveepfj/

"Princess of Movie-Fans"
===================
Within a movie life span of 14 years, Connie had made more than 230 films in a variety of genres: from traditional Cantonese opera and costumes movies to contemporary youth musicals; action films to comedies; melodramas and romances. Owing to her popularity she was dubbed the "Princess of Movie-Fans". Connie was exhausted after making numerous movies over the years. She took a break by temporarily retired from the movie industry in 1970 at age 24. She further her study in San Francisco. When she returned to Hong Kong in 1972, she made one last film with director Chor Yuen. “The Lizard,” was a Mandarin-language production by Shaw Brothers.

Childhood Friends
==============
Like Bruce’s father, Lee Hoi Chuen who was a Cantonese Opera Comedian, Connie’s adopted parents Chan Fei-Nung and his wife, Kung Fan-Hung were also well known Cantonese Opera stars. Both Lee Hoi Chuen and the Chan’s couple knew each other very well since they were all in the HK Cantonese Opera Group. Connie’s godfather was actor Walter Tso Tat-Wah. Walter Tso and his wife Eva Tso were both close friends of Lee Hoi Chuen’s family. His daughter Cho Meng-Yi was one of Bruce’s HK teenage girlfriends.

Bruce was 6 years older than Connie. They knew each other since young. Bruce was already acting in the Cantonese movies when he was 6 and until 18 years old, he had made more than 20 movies. On the other hand, Connie started her movie debut when she was 11 in 1958. Connie, Josephine Siu, Nancy Sit Ka-Yin, Unicorn Chan etc. used to play with Bruce in the studio. Nancy Sit once recalled, “Bruce was a mischievous boy and liked to play pranks on people but he was quite nice to girls. Bruce was like a big brother and whenever he went, Connie, Nancy and the rest would follow. During Bruce’s returned trips from U.S. in the 1960s, he would often get Unicorn to call us out for gatherings. As the center of attraction, he would always attract us to listen to his funny jokes, anecdotes and see him peforming his new learnt magic that would always mesmerise us. Sometimes, we would go out to the sea in a ferry. With Bruce around, it was always fun and enjoyable. He would often share with us some meaningful stories or talked about his philosophy of life. He seemed to be very well learnt and knowledgeable. I believe he had read extensively from books and learnt many things in his university days. As young girls, we really admired and liked him a lot just like other girls. Except for Josephine Siu who never treated him like an idol. Maybe she, herself was also proud and knowledgeable…haha…”

Lady of Actions
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Connie learnt Cantonese Opera at the age of 5 from her parents and later became an apprentice of Peking Opera Master Fen Ju-Hua, who was one of the first martial arts actresses in Shanghai during the 1920s. Thus, Connie learnt not only opera but also martial arts skills from Master Fen. Usually, the opera players know how to do somersaults and performed a mixture of various types of northern Kung Fu.

Connie was also the disciple of the Cantonese opera master, the legendary Yam Kim-Fai (note: Bruce taught Yam to dance Cha-Cha in “Too Late For Divorce”.) Connie had mastered opera and some martial arts moves from Master Yam who had high regards and compliments on Connie’s talent. Connie also acted in quite a number of martial-arts movies, usually in the company of veteran action stars Yu So-chau, Walter Tso Tat-wah, and perennial bad guy, Shek Kien (1 January 1913 – 3 June 2009) who played Han in ETD (1973). Connie also picked up some martial arts skills from these veteran actor/actress who in real life knew Kung Fu. Shek Kien himself, graduated from Jin Mo School and was a master in northern Shaolin Kung Fu.

In 1965, two films boosted Connie’s career: “The Six-Fingered Lord of the Lute” and Black Rose (in which director Chor Yuen had the foresight to change her image by putting her in a contemporary role as a modern-day Robin Hood). Connie performed the actions mainly by herself with some being doubled. With the strong foundation in opera and some martial arts skill, it was not difficult for Connie to later learn Cha-Cha and Karate for her action movies. In fact, Connie likes to dance and performed martial arts in her movies. She would sometimes choreograph her own moves and her fans were always be fascinated. The famous Yuen brothers - Yuen Woo-Ping and Yuen Chor-Yan actually had worked with Connie in 1967 - as extras in “Lady Black Cat Strikes Again.” They would later become the choreographers for her last film “The Lizard(1972).”

