Before Cheng Pei-Pei kickstarts the trend of Action Girl in modern Wuxia martial arts cinema, someone needs to get the ball rolling first.
Ivy Ling Po (born Huang Yu-chun (黃裕君 , "Huang Yujun" in Hanyu Pinyin), later having her name officially changed to Ivy Ling-po (凌波, "Ling Bo" in Hanyu Pinyin), on 16 November 1939 in Shantou, Republic of China) is an actress, singer, Peking Opera performer and alumni of Shaw Brothers studios.
As a child, Ivy was adopted by another family from Xiamen after being sold by her birth family. Being forced into acting at age 12, Ivy's first roles are in low-budget, nowadays forgotten old Amoy (the Xiamen dialect) dramas, until she was spotted by Shaw Brothers director, Richard Li Hanxiang, who convinced her to partake in audition for the studio (then still in its infancy) who is actively looking for a new star.
Ivy Ling-po's first role for Shaw Brothers, a live-action adaptation of Dream of the Red Chamber (where she's the singing voice of Jia Baoyu, dubbing for Baoyu's actress Ren Jie), shot her to fame overnight, with subsequent roles for her being in the musical genre note , including adaptations of The Ballad of Mulan, The Butterfly Lovers (where she played Liang Shanbo; Li Hanxiang had been impressed by her singing voice as Jia Baoyu, and pushed for Ivy to have the role), Weaver and the Cowherd and numerous others. She did partake in numerous Wuxia films as well. She's also notable in taking on many male roles, which meant that she crossdresses a lot. In fact, she met her future husband Jin Han while filming Mulan in 1964 (yes, she was Mulan).
Ivy's stage name of "Ling Bo" was actually given to her by producer Leonard Ho (He Guan Chang, co-founder of Golden Harvest with Raymond Chow); in Li Hanxiang's memoir, he noted that he had been mistaken by many as the originator of the name "Ling Bo." For the record, the stage name he suggested for Ivy was "Huang Ying", which was opposed by Ivy's foster parents.
Ling-po would continue acting until 1987's Golden Swallow (no, not the Jimmy Wang Yu flick with the same name) before retiring and emigrating to Canada with Jin Han and sons.
It's worth noting that Ivy's middle son, Kenneth Bi note , is also part of the entertainment industry, as a screenwriter and director. She and her husband cameoed in Kenneth's 2004 movie Rice Rhapsody as an elderly couple.
Films from this performer:
- The Mighty One
- Duel For Gold
- Temple of the Red Lotus - in all 3 films
- The 14 Amazons
- Flight Man
- The Golden Seal
- The Crimson Charm
- Finger of Doom
- New Pilgrims To The West