Run Run Shaw | Asian movie mogul, 106
Run Run Shaw, 106, who built a Hong Kong movie and TV empire that nurtured rising talents like actor Chow Yun-fat and director John Woo, inspired Hollywood filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, and produced the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner, died Tuesday in Hong Kong.
Mr. Shaw's prolific studio helped bring kung fu films to the world. His Shaw Brothers Studios was once among the world's largest, churning out nearly 1,000 movies and giving young directors like Woo their start. He produced a handful of U.S. films that also included the 1979 thriller Meteor.
"For a year, I'd watch one old Shaw Brothers movie a day - if not three," Tarantino told the Los Angeles Daily News in 2003, discussing his preparation for the Kill Bill films.
In their heyday, Shaw films were reportedly seen by 1.5 million people a week.
One rare misstep for the movie mogul was failing to spot the potential of an up-and-coming Bruce Lee, who had returned to Hong Kong after a stint in Hollywood. Lee wanted a bigger salary and creative control of his films. But Mr. Shaw wouldn't budge from the standard contract given to all his actors. Lee signed instead with the rival upstart Golden Harvest.
Mr. Shaw, knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974, was also a philanthropist. In 2002 he founded the annual Shaw Prizes, Asia's version of the Nobel Prizes. The honor offers $1 million annually to winners in mathematics, medicine, and astronomy.