From Shinning Star To Farewell
===========================
1966-67 was a diverse and prolific period during which Connie’s talent, skills, and popularity reached full bloom. In 1966, her most frequent onscreen partner was Josephine Siu, who had also studied opera under Fen Ju-Hua. The two were paired off with a variety of leading men in a profusion of comedies, musicals, romances, and action movies. “Princess of Movie-Fans” was a prototype combo of all four genres and, more significantly, the beginning of Connie’s four-year onscreen romance with her most popular leading man, James Lui Kei (1st Jan 1942 - ). And then there was “Lady Bond”, Cantonese cinema’s answer to 007 that spawned three sequels and fueled the transition from traditional martial-arts pictures to contemporary action movies.

Connie’s frenetic film output of the previous two years started to slow down a bit. Her contemporary action films had played themselves out and she settled down onscreen with leading man Lui Kei, who then became her most frequent costar in a medley of comedies, musicals, and romances. Within a year, Connie stopped making movies altogether and moved to San Francisco to finish her education in 1970. When she returned to Hong Kong in 1972, she made one last film with director Chor Yuen, who had recently signed on with Shaw Brothers.

Happy Reunion
============
On 24th June 1972, Bruce performed in the TVB’s Operation Relief show. He reunited with Connie in the TV station, who was also appearing in the same show. Both Bruce and Connie happily took photos behind the TV camera. Bruce was wearing a blue vest with a striking yellow-red flying star and blue jean. Connie was in a fanciful purple dress and appeared with a calm composure. Photos showed Bruce, Wu Ngan and Brandon breaking boards, and perform JKD while Connie sang Cantonese opera songs plus fried rice for the audience. Host Tam Peng Man looked on while she cooked.

After the TVB show, Bruce met Connie again in a social function together with Unicorn Chan. They chat a lot like old friends and toasted with each other, wishing each other well in their careers. Bruce was happy to see Connie again and told her that he would visit her when she began filming “The Lizard.”

According to the 1970’s HK movie magazine, Bruce visited Shaw studio 3 times in 1972. Out of the 3 times, he was accompanied by Unicorn Chan and visited Connie twice while she was filming “The Lizard”. During the second evening visit, he and Unicorn Chan came specially to see Connie’s filming. Director Chor Yuen who was Bruce’s good friend, was really delighted when Bruce said he wanted to give some advice to Connie on the action choreography. Bruce took off his shirt and taught Connie how to fight in various stances so that it would look more realistic and convincing on screen. Bruce also showed his JKD moves that made the filming crew bewildered. Connie followed what Bruce taught her and performed her best on screen.

Chor Yuen suggested that Bruce and Connie should make a movie together if Bruce was able to film for Shaws. Bruce was looking forward to an opportunity to work together after seeing Connie swift and agile movements in “The Lizard.” Besides Angela Mao, Polly Shang Kwan, Connie was another potential martial arts actress that was overlooked and underrated. Her glamorous good looks, charisma coupled with her opera and martial arts background would surely made her a bigger movie star if given a right opportunity.

Chor Yuen who had made some of Connie’s best films during the 60s (“The Black Rose,” “Opposite Love,” “Young, Pregnant and Unmarried”), directed this Shaw movie by using Connie as the lead star again. What “The Lizard” lacks in funk, it was compensated with martial mayhem. Energetic and complex, the fight scenes were definitely the film’s main attraction. Connie got plenty of opportunity to show her stuff, thanks to action choreographers Yuen Woo-Ping and his brother Yuen Chor-Yan and of course, not forgotten Bruce’s valuable advice and input to this movie.

Return of “The Precious Pearl”
======================
Connie said she saw Bruce just weeks before his sudden passing. She felt sorry for Linda and her children. Bruce was like a meteor that disappeared too early. They did not have a chance to make a film together anymore. Connie and Nancy Sit both attended Bruce’s funeral together with the friends from the movie circle. Connie later, declared her retirement after completing “The Lizard.” She was only 26 then. The loss of a dear friend made Connie underwent deep thinking about her life and career. Connie is a traditional virtuous woman. She thought no matter how successful a woman is, her biggest happiness is still her family. So, eventually she waved goodbye to the silver screen and got married. However, her husband passed away few years upon their separation. Just like Nora Miao, Connie was persistent in her decision for not making a comeback to make any movies regardless of many persuasions. Only after 25 years after Bruce’s death, Connie made an exception to return to the stage in 1998 to perform opera shows in commemorating her late master, Yam Kim-Fai.
Her popularity still remains as strong as before. From 1998-2007, she has performed more than 200 stage shows, which received overwhelming response from the audience. In January 2007 she was honored with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the Hong Kong Drama Awards ceremony. Just like Bruce Lee, the “Princess of Movie-Fan” will always remain the legend in the hearts of the HK audience.

