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Chow Yun-Fat was named "The Coolest Actor in the World," by the Los Angeles Times in 1995. He starred in the Chinese action film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
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Over the next decade, Chow became well known among Hong Kong TV and film audiences for his roles in the prime time soap Hotel, the gangster series Shanghai Bund, and films like The Story of Woo Viet (1981). In the mid-1980s, after a string of poorly received films, many thought his career was over. It was the landmark Hong Kong gangster drama A Better Tomorrow (1986), directed by John Woo, that made Chow an international superstar and established his reputation as a uniquely kind-hearted and honorable action hero. The film broke all box office records in China at the time and made Woo one of the world’s most sought-after action directors. Chow and Woo teamed on a number of other successful action films, including A Better Tomorrow II (1987), The Killer (1989), and Hard Boiled (1992).
An Autumn's Tale (1987) and All About Ah Long (1990). He also became a cult hero in America--the writer-director Quentin Tarantino, a huge Chow fan, reportedly based his debut film, Reservoir Dogs (1992) partly on Chow's 1987 film City on Fire--along with Woo, who moved to Los Angeles in 1992 to begin a career in Hollywood. Chow began studying English in 1996; two years later, he made his own American debut in The Replacement Killers, an action film co-starring Mira Sorvino. The film met with mediocre success, but his next effort, a police drama called The Corruptor (1999), fared better among critics. Chow moved beyond the shoot-'em-up genre in late 1999, with his role as King Mongkut in a remake of the 1946 classic Anna and the King of Siam, opposite Jodie Foster.
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