Shaw died peacefully at his home in Hong Kong, surrounded by
his family, his company, Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB),
said in a statement.
One of Hong Kong cinema's defining figures, Shaw popularized
Chinese kung fu films in the West and helped turn the former
British colony into a "Hollywood East" over an 80-year career.
He set up Hong Kong's biggest free-to-air television operator,
TVB, in 1967 and served as its executive chairman until 2011,
helping to shape the city's media culture.
"Thanks to his wise leadership, TVB has its status today after
46 years," said TVB Executive Chairman Norman Leung.
A passionate film-lover from an early age, legend has it that
Shaw first cut his teeth in the business by distributing film reels on a bicycle
to rural cinemas in Singapore and Malaysia, giving poignancy to his name "Run
He started out helping his elder brothers Runje, Runde and Runme
set up a film studio in Shanghai in 1925. The brothers later
moved into Hong Kong — making and distributing films to a chain
of around 100 cinemas spread across other Asian markets such as
Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
Shaw eventually split from his brothers to set up his own studio
in the 1950s dubbed the dream factory, which ushered in a golden
era of Hong Kong film-making.
Shaw is also remembered as a philanthropist, especially fondly
in mainland China, where he donated 4.5 billion yuan ($744
million) over the years, mostly to education, according to Hong
Kong media reports. Many school buildings in the mainland are
named after him.
Chinese Internet users paid tribute to Shaw on Tuesday, saying
wealthy Chinese should follow his example.
"People say the Chinese hate rich people, but why do so many
Chinese mourn Run Run Shaw?" wrote one user of Sina Weibo,
China's Twitter-like microblog site. "It's because his name is
on school buildings everywhere, compared to so many Chinese
moguls who splurge on yachts, limousines and weddings."
KUNG FU CLASSICS
The Shaw studio produced about a thousand titles, including
melodramas, historical epics and kung fu classics like "The
One-armed Swordsman" — helping to redefine genres and lure new
cinema-goers not only in Hong Kong and Asia, but in the West.
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Shaw also invested in a number of co-productions,
most notably the Ridley Scott classic, "Blade Runner," starring
Harrison Ford, in 1982.
The studio also pioneered so-called "Wu Xia" or sword-play genre
films — which had frenetic fight scenes with mixed weapons.
Ang Lee's Oscar-winning "Crouching Tiger, Hidden
Dragon" is a striking modern example of the genre. The Shaw
influence is also evident in the films of kung fu legend Bruce Lee,
Jackie Chan and director John Woo.
While Shaw was famed for his business acumen and nose for spotting
and grooming new talent, he famously turned away a brash, young
actor who came to see him in the 1960s.
That spurned man was Bruce Lee, who later teamed up with Raymond
Chow, a former Shaw deputy-turned-rival, to make "The Big Boss" in
1971, propelling him to stardom.
In 1980, Shaw focused on television, becoming the chairman of TVB,
which grew into a successful television and entertainment empire
that remains a deep influence on popular culture in Hong Kong and
overseas Chinese communities.
In 2011, Shaw sold his entire 26 percent stake in
TVB to a consortium for HK$6.26 billion ($807 million). He retired
as chairman at the end of that year after holding the post for 30
years and was appointed chairman emeritus.
The tycoon also ran the so-called Shaw prizes, sometimes referred to
as Asia's answer to the Nobel prizes, which rewards excellence in
maths, astronomy and science, with a monetary prize of $1 million
for each laureate.
He was knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth in 1977 and received
the Grand Bauhinia Medal from the Hong Kong government in 1998.
Popularly known as "Luk Suk" or "Sixth Uncle," Shaw was born in
1907, the sixth child of a well-to-do family in the eastern Chinese
city of Ningbo.
Shaw married twice. His first wife died in 1987. He is survived by
his current wife, Mona Fong, two sons and two daughters.
(Additional reporting by James Pomfret,
and Li Hui in Beijing; editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Nick
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