GONG LI Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Gong Li                                                                                     
Born: 31 December 1965 Shenyang, China                                                           
Gong Li (born December 31, 1965) is a Chinese film actress. She first came into international     
prominence through close collaboration with Chinese director Zhang Yimou and is                   
credited with helping bring Chinese cinema to Europe and the United States.                       
Gong Li was born in Shenyang, Liaoning, China, the fifth child in her family.                     
Her father was a professor of economics and her mother, who was 40 when Gong was                 
born, was a teacher. Gong grew up in Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province.                     
She knew from a young age that she wanted to be an actress, and at school she                     
excelled at singing and dancing almost to the exclusion of other subjects. She                   
was eventually accepted to the Beijing Central College of Drama in 1985 and                       
graduated in 1989. She was still a student there when Zhang Yimou chose her                       
in 1987 for the lead role in his first film as a director.                                       
Over the next several years after her 1987 debut in Red Sorghum, Gong received                   
both local and international acclaim for her roles in several more Zhang Yimou                   
films, becoming his muse. She appeared in Ju Dou in 1990. Her performance in                     
the Oscar-nominated Raise the Red Lantern thrust her into the international                       
spotlight. and The Story of Qiu Ju, for which she was named Best Actress at                       
the 1992 Venice Film Festival. The roles help solidify her reputation as,                         
according to Asiaweek, one of the "world's most glamorous movie stars and an                     
elegant throwback to Hollywood's golden era." Gong and Zhang, however were                       
not only colleagues but lovers. When Gong ended their personal relationship in                   
1995 (marrying a businessman the following year), their professional                             
relationship ended as well.                                                                       
In 1993 she received a New York Film Critics Circle award for her role in                         
Farewell My Concubine. Directed by Chen Kaige, the film was at the time her                       
first major role with a director other than Zhang Yimou. In 2006, Premiere                       
Magazine ranked her performance as the 89th greatest performance of all time.                     
With her ascent and influence, Gong began to criticize the censorship policy in                   
China. Her films Farewell My Concubine and The Story of Qiu Ju were both banned                   
in her native land, reportedly for being thinly-veiled critiques of the                           
government. In regards to the sexual material in Ju Dou, one official called                     
the film "a bad influence on the physical and spiritual health of young people."                 
Gong wrote the introduction to the 2001 book "Chinese Opera".                                     
Despite her high profile, Gong put off working on Hollywood films for years, due                 
to both her lack of confidence in speaking English and her discontent with the                   
types of roles that had been offered to her. Her first major English-language                     
role came in 2005 when she starred as the beautiful but vindictive Hatsumomo in                   
Memoirs of a Geisha. Her performance met generally rave reviews.                                 
Her other English-language roles to date have been in Miami Vice in 2006 and                     
Hannibal Rising in 2007. In all three films, she learned her English lines