Raymond Chow

Active - 1971 - 2022  |   Born - Jan 1, 1929   |   Genres - Action, Comedy, Adventure

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

The founder of Hong Kong's massively successful Golden Harvest Films and the man responsible for introducing the international community to the staggering skills of a young martial arts star named Bruce Lee, producer Raymond Chow's longstanding career has yielded some of the most memorable martial arts films in cinema history. Born in Hong Kong in 1929, at age 13 Chow began studying abroad at St. Johns University. Returning to his native home after graduating with a B.A. in Journalism, the future producer would next take a position with the English-language Hong Kong Standard before joining the city's Voice of America office in 1951. The expansion of Shaw Brothers studios caught the attention of a curious Chow in 1959, and it wasn't long before the young journalist found himself in the midst of a career change. Starting low on the totem pole for Shaw Brothers, Chow would quickly work his way becoming the flourishing studio's head of production for the following decade. Undaunted by the cutbacks in film production during the tumultuous 1960s and confident in his knowledge of the film industry, Chow decided to go against the grain and pick up the slack from the cutbacks by founding his own production company, parting ways with Shaw Brothers in 1970 to found Golden Harvest.

Releasing eight films in their first year and establishing firm distribution ties early on, Golden Harvest would soon up the ante by increasing their production schedule, and with their takeover of the Hammer Hill production complex, they had all the resources in place to become a major player in the Hong Kong film industry. With the release of the 1971 kung-fu classic The Big Boss, Golden Harvest garnered international success by introducing the world to the amazing talents of Bruce Lee. Subsequently focusing on international distribution with the release of such films as The Amsterdam Kill and Sidney J. Furie's The Boys in Company C, Golden Harvest scored it's first wildfire international hit with the release of The Cannonball Run in 1981, a film that also gave American audiences one of their first looks at future martial arts superstar Jackie Chan. The film grossed over 160 million dollars at the international box office, garnering Chow the honor of "Showman of the Year" by the National Association of Theater Owners. Subsequently continuing to nurture the careers of such stars as Chan and Sammo Hung at home, a fruitful forthcoming partnership would ensure that the Hong Kong megastars would eventually find success in the West as well. With the release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 1990, Golden Harvest began a lucrative collaboration with America's New Line Cinema, a partnership which would later result in the stateside popularity of Chan beginning with the 1996 stateside release of Rumble in the Bronx. In his spare time, Chow is an avid golfer and devoted family man.

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