Hong Kong producer and talent manager Willie Chan, who worked with stars including Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh and Maggie Cheung, has died aged 76.
Jackie Chan posted a tribute to his former manager on Weibo, saying: “Willie Chan is gone. Another of the most important people in my life has left. Many people know I wouldn’t be what I am now without you, but no one knows what we really experienced together. So long as we both know and understand.”
Born in Malaysia, Willie Chan moved to Hong Kong in the 1970s, where he joined director Lo Wei’s production company and discovered Jackie Chan who was working as a stuntman at the time. The actor-manager duo later both moved to Raymond Chow’s Golden Harvest, where Jackie Chan made a string of hits including Fearless Hyena and Dragon Fist. In 1985, Willie Chan founded the JC Group, which handled dozens of major stars.
Chan quite the management business during the 1990s, but later served as a producing partner for Jackie Chan’s JCE Movies. The two men parted professionally in 2008, but remained friends. In 2014, Willie Chan told Hong Kong’s Commercial Radio: “Gradually he became so popular that fame went to his head a little, he didn’t need my help anymore and I couldn’t help him with much.”
Willie Chan’s credits as producer include Shinjuku Incident (2009), Run Papa Run (2008), Robin-B-Hood (2006) and Stanley Kwan’s Everlasting Regret (2005). He also executive produced some of Jackie Chan’s US hits including Around The World In 80 Days, The Tuxedo and Shanghai Knights (pictured).