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Thread: TVB second banana actors of the 1970s/1980s who deserved to have more starring roles

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Default TVB second banana actors of the 1970s/1980s who deserved to have more starring roles

    Hong Kong's TVB has turned out some great acting talent over the years, especially during the 1970s and 1980s. A few of their former stars such as Chow Yun Fat, Tony Leung, and Andy Lau, have since gone on to become international superstars.

    There were a number of great actors from that period, however, who appeared prominently in TVB's series in memorable supporting roles, but seldom had the opportunity to actually take on a starring role for TVB.

    I'm thinking of:

    Name: Wong Wan Choi
    Approximate Dates of TVB Employment: 1972(?) - 1987
    Memorable Roles: Fa Mun Lau (LUK SIU FUNG, 1970s and 1980s versions), Au Yeung Hak (LOCH '82)
    Current Status: Retired from entertainment industry
    Discussion: Wong Wan Choi became a TVB legend for his portrayal of the blind wuxia hero Fa Mun Lau in TVB's LUK SIU FUNG adaptation. His performance in this role was widely acclaimed and well remembered to this day. So excellent was Wong in this role that when TVB made a new LUK SIU FUNG series in the 1980s, he was the only actor who was asked to reprise his original role from the 1970s series. A versatile actor who was also great at playing villains, Wong Wan Choi was also memorable as Au Yeung Hak in LOCH '82. He appeared in dozens of series for TVB during the 1970s and 1980s, but never as the star of any of those series. He was an actor who could have carried a starring role, but never had that opportunity at TVB.


    Name: Wong Yeun Sun
    Approximate Dates of TVB Employment: 1973(?) - 1980
    Memorable Roles: Sai Mun Chui Sheut (LUK SIU FUNG), "Little Fish" (THE TWINS), Ah Fei (THE ROMANTIC SWORDSMAN)
    Current Status: Unknown. Retired from entertainment industry in 1989 and became a Buddhist monk in 1990. *Rumored* to have left the monastery and returned to a secular life, but outside the entertainment industry.
    Discussion: Several actors have portrayed the Sai Mun Chui Sheut character from Gu Long's LUK SIU FUNG novel, but none have ever topped Wong Yeun Sun, who portrayed the character in TVB's 1970s adaptation of said novel. Wong was "Mr. Gu Long" during the 1970s: whenever TVB needed someone to portray a cool heroic swordsman for a Gu Long wuxia series, Wong Yeun Sun was the "go to guy." His deft martial arts moves and commanding screen presence made him ideally suited to these roles. As great as Wong's performances were, and as memorable as characters such as Sai Mun Chui Sheut and Ah Fei were, one must remember that SMCS and AF were both *supporting* characters in their respective novels (albeit very important and prominent supporting characters). Only "Little Fish" was a starring role for Wong, and even then, he had to share the spotlight with Sek Sau's Fa Mo Keut. Wong Yeun Sun didn't get any real starring roles until he left TVB and went to RTV, where he was memorably cast as the title character of FOK YEUN GAP.

    Name: Kent Tong (Tong Jen Yip)
    Approximate Dates of TVB Employment: 1980 - 1986
    Memorable Roles: Chan Hon Lam (THE BUND), Deun Yu (DGSD '81), Fok Do (ROCH '83)
    Current Status: Mostly retired from entertainment industry. Appears in cameo roles in occassional film projects.
    Discussion: Kent Tong was the first of TVB's "Five Tigers" of the 1980s to make his mark on the public consciousness. He was the first of the new wave of lead actors for TVB to emerge in the 1980s as the Adam Cheng/Chow Yun Fat generation began to age beyond "young leading man" roles. After memorably portraying Chan Hon Lam in THE BUND, Tong was cast as Deun Yu in DGSD '81, a role that he conducted well. It should have been his stepping stone to greater stardom, but in the next two years, Tong would be leapfrogged by his fellow Tigers Felix Wong, Andy Lau, Michael Miu, and Tony Leung. After his starring role in DGSD '81 (in which he had to share the spotlight with Felix Wong and Bryan Leung), Tong found himself relegated to more supporting and villainous roles. DGSD '81 represented the highlight of his career.

