HONG KONG (CelebrityAccess) Raymond Chow, 91, legendary film producer who introduced the world to Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, and who brought the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the big screen, has died.
Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s secretary of commerce and economic development, said in a statement Friday that Chow “helped nurture a pool of Hong Kong talents and brought them to the international stage.”
Chow was a one-time journalist who became a publicist for Shaw Brothers Studios, which was a mill for kung fu movies. He rose in its ranks and eventually crated his own company, Golden Harvest, in 1970 where he outmaneuvered Shaw Brothers to sign Bruce Lee. That led to movies like “Enter the Dragon,” the first Chinese martial arts film to be produced by Hollywood. It cost WArner Bros. $500,000 and earned more than $40 million, according to the Associated Press. Lee died days before its 1973 release.
Chow signed former stuntman Jackie Chan in 1979 a year after the film “Drunken Master” was released. Chow is credited with giving Chan his first Hollywood role in “The Cannonball Run” but it was 1995’s “Rumble in the Bronx” that gave Chan worldwide fame.
“Mr. Chow gave me a chance to follow my dreams,” he told Variety in 2000. “I think today that without Golden Harvest, there is no Jackie Chan.”
Golden Harvest also brought Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the silver screen; its last film was in 2003 and Chow sold his controlling interest in the company four years later to a Chinese businessman, according to the AP.