Friday, October 19, 2007

Dato' Michelle Yeoh Choo-Kheng, Actress

Michelle Yeoh Madame Tusauds wax statue
Photo by dreistreifen

What is Dato' Michelle Yeoh Choo Kheng famous for?

Dato' Michelle Yeoh Choo-Kheng is famous for her roles as Wai Lin in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies in 1997 and the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000. Dato' Michelle Yeoh also acted as the graceful Mameha in the film adapation of Memoirs of a Geisha in 2005 although that caused a lot of controversies because some cannot accept having a Chinese acting as a Japanese Geisha.

Because of the fame she help bring to Malaysia, she was conferred the Darjah Datuk Paduka Mahkota Perak (DPMP), by Sultan Azlan Shah, the Sultan of Perak, her home state, in recognition of the fame she brought to the state. The award allows her to add the title Dato' to her name. The title of Dato' is the Malaysian equivalent of something like a knighthood. President Jacques Chirac also awarded her Knight of the Legion of Honour of France on 23 April 2007. She has further been honored by having a wax statue in the famous Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, Hong Kong.

History of Dato' Michelle Yeoh Choo-Kheng

Michelle Yeoh was in Ipoh on August 6, 1962. At the age of 4, her parents started her on ballet lessons. She was sent to a boarding school in England at the age of 15 and later enrolled at the London Royal Academy of Dance, majoring in Ballet. Tragedy struck when she suffered a spinal injury suffered during a ballet practicing session and she had to switch to choreography and other arts.

Her ascent to fame began when at the age of 21 in 1983, she won the Miss Malaysia beauty pageant. She represented Malaysia at the 1983 Miss World pageant in London. Michelle Yeoh caught the attention of a film production company called D&B Films when she appeared in a television commercial with Jackie Chan.

In 1997 when she was based in Hong Kong, Michelle Yeoh was chosen as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World by People magazine.

Dato' Michelle Yeoh Choo-Kheng career path to become a famous actress

The start of her acting career probably can be counted from the time when she appeared in a television commercial with Jackie Chan which caught the attention of the film production company called D&B Films of the D&B Group which was run by Dickson Poon who later married Michelle Yeoh. D&B Group managed the Charles Jourdan brand in Hong Kong.

Her acting career started humbly in a few commercials for Charles Jourdan together with well known actors Jackie Chan and Chow Yun-Fat which led to offer of a film contract. When she married Dickson Poon in 1988, she retired from acting at the insistence of her then husband Dickson Poon. Their marriage did not last long and they were divorced after 3 years. Michelle Yeoh returned to acting in 1992 with her comeback movie, Police Story 3. Police Story 3, incidentally, was partly filmed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Although Michelle Yeoh has had no formal martial arts training, she used her dancing skills to do many of her own stunts action and martial arts movies such as The Heroic Trio in 1993, and the Yuen Woo-ping films Tai Chi Master and Wing Chun in 1994, and of course the famous movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It can thus be said that she followed the footsteps of Jackie Chan who is famed for doing his own stunts.

Dato' Michelle Yeoh even have her own production company, Mythical Films which produced her first English movie, The Touch in 2002, the first film Michelle ever produced. The Touch was a romantic action adventure where Michelle stared as an acrobatic circus performer. The Touch was released in August 2002 in Asia and was Hong Kong's official entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2002. The Touch won the Best Co-Production Film at China's Huabiao Awards.

Personal life

As mentioned earlier, she had married to Hong Kong businessman, Dickson Poon, but divorced 3 years later. She is currently dating the French Chief Executive Officer of Scuderia Ferrari, Jean Todt. Talk is rife that they will be getting married soon.

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