Hong Kong veteran actor Kenneth Tsang dies at 87

HONG KONG — Kenneth Tsang, a Hong Kong actor known for his tough-guy supporting roles as cops, crime bosses and kung fu masters, and as ...


HONG KONG — Kenneth Tsang, a Hong Kong actor known for his tough-guy supporting roles as cops, crime bosses and kung fu masters, and as the ubiquitous hair dye TV caster, is died on Wednesday while in quarantine at a hotel here. He was 87 years old.

His death was confirmed by his manager, Andrew Ooi. No cause of death was immediately reported. Mr Tsang was in mandatory quarantine as part of the standard requirement for travelers entering Hong Kong from overseas and had tested negative for coronavirus a day before he was found dead, the public broadcaster RTHK reported. Hong Kong requires most arrivals to spend at least a week in hotel quarantine.

Mr. Tsang has appeared in more than 200 Hong Kong and Hollywood films. He was often portrayed as a tough mob boss, police officer, or military officer; his roles included a North Korean general in the 2002 James Bond film, “Die Another Day”. He also had several roles in director John Woo’s films, appearing as an ex-con turned taxi driver in “A Better Tomorrow” (1986), a police sergeant in “The Killer” (1989) and a boss in the crime in “The Replacement Killers”. (1998).

His roles in Mr. Woo’s action films opened up opportunities in Hollywood. He was seen in the 2005 period drama “Memoirs of a Geisha” and the 2001 action comedy “Rush Hour 2”, in which he played a Hong Kong police captain alongside Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. .

“Kenneth was a trailblazer who came from the golden age of Hong Kong cinema, and his fearless talent helped break down barriers for Asians in Hollywood,” Mr. Ooi said. “We stand on his shoulders and on those who came before him.”

Mr. Tsang is survived by his wife of 28 years, Taiwanese actress Lisa Chiao Chiao, and a daughter from a previous marriage, Musette Tsang.

Kenneth Tsang Kong was born in Shanghai on October 5, 1934 and emigrated to Hong Kong in 1949. He studied architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, but said he felt his skills were underutilized in the Hong Kong construction industry. He turned to film and television thanks to the help of his younger sister, Jeanette Lin Chui, who was already an actress.

He went on to work for some of the biggest studios during the heyday of Hong Kong’s film industry, including Shaw Brothers and its television subsidiary, TVB. His breakout role in Hong Kong was in the 1983 television adaptation of the kung fu series “The Legend of Condor Heroes.”

Mr Tsang was named Best Supporting Actor at the Hong Kong Film Awards for playing a crime family boss in the 2014 film “Overheard 3”.

But for many in Hong Kong, his most iconic role was in ads for Bigen hair dye, which appeared nightly on TV for years. Its slogan: “It can gradually darken, and also immediately darken.”

He continued acting and appearing in commercials well into his 80s. He has also maintained his interest in architecture, working for the preservation of the State Theatre, a historic cinema in Hong Kong’s North Point district that has distinctive concrete arches on its roof.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Hong Kong veteran actor Kenneth Tsang dies at 87
Hong Kong veteran actor Kenneth Tsang dies at 87
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