Resources:
Hong Kong Movie News Article “Bruce Lee Visited Connie Chan”
Hong Kong Movie Database: http://hkmdb.com
Movie Fan Princess website: http://moviefanprincess.com/biography.html
2013 HK-TVB Interview with Nancy Sit Kar-Yin
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Joined: August 11th, 2015, 4:41 am

August 15th, 2015, 8:57 am #2

Cho Tat-wah has two pearl.

His daughter is Cho Meng-Yi (Pearl Tso). heroine of Bruce Lee, My Brother.
His wife Eva Tso is Bruce's "Qi-ma"(meaning close to godmother).

http://postimg.org/image/copd3vtr7/

Photo on the bottom right
I think Mei Lan looks like Cho Meng-Yi (Pearl Tso).
Do you have something information of Mei Lan?
I think that it is not even Leung Sing-Bo's daughter Man Lan (Margaret Leung).

thanks
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Joined: July 24th, 2015, 3:19 am

August 15th, 2015, 9:55 pm #3

I thought Eva Tso was more like an Aunt to Bruce?
"All type of knowledge ultimately means self-knowledge"
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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

August 16th, 2015, 3:06 am #4

Cho Tat-wah has two pearl.

His daughter is Cho Meng-Yi (Pearl Tso). heroine of Bruce Lee, My Brother.
His wife Eva Tso is Bruce's "Qi-ma"(meaning close to godmother).

http://postimg.org/image/copd3vtr7/

Photo on the bottom right
I think Mei Lan looks like Cho Meng-Yi (Pearl Tso).
Do you have something information of Mei Lan?
I think that it is not even Leung Sing-Bo's daughter Man Lan (Margaret Leung).

thanks
Hi Kineusva,

Walter Tso Tat-Wah and Lee Hoi-Chuen were 2 very close families. These 2 families used to get together very often. Naturally, their children, Bruce Lee and Pearl Tso had a very good relationship since young. Bruce looked upon Aunt Eva Tso as "Kai Ma" as you said earilier the meaning of "godmother" in Cantonese. Bruce was seeing Pearl for a period of time. Walter Tso and Eva Tso both liked Bruce very much and really hoped her daughter would marry Bruce one day. However, Bruce went to U.S. to further his study in 1959 and his relationship with Pearl "cool down". When the news of Bruce got married to Linda Emery in 1964, Eva Tso was heartbroken and cried as the hope of getting Bruce to be her son-in-law burst. Grace Lee had to console the grieving Eva Tso for quite sometime.

Back to the topic of "Mei Lan" as you said. It was also pronunced as Man Lan in Cantonese.
Famous Cantonese Comic Opera performer and entertainer, Leung Sing-Bo, had 3 daughters and 1 son. The daughters are all famous actresses at their own right while his son is a doctor.

The eldest daughter, Leung Po-Ching (1936 - ) is an actress known for portraying a housewife in HK TV series. She had acted in 22 movies between 1949-1995 and played in many HK-TVB TV series. The more well-known role she played was the wife of a Malaysian Natuk in a very popular 1995 TV series called “A Kindred Spirit” which also starred Nancy Sit Kar-Yin and Louise Lee Si-Kei.

The second daughter, Margaret Leung Po-Ying, or Man Lan (circa 1940 - ), is a very popular Cantonesse movie actress in the late 50s and early 60s who has 53 movies in her film credit between 1952-1999. Man Lan is her stage name. She played opposite Bruce Lee and her father, Leung Sing-Bo in “Darling Girl” (1957) and had a well-choreographed Cha-Cha dance with Bruce in that movie. She later joined TVB and became a contract actress. It was rumored that she was Bruce Lee’s teenage girlfriend and was once said to have secretly got married in U.S. However, Man Lan denied all the rumors during her recent years’ interviews.

