Ms Yam Kim Fai



Born Yam Lee Chor and also known as Yam Yuen Yee, Cantonese opera virtuoso and film actress Yam Kim Fai learned the art of Cantonese opera under her aunt Siu Kiu Tin and then Wong Lui Hap. In 1939, she joined an all-woman opera troupe and began partnering with various leading ladies on stage, cross-dressing as the male lead. She was dashing and elegant, as evidenced by her moniker ‘the Audience Charmer’. Yam had begun making appearances in films in the pre-war years, but it was The Valiant Poon On Perplexed by Love in 1951 that cast her as the lead for the first time. She went on to play the leading part in more than 200 movies. Most saw her play the male protagonist or engaged in gender switching, as in Lady General Fa Muk-lan (1951), Lovesick (1952) and Whose Son Is This? (1954). The exceptions were The Bachelor Girl (1954) and The Maidservant’s Sad Tale (1954), where she played a woman. Yam is best remembered for her male scholar or martial roles in Cantonese opera works, many of which had been made into film such as The Nymph of the River Lo (1957), A Buddhist Recluse for 14 Years (1958), The Summer Snow (1959), The Flower Princess (1959) and The Legend of Purple Hairpin (1959). Yam appeared in a total of more than 300 films. She retired in 1968 after Tragedy of the Poet King (1968) and spent the rest of her life nurturing young talent for Cantonese opera. In 1995, she was presented with the 100 Years Opera Movie Hall Award at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

任劍輝女士 Ms Yam Kim Fai