Lam Ching-ying

Lam Ching-ying
Lam Ching Ying

Lam Ching Ying
Chinese name 林正英
Pinyin Lín Zhèngyĩng (Mandarin)
Jyutping Lam4 Zing3jing1 (Cantonese)
Birth name 林根寶 (Traditional)
Lím Gẽnbǎo (Mandarin)
Lam4 Gan1bou2 (yue)
Ancestry Shanghai, China
Born 27 December 1952(1952-12-27)
Hong Kong
Died 8 November 1997(1997-11-08) (aged 44)
Hong Kong
Occupation Actor
Martial artist
Years active 1970—1996

Lam Ching Ying (Chinese: 林正英; birth name: Lam Gun-bo 林根寶; 27 December 1952 - 8 November 1997) was a Hong Kong actor, action director and director. A physically talented and graceful martial artist, Lam was best known for playing the stoic Taoist priest in Mr. Vampire (1985). Lam died in 1997 of liver cancer.



Early life

The third of seven children, Lam was born in Hong Kong attended Shun Yi Association Elementary School in Hong Kong for two years before leaving school. In 1963/4, he joined The Spring and Autumn Drama School, the "other" Peking Opera School in Hong Kong, which was ran by Madame Fan Fok-fa (Fun Guk-fa), the "rival" of Yu Jim Yuen where Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung were trained at around the same time. In actuality, the schools were friends and students from both schools often mingled. A year after joining, Lam made his first public appearance. Madame reported Lam as a disobedient student who was beyond her ability to handle.

At 17, Lam became a stuntman and martial arts coach at the Shaw Brothers Studio. Due to his slender build, he was often called upon to substitute female actors. He received $HK60 a day, $HK20 of which went to his master.

At 19, he was hand-picked by Bruce Lee for the role as assistant action director on The Big Boss. After The Big Boss, Lam continued to work with Lee until Lee's death. Lam later joined Hung's stuntman association (known as the Hung Kar Pan).


In 1982, Lam won the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Action Direction, in the film Prodigal Son. Prodigal Son featured what is widely acknowledged as amongst the best Wing Chun caught on film, performed by Lam. He also underlined his acting talent by convincingly playing a frail, elderly Taoist priest in The Dead and the Deadly (1983).

Lam's star did not rise until 1985, with the release of Mr. Vampire, the movie that fueled the hopping vampire genre. Lam was nominated for Best Actor for his role as the taoist priest. The character was an engaging mixture of naivety and stoic authority, and became a favourite for audiences. Lam was to reprise this role many times throughout his career.

Shortly after the release of Mr. Vampire, the Golden Harvest film company attempted to make an English version of the movie with Tanya Roberts (of Charlie's Angels) and Jack Scalia. Lam's role was played by long time kung fu film actor Yuen Wah. Due to various difficulties, the film was never made.


The success of Mr. Vampire eventually became burdensome on Lam, who found himself typecast in the role. As the hopping vampire genre began to lose its popularity, quality roles for Lam also began to dry, aside from small roles in The Swordsman (1991) and a supporting role in Pom Pom and Hot Hot, most of his roles were in low-budget movies. Lam also briefly became a director in the film, Green Hornet (1994).

In 1995, Lam was offered the starring role in a television series called Vampire Expert (殭屍道長). Shown on ATV, the series was a success and revived Lam's career. A second series aired in 1996, and in 1997, production on the third series began. The production was halted when Lam was informed he had liver cancer. Contrary to rumours that the cancer was caused by years of heavy drinking, the cancer was hereditary.


On November 8, 1997, Lam died at St Theresa's Hospital in Hong Kong, due to his liver cancer.


The first series of My Date with a Vampire produced by ATV was dedicated to him, and the entire series was loosely based in the future of Vampire Expert.


Film roles include:


1983 Hong Kong Film Awards Nominated and won "Best Action Choreography" in Prodigal Son

1984 Hong Kong Film Awards Nominated and won "Best Action Choreography" in Winners And Sinners

1986 Hong Kong Film Awards Nominated for "Best Action Choreography" in My Lucky Stars

1986 Hong Kong Film Awards Nominated for "Best Supporting Actor" in Mr Vampire

See also

External links