Sir Run Run Shaw


Film Entrepreneur

Born Shao Renleng, film and television mogul Sir Run Run Shaw was also known as Shao Yifu and Siu Yat Fu. In 1924, he and his three elder brothers co-founded Unique Film Productions in Shanghai. Two years later, he moved to Singapore to help open up the market for his family’s entertainment business. When Shaw & Sons, his second brother’s studio, proved unable to meet the overwhelming demand for films in Southeast Asia, Sir Run Run left for Hong Kong in 1957, where he established Shaw Brothers Studio and Shaw Brothers (Hong Kong) Limited. Located in Clear Water Bay, Shaw Brothers was the largest studio in Southeast Asia, one which not only made movies but also recruited and trained talent for the industry. The immensely prolific studio produced more than 800 works in Hong Kong, in a wide range of genres. There were Cantonese titles such as Sweet Girl in Terror (1958) and Young Rock (1959); Huangmeidiao opera films like The Kingdom and the Beauty (1959) and The Love Eterne (1963); martial arts classics such as Come Drink with Me (1966) and One-Armed Swordsman (1967); and epics including Princess Yang Kwei Fei (1955), The Magnificent Concubine (1962) and The Empress Dowager (1975). These movies were immensely popular and many won accolades at the Asian Film Festival and Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards. In the mid-1960s, seeing potential in television entertainment, Sir Run Run founded TVB (Television Broadcasts Limited) and became its chairman of the board some years later. Shaw Brothers ceased production in 1987, but continued to invest in films: Justice, My Foot! (1992), Lifeline (1997) and 72 Tenants of Prosperity (2010) were among the works that benefited from its backing. Sir Run Run was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 51st Asia-Pacific Film Festival in 2006, and the Century Achievement Award at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2007 for more than eight decades of unstinting dedication and enormous contributions to the film industry.