The youngest daughter, Leung Po-Chu (circa 1946 - ) is an actress cum Cantonese opera performer. She and Connie Chan Po-Chu formed the “Twin Darlings Troupe” together with their senior, Chan Ho-Kau and their fathers, Chan Fei-Nung and Leung Sing-Bo in 1957. The troupe’s performances were very successful. Connie Chan Po-Chu and Leung Po-Chu are truly the "Two Pearls" of the Cantonese opera since their Chinese names are the same, which mean the “Precious Pearl.” Leung Po-Chu had played in only 8 movies between 1958-1969. Out of which, she played opposite Connie Chan in 5 movies i.e. “Madam Chun Heung-Lin”(1958), “The Scout Master”(1959), “The Five Sons Crying At The Tomb”(1960), “Battle At Sizhou”(962) and “The Romance of Nonya”(1969). However, she was not as outstanding and popular as Connie and gradually bowed out of the movie and focused on her Cantonese opera stage shows.

As for Man Lan, she is a very low profile lady and has married with a happy life. She was seldom being interviewed except for once or twice by TVB in recent years. Below is an excerpt of the interview she talked about Bruce Lee. This Cantonese interview titled, “Starlight Counterparts” was conducted in 2013 by director, Clifton Ko Chi-Sum. (Note: Man Lan talked about the teenage Bruce Lee before he left HK in Apr 1959)

Host: Now, we are going to talk about a very good friend of yours, Bruce Lee......
ML: Oh...I see...hahahaha......

Host: Could you tell us about your relationship with Bruce?
ML: I was his chaueffer while he was fighting at some places...

Host: Why was you the chaueffer? Didn’t Bruce drive?
ML: At that time, he had yet got his driving license nor owned a car. But I did. So, he wanted me to be his chaueffer and always instructed me to wait for him at certain places, usually at a corner, with the front passenger door opened for him.

Host: Then…?
ML: After the fight, he would rushed towards the car and jumped into it hastily. He would then shout, “Ok, let’s go, hurry up!” I would pick him up and drove off straight away.

Host: You didn’t get to see his fight?
ML: Never. I never see how he fought and where exactly he fought.

Host: Oh, too bad…
ML: Actually, we were like good buddies. Together with another guy, whose surname was also Lee, we were 3 good buddies. (Though I’m a lady), I behave more manly, so, it was much easier to communicate with him.

Host: So, how did he behave infront of you?
ML: Well, he just “chor ng chi” (Cantonese, meaning couldn’t sit still). He was always moving around. If you sit here, he would move your table from here to there. Haha...

Host: Constantly moving uhh?
ML: Yeah, always. His hands were also "non-stop" moving and were always looking for something to practise (punching). He ever told my younger brother that he was going to teach him Kung Fu. I immediately stopped my brother from getting near him because I knew Bruce was going to get my brother to be his boxing target (as I’d experienced it before, got bruises over my arms) and didn’t want him to get hurt.

Host: Oh really?
ML: However, Bruce then, was a simple and innocent boy. He just loved to learn and perform martial arts. If you don’t let him practise punching, he would be angry and won’t want to see you. If you give him an opportunity, he would always talked and talked about martial arts.

Host: He was good at dancing too?
ML: Absolutely. But he usually dance informally. He would dance different kind of fanciful steps, his self-created steps.

Host: He seemed to have a lot of creativity?
ML: Yeah, indeed. Like his created “basketball bouncing” movements etc…

Host: Heard that you, Bruce and “Pak Chieh” (Eighth sister) – Chu Yat-Hung would all get money from Uncle Bo (Leung Sing-Bo) to buy soda?
ML: No, actually we would come up with the money ourselves and see how much we had before we decided where we should be heading to. We have not much money and were quite poor then. So, usually, we went for “Tea Dance” and not movies.

Host: Why not movies?
ML: For a “non-stop” person like Bruce, it would be a torture for him to sit still inside the cinema theatre for 2 hours without moving around. It would be too painful for him. He would rather walk back and forth on the street. He would feel more easy and comfortable that way.

Host: You had been his chauffer and picked him up many times, so, did you see him getting hurt?
ML: Only once where I saw him with one bruised eye. But he was really good at fighting and besides that time, I never see him got injured or whatsoever. He just like to win and had a sense of satisfaction. If he lost, he would go back and train hard. If he lost again, I think, he would practise even harder. He would always think how to beat the opponent and win the fight. How to fight, when to punch, where to kick etc…

Host: Hmm...he seemed to think very thoroughly in fighting. So, frankly, were you his first girlfriend?
ML: (Hesitated for a while) No. He was living near the corner of a building. There was a grocery store downstair. Both of us used to drink soda together over there. Although our area of activities were different but we used to hang out together quite often. Sometimes he would call and ask whether I have money. When we met, we would took out all the money from our pockets and put them on the table. Then, we would chip in for a “Tea Dance” usually at Sha Tin Hotel or Walden Hotel. We would order fried rice as it was not too expensive yet quite filling. The waiter knew about our affordability by a glance at us and often he would not ask too much (if we want other orders).

Host: Frankly speaking, did Bruce go after you before?
ML: Definitely not. I didn’t sense that. He thought I was not feminine enough. Once, he asked why I didn’t apply lipstick? “Why should I?” I responded. He said he didn’t want to bring a lady for a dance who didn't look beautiful. Hahaha...We are sincere friends... But he was always in a rush when he looked for me, always in a hurry. If you were in love, I mean, the relationship shouldn’t be like that.

Host: Did you send him off on the day of his departure to U.S. in 1959?
ML: Unfortunately, I was having the appendix removal surgery on that same day. He didn’t see me and should be quite mad at me. Later, he got someone to deliver a note to me. I thought he was so nice to give me a note to wish me a speedy recovery. But to my surprise, the note said, “Hope you won’t wake up from your surgery!” I thought, "My goodness!" At that moment, I don't know whether to be angry at him or to have a laugh at it because I knew Bruce was just playing prank on me as this was his usual mischievious character. I never took it seriously. Hahaha......

Photos of Man Lan, Bruce, Pearl Tso, Connie Chan Poh-Chu etc.:

http://postimg.org/image/8ys7fxm7h/

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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

August 16th, 2015, 3:15 am #5


1. This trailer contains clips from childhood films of Bruce, Connie Chan, Josephine Fung, Wang Ai-Meng etc. Title – “Stealing roast duck.” It was compiled and edited by hkpai just for viewing pleasure, it is not a real movie.




2. Little Unicorn Chan in suit playing mahjong:




3. Bruce fights Unicorn Chan in “Blame It On Father” (MUST SEE!extended version from HKF Archive)




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Joined: July 24th, 2015, 3:19 am

August 16th, 2015, 5:26 am #6

Here's a letter Bruce wrote to Pearl in 1959 while en route to the USA.

http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f309/ ... %20Tso.jpg

"All type of knowledge ultimately means self-knowledge"
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Joined: August 11th, 2015, 4:41 am

August 16th, 2015, 7:31 am #7

Thanks LJF
Excellent information.

The article when Lee returned for the first time in Hong Kong in 1963,Pearl Tso is not apparent.
Bruce had broke up with Amy, it was a good opportunity to Eva.

Leung Po-Chu,I knew for the first time.“Twin Darlings Troupe”They seem to be sister.


Thank you for the interview article.

'the appendix removal surgery on that same day' ...


"Blame It On Father",It seems to have traced the story of Journey to the West.
Bruce was just Sun Wukong(Son-Goku),Prototype of DRAGONBALL's hero Goku.


Thanks JKD54
I saw for the first time.


Arigato.
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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

August 17th, 2015, 3:10 am #8

It's really difficult to imagine a low budget film like "Blame It On Father"(1953) would have inserted a short cartoon animation clip of "Journey To The West" to make the movie more intriguing. The quality seen was considered quite good at that era. Of course, Bruce and Unicorn had some remarkable performances in this film too.

In the early 1950s, HK movie industry was not as well developed as Hollywood, not to say animation. So, it's not surprising to see a Hollywood's animation movie then but it was a surprise to see a HK Cantonese movie with animation.

Actually, the Shanghai(dubbed as Orient's Shangrila then) movie industry had begun producing animation movies as early as 1920s. They had a group of professionals to produce animations. The stories of the animations usually were based on Chinese famous literatures and folktales. Many of the Chinese animation professionals had gone abroad to U.S. and some to France to learn animation production before returning to China to make animations. If not for the 2nd world war and the internal war affair, the Shanghai's animation development should have made further progress then.

In fact, most of the Shanghai film-makers, movie stars etc. including Run Run Shaw turned to HK after the closure of China to the world in 1949. Hence, some Shanghai animation professionals might have migrated to HK and worked in the movie industry there, which explained why a low budget Cantonese film could have such a good quality (1950s Asia's standard) animations in it.
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