- POSTED: 07 Jan 2014 10:45
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Hong Kong media mogul Run Run Shaw has died at age 107.
HONG KONG: Hong Kong media mogul Run Run Shaw has died at age 107.
No cause of death was given, but a statement from his company Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) said Sir Run Run died peacefully in his home in Hong Kong. He was surrounded by his family.
Hong Kong's chief executive Leung Chun-ying, leader of the city of seven million people, praised Sir Run Run's legacy.
"Sir Run Run Shaw has for a long time promoted the entertainment industry in Hong Kong. His philanthropy also has spread from Hong Kong to China and beyond. He is an elder that we very much respect," Leung told reporters.
Sir Run Run was born as Shao Ren Leng in Ningbo, in Zhejiang province in China, in 1907, and he later anglicised his name to Run Run Shaw.
In Hong Kong, he was popularly known as ‘Luk Suk’ or ‘Sixth Uncle’, as he was the sixth of seven siblings.
Sir Run Run was influential in the growth of Southeast Asia's entertainment industry in its early years.
As a teenager, he helped his elder brother Run Me Shaw set up the Shaw Organisation in Singapore, building an overseas distribution market for Chinese films.
Their first cinema in the city-state was a simple wood-built shack known as The Empire in Tanjong Pagar.
The Shaws were instrumental in establishing the local film industry in the 1930s.
The Shaw Brothers produced both Chinese and Malay films, and was responsible for "The Golden Age of Malay Cinema" when over 300 films were produced during the post-war period through to the 1960s.
The legendary P Ramlee featured in a fair number of their hit releases.
After the war, Sir Run Run moved to Hong Kong where he built the famous Shaw Brothers Studio, and helped launch the careers of countless stars.
The only talent Sir Run Run could not attract was martial arts star Bruce Lee, who worked with Shaw's former employee Raymond Chow at Golden Harvest.
Shaw Brothers Studio has since produced around 1,000 titles, including "The 36th Chamber of Shaolin" and "Five Fingers of Death".
The studio, which mostly produced Chinese-language films, dominated Hong Kong's "Movie Town", and bred local directors -- some of whom would later reach the top of their industry in Hollywood, such as John Woo.
In 1967, Sir Run Run turned his attention to television, and launched Hong Kong’s biggest free-to-air television operator, TVB, starting what many called the golden age of television entertainment in Hong Kong.
He served as TVB's executive chairman until 2011.
Veteran broadcaster Robert Chua was with TVB at the start, and helped create and produce one of its most popular variety programmes at the time, Enjoy Yourself Tonight.
Mr Chua, founder of Live Interactive Centre, said: "Sir Run Run was a pioneer and visionary because his film studio Shaw Brothers was very big, and he could very well not be involved in television. But he invested in TVB and got into it, because a normal film mogul would say, ‘Why should I go into television? Free TV would eat into my audience.’"
In 1977, the film tycoon was knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth for his public service as a long-time backer of the Red Cross.
He also received Hong Kong’s highest honour, the Golden Bauhinia medal, in 1998.
David Lee, vice chairman of Singapore Film Society, said: "Besides the legacy of the content, the films itself, I think it's also his (Run Run Shaw's) personal work ethic and his love for movies because I know that he's such a huge film buff, and he will watch almost every single film produced by Shaw studios and even films from the competitors.
"This kind of work ethic seems to permeate and translate to those people who have worked with him, and to the company culture as well. For example, Quentin Tarantino is the biggest fan of some of the Shaw action kung fu films or cult films. Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill even paid direct tribute by showcasing the Shaw logo at the beginning of his film, so that influence, it speaks for itself."
Apart from the film business, the brothers also ran the famed Great World and New World amusement parks till 1964 and 1987 respectively.
Sir Run Run leaves behind his second wife, Mona Fong Yat-wah and two sons and two daughters. His first wife Lady Lily Shaw died in 1987.