Jimmy Wang Yu, Actor in More Than 70 Movies, Dead at 79

Jimmy Wang Yu, who starred in the iconic Hong Kong action movie One-Armed Swordsman, died in Taipei. His daughter, Linda Wang, announced the sad news on Instagram Tuesday. Wang was 79 and starred in over 80 movies. He battled an undisclosed illness for six years.

Wang was born in Shanghai, China, and moved to Hong Kong, where he became a star working at Shaw Brothers Studio in the 1960s, reports Deadline. In 1967, he starred in the first One-Armed Swordsman movie, one of the first films