Shangguan Yunzhu, better known as Shangguan Zhenyu or Shangguan Zhuizen, was a Chinese movie actress active during the 1940s to the mid 1960s. She rose to stardom after her successful performance in the Kung Hei Competition and went on to enjoy box office success in the following films: Romance Tonight, What Happens in Vegas, and Meet the Parents. She is often credited with being one of China’s first truly independent film stars, and many Chinese viewers will opt to name her the first woman to make movies in the People’s Republic of China. Yet, even after all these years, there are still many film critics who criticize her roles and life, and some even say that she failed to live up to their expectations. This article will discuss the life and work of Shangguan Yunzhu, an important yet oftentimes neglected aspect of early Chinese cinema.
|Age||44 years old|
|Born||12 January 1976|
|Birthplace||Higashimurayama, Tokyo, Japan|
Although many modern Chinese films feature Chinese actresses who are of the modern age, few of them can be compared to Shangguan Zhenyu. Most modern Chinese actresses of today have had a relatively short career, having spent only about five years (often split between two careers) in the profession. This is contrasted with Shangguan Zhenyu, who appeared in more than a dozen films (and even appeared in more than one TV series) throughout her entire live in China. This article will compare the life of Shangguan Zhenyu with that of another famous Chinese actress of modern times, which will help shed light on the early life of this Chinese actress.
|Husband||Thilo Fechner (m. 2018)|
|Net Worth in 2020||$1 Million – $5 Million|
|Salary in 2019||Under Review|
|Net Worth in 2019||Pending|
|Salary in 2019||Under Review|
|Source of Income||Actress|
According to one biography, Shangguan Yunzhu studied briefly at Beijing University before taking up work as a domestic helper in Fujian province. She then spent some time working in the film industry in Shanghai, eventually establishing herself as a character actor/actress in films ranging from “Revenge of Monkey Fist” to “Yangxiaojie”. However, it was while filming “Zhang Yi” that she received the first opportunity to rise to any level in the Chinese movie industry. She was hired by Lou Jie as one of his assistants, and after a few years there she achieved near cult status. Her profile in the film industry at this time is incomplete, as it is not clear whether she worked on a professional level or in a low paying private studio, but there is sufficient evidence to suggest that she was very well qualified for the position of assistant to Lou Jie.
In terms of filmography, it is hard to draw any conclusion with regards to Shangguan Yunzhu’s career. Some films show her acting alongside contemporary Chinese actors, such as Chen Xian and Yang Jia, while others place her alongside older Chinese actors, such as Fan Bingbing and Yuya Tao. It is also possible that Shangguan Yunzhu co starred with many of these actors in more than one film, but this seems highly unlikely. The fact that there are a number of late film credits listed for this actress, and that she did not appear in any of these films, lends a degree of doubt to this possibility.
What does seem clear is that there were a number of factors that contributed to Shangguan Yunzhu’s success in the Chinese industry in the 1940s, and that she was at least as capable of creating a character as other modern Chinese actresses. Her popularity among the audience was built on the strength of her two screen roles: that of Liana Yanling, who were an archaeologist on the loose in the exotic jungle, and that of Chen Xian, who was a martial artist who trained with the army. However, in terms of the criteria used to rank Chinese actresses in terms of their ability to attract a film agent, the results are inconclusive, with some believing that Yuya Tao is more deserving of the credit. Others rank Liana Yanling higher. Either way, it seems clear that Shangguan Yunzhu is still the best known Chinese actress active today.