    Each of the above three actors could have sustained more starring roles, but never had that opportunity with TVB. It's a shame because all three were excellent actors.

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    Moderator pemberly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    Name: Wong Wan Choi
    Approximate Dates of TVB employment: 1972(?) - 1987
    Memorable Roles: Fa Mun Lau (LUK SIU FUNG, 1970s and 1980s versions), Au Yeung Hak (LOCH '82)
    i remember my parents talking about him and how he never became a big star. they said it was because he was a little...err....on the feminine side.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    Name: Kent Tong (Tong Jen Yip)
    Approximate Dates of TVB Employment: 1980 - 1986
    Memorable Roles: Chan Hon Lam (THE BUND), Deun Yu (DGSD '81), Fok Do (ROCH '83)
    i thought kent tong's career went downhill after barbara yung's suicide? i'm sure there are some fans of hers who blamed him.

    a shame, because i thought he used to be kinda cute. but now, he looks like he's gone bald and gained 200 lbs. and i vaguely remember him playing some perverted gangster in some movie.
    nytimes: Every hr you have 10 minutes where you’re not doing anything productive at work, & you can’t look at porn. So you make a comment & fulfill this desire to show yourself off as a smarty-pants.

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    Moderator Ken Cheng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemberly View Post
    i remember my parents talking about him and how he never became a big star. they said it was because he was a little...err....on the feminine side.
    Maybe by 1970s standards, but compared to today's actors, Wong Wan Choi is a he-man alpha male.

    i thought kent tong's career went downhill after barbara yung's suicide? i'm sure there are some fans of hers who blamed him.
    It seemed to me that TVB had already started passing Tong over in favor of (Felix) Wong, Lau, Miu, and (Tony) Leung even before the entire brouhaha with Barbara Yung's death. TVB seemed to find him more useful as a young villain than a young star.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    Maybe by 1970s standards, but compared to today's actors, Wong Wan Choi is a he-man alpha male.
    since you're a man of today, is it safe to say you're more feminine than Wong Wan Choi?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cheng View Post
    It seemed to me that TVB had already started passing Tong over in favor of (Felix) Wong, Lau, Miu, and (Tony) Leung even before the entire brouhaha with Barbara Yung's death. TVB seemed to find him more useful as a young villain than a young star.
    well, compared to some of the other stars of that era, he was kinda....puny, haha. he had that spoiled boyish look, making him not all that suitable to take the lead. tony leung was boyish looking as well, but seemed more mischievous and played comedic roles well.
    nytimes: Every hr you have 10 minutes where you’re not doing anything productive at work, & you can’t look at porn. So you make a comment & fulfill this desire to show yourself off as a smarty-pants.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pemberly View Post
    since you're a man of today, is it safe to say you're more feminine than Wong Wan Choi?
    I'm no actor, and as my musical tastes suggest, I'm a bit of a relic.

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    OMG!!!!!! Wong Wan Choi is soooooooooooo HOT! Well, not now anyway. My favorite all-time character is Fa Moon Lau, portrayed by Wong Wan Choi in 1980 something. I LOVED his pairing with Sheung Sheung. He truly seemed to like her!

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    That did not mean anything
    Last edited by icerinkplink; 07-16-13 at 05:23 PM.

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    [QUOTE=pemberly;765266]i remember my parents talking about him and how he never became a big star. they said it was because he was a little...err....on the feminine side.

    He is NOT feminine! If he was, how could he have been married?! To a woman?! How do you explain that, genius?!

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    Okay, guys, FYI here, Wong Wan Choi actually DID take on a starring role, I think. He starred with LIza Wang in Princess Chang Ping. They looked soooooo awesome! Not sure if that was with TVB though.

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