I’d said many times that I dare not make martial arts films, because I’d never be better than my sifu Chang Cheh. I think it’s better that when I act in martial arts films, whether in China or Hong Kong, I can share my experience and views of the martial arts world with the director. Directing (martial arts films) myself, I would never be better than sifu, and I would bring shame to him.
(Excerpted from Wei Junzi, Looking Lightly at Jiang Hu: John Chiang, July 2009, http://www.rxgl.net/html/wuxiayingyin/2009-08/1453p2.html)
John Chiang (a.k.a. David Chiang) was born in 1947 in Jiangsu, China, to parents who were both actors. His father is Yan Hua and his mother, Hung Wei, both worked in Mandarin films. At age 4, in 1951, after his father passed away, Chiang entered film as a child actor, appearing in Beautiful Corpse in the Bath (1952). He later appeared with his older brother Paul Chun and younger sister Yan Hui in Little Angels of the Street (1957), the inaugural project of stepfather Erh Kuang’s Hsin Tien Films. They went on to act together in several films, including The Vagabond Boy (1958) and Street Boys (1960).
In his youth, he once made his living as construction worker and office boy. He started training for martial arts stunts in 1965, soon working steadily as a stuntman, often performing for actresses because of his small stature. Jumping down two floors through a window in The Golden Swallow (1968), he was discovered by director Chang Cheh, who recognized the special quality in Chiang and wrote characters tailored for him. Chiang became a major star, appearing in dozens of films, most of them martial arts pictures. He was awarded Best Actor by the Asian Film Festival for Vengeance! (1970).
With the support of Chang, he started directing, his first work The Drug Addict (1974), followed by A Mad World of Fools (1974), both products of Chang’s company Chang’s Film. In 1976, he formed Wang & Chiang Films in Taiwan with fellow martial arts star Jimmy Wang Yu, co-directing and co-starring in One-Armed Swordsmen (1977). Later forming Zenith Film Production with his younger brother Derek Yee, he directed the comedy The Legend of the Owl (1981). He directed at a steady clip in the 1980s, including Heaven Can Help (1984) for Cinema City, and, for D&B, Silent Love (1986) and The Wrong Couples (1987), the latter winning Best Actress for Josephine Siao at the Hong Kong Film Awards. His last directorial effort is Mother of a Different Kind (1995).
Chiang also acted regularly, including television shows like Dynasty (1980), Princess Cheung Ping (1981), Fate of the Clairvoyant (1994), Revolving Doors of Vengeance (2005) and Rooms to Let (2009).
He was one of the five founders of the Hong Kong Film Directors’ Guild. In 1992, he immigrated to Vancouver, Canada, with wife, actress Maggie Li, returning to Hong Kong in 2007.
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
||Mother of a Different Kind|
||Will of Iron|
||When East Meets West|
||My Dear Son|
||The Wrong Couples|
||Heaven Can Help|
||The Legend of the Owl|
||The Drug Addict|
||A Mad World of Fools|