Danny Lee Sau-yin was born in Shanghai in 1953, before his family moved to Hong Kong in 1955. He quit secondary school after Form 4 due to family financial difficulties and worked at various jobs, including life guard, handyman and window installer. He joined the actor-training program of Shaw Brothers in 1970 and became a contract player upon completion. His physical abilities, the result of trainings in judo and karate, caught the eye of action maestro Chang Cheh, who cast him in the martial-arts film The Water Margin (1972). Two years after that film, Lee played the lead in River of Fury (1973), directed by Chang Tseng-chai. In a ten-year tenure at Shaw Brothers, Lee appeared in over 40 films, including lead roles in the big budget sci-fi film The Super Ultraman (1975), the special-effects King Kong-knockoff The Mighty Peking Man (1977) and, as the titled late superstar, Bruce Lee And I (1976). Yet, with most of his outings in supporting roles, he never attained stardom at the studio.
Beginning in 1980, Lee started to diversify, working behind the camera as associate producer on The Informer (1980), Murderer Pursues (1981) and Mobfix Patrol (1981), all directed by Wong Chung. He then took up the helm, co-directing One Way Only (1981) with Nam Naichoi. After his contract with Shaw Brothers expired, Lee wrote, directed and starred in Funny Boys (1982), a police thriller-comedy that showcased his multifaceted talents.
Lee then joined Always Good Films, for which he wrote, directed and starred in the police dramas Oh My Cop (1983), Law with Two Phases (1984) and Law Enforcer (1986), establishing the trademark persona of a fiercely-dedicated cop while consolidating a star status. For Law with Two Phases, he won Best Actor accolades at the Golden Horse Awards and the Hong Kong Film Awards. In 1987, Lee formed his own production company, Magnum Films, which produced The Killer (1989), the John Woo-directed gun opera which played an instrumental role in winning international acclaim for Hong Kong cinema, Road Warriors (1990), Legend of the Dragon (1991), Organized Crime & Triad Bureau (1994) and Twist (1995). In the 1990s, Lee made mostly police dramas for the video market and in the 2000s, he worked mainly in Mainland China, acting in television series.
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
||Legend of the Dragon|
||Law with Two Phases|
||Oh My Cop|
||One Way Only||NAM Nai Choi|