Horan (also known as “Sandy” and sometimes credited as Roy Haron) died on Oct. 12 after hiking and meditating in the hills near Los Angeles. A memorial ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
After graduation from the University of Rhode Island, Horan began his career as a martial arts student of renowned Korean taekwondo master and popular Hong Kong movie super-villain Hwang Jang-Lee (aka “lord of the super kickers”). He emigrated initially to Taiwan and later to Hong Kong.
In 1975, with Hwang’s help, he broke into Hong Kong film acting with roles in “Bruce Lee’s Deadly Kung Fu” (1977), “Snuff Bottle Connection” (1977) and “The Ring of Death” (1980).
While he missed Bruce Lee, who died in 1973, Horan’s career overlapped with the early Jackie Chan era. Horan played the evil Russian assassin disguised as a Jesuit priest in Jackie Chan’s “Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow” (1978) and later, as Lewis, a wealthy kung-fu fighter who befriends Tang Lung (Lee’s stand-in), in “Game of Death II” in 1980.
Between 1978-1989, Horan was executive-in-charge of distribution, sales, marketing and international production for Seasonal Film Corporation in Hong Kong during the period in which the company produced Chan’s first comedy kung-fu hit films. Horan also directed the instructional video series “The Art of High Impact Kicking,” based on Hwang’s techniques. His final acting role was in 1987’s “No Retreat, No Surrender 2,” which he also wrote and produced.
Horan taught meditation since 1992. From 1999, he took up an academic career, as a professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Design, where he taught filmmaking, helped to establish the Multimedia Innovation Centre and, from 2005, conducted research into creative thinking.
In 2011, he established Innovea Ltd., a company that designs and conducts innovative psychological assessments, and in 2018 published self-help book “Vigilance of the Heart.”
He is survived by seven siblings as well as Asia-based children, Celina “Jade” Horan and Jillian Horan.
Jade Horan has an extensive martial arts, music and acting career in Hong Kong, mainland China and the U.S. that moved her to major stardom as the female lead in “Wolf Warrior II,” the 2017 actioner that remains the highest grossing film of all time in China.
Her credits include “The Man With the Iron Fists,” “Hello, Mrs Money,” “My People My Homeland” and CW series “Arrow,” in which she played Shado.