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Run Run Shaw dies aged 106

Sir Run Run Shaw, founder of Shaw Brothers Studios and a pioneer of early Chinese cinema and television, has died aged 106.

Born in 1907, Shaw started his career working with his brothers at their jointly-owned Tianyi Film Company, later moving to Singapore to launch distribution and theatre networks across South-East Asia. He established Shaw Brothers Studios in Hong Kong in 1957.

The studio, which attracted top talent and was renowned for the high technical standards at its Movietown filmmaking base, produced more than 1,000 films, including classics such as The One Armed Swordsman, The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin, Come Drink With Me, The Kingdom And The Beauty and Five Deadly Venoms. Shaw was also a producer on Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.

The bulk of the Shaw Brothers library was acquired by Hong Kong-based Celestial Pictures in 2000, which digitally remastered and re-released many of the titles. The library continues to be mined by both Western and Asian companies for remake material.

In 1967, Shaw turned his energies towards the new medium of television, launching Hong Kong broadcaster TVB, which remains one of the strongest content producers and broadcasters in the region. Many of the leading actors, directors and producers in today’s Hong Kong film industry started their careers at TVB.

Shaw, who continued to work past the age of 100, was also a philanthropist with a focus on science and education. Hong Kong newspaper the South China Morning Post reported in its obituary of Shaw that the secret to his longevity was going to bed early, eating very little at each meal and practising qigong.

Shaw was knighted in 1977 and received the Grand Bauhinia Medal from the Hong Kong government in 1998. The UK’s BAFTA presented him with a special award last month.

Local Chinese media placed Shaw’s age at 107, which is probably due to the Chinese system of counting age as starting at one year old at birth.

He is survived by his wife Mona Fong Yat-wah and other family.

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