‘China Doll’ Actress Li Li-hua Dies at 92

Clark Gable, Li Li-Hua Actor Clark
Uncredited/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Veteran Chinese actress Li Li-hua, who starred in more than 120 movies between the 1940s and 1970s, including the Hollywood romance “China Doll,” died in Hong Kong on Sunday. She was 92.

Born in 1924 to parents who performed in Peking opera, Li achieved instant popularity with her first film, “Three Smiles,” in 1940. Her lengthy career as an onscreen beauty, which ran till 1978, earned her the nickname “China’s Evergreen Tree.”

She moved from mainland China to Hong Kong in 1948 and made many of her films for the dominant Hong Kong studio Shaw Brothers. Among her starring roles were costume dramas “Yang Gui Fei,” which won the technical prize in Cannes in 1962, and “Empress Wu,” released the following year.

In 1958, she became one of the first Chinese actresses to star in a Hollywood film. “China Doll” starred Victor Mature as an American pilot fighting the Japanese in China who falls in love with his housekeeper, played by Li.

In the 1970s, with her acting career slowing down, Li emigrated to the U.S., though she is also reported as having since lived in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Li also collected Golden Horse acting prizes in Taiwan for her roles in “Between Tears and Smiles” in 1965 and “Storm Over the Yangtze River” in 1969. The Golden Horse organizing committee, which announced her death, also presented her a lifetime achievement award in 2015. The Hong Kong Film Awards gave her a lifetime honor in 2016.

She married three times, including once when she was 80.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 2

Leave a Reply

2 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. After her second husband (actor Yan Jun) died in 1980, Li Lihua married her third husband when she was around 70 years old, not 80 as reported.

  2. Li Li Hua was indeed the first Hong Kong star to star in a Hollywood film.

More Film News from Variety

Loading