Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh Choo-Kheng, is an actress and a stuntwoman, notable for doing her stunts in her actions films in Hong Kong, gaining widespread recognition in the early 1990s. She was born on 6th August 1962 in Ipoh. She was born to Janet Yeoh, a lawyer and Yeoh Kian, an MCA politician. She started learning ballet just at the age of four. When she was 15, her family moved to London where she majored from the Royal Academy of Dance. But a spinal injury hampered her dreams, and she did a B.A degree in creative arts, minoring in drama. She won the Miss Malaysia beauty pageant at the age of 20. She further won Queen of the Pacific beauty pageant and represented Malaysia in Miss World 1983. She debuted with martial arts movies like Yes, Madam, performing her stunts. She married Dickson Poon in 1987 and took a break from acting, but returned five years later after they separated. She made a comeback with the movie Police Story 3:
Super Cop and a few other movies after that as well. She finally achieved wider fame when she appeared in the
James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies. Her portrayal of Wai Lin was warmly received by critics, and the movie was one of the biggest hits that year. She also starred in the Chinese movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, for which she received a BAFTA nomination. She performed all the fighting sequences on her own as well for both the movies. She learned English and Malay, and later Cantonese as well. She turned a producer with the 2002 film The Touch, through her production house, Mythical Films.
She appeared in a few other English movies, namely Sunshine and
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. She was also the brand ambassador of Guerlain. She has also starred in two biopics, that of Soong Ai-ling in the Soong Sisters and Aung San Suu Kyi in
The Lady. She has also appeared on television in the TV show Strike Back and plays a North Korean spy called Li-Na. In 2013 she was conferred with Panglima Setia Mahkota, giving her the title of Tan Sri. She was a jury member at the 49th Berlin Film Festival. She was also conferred with the title Dato. She was chosen by People magazine in the list of “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” in 1997. Apart from these she has won numerous awards from various countries for her outstanding contribution to
World Cinema. She was the chief guest at the International Film Festival of India in 2013 as well. After splitting from Dickson Poon, a Hong Kong-based entrepreneur, in 1992, she got engaged to Jean Todt and confirmed the news in 2008. She is a staunch supporter of Save China’s Tigers project, which aims at protecting the endangered South China Tiger. Her career as an actress has been successful, and we hope to see more of her heroics on the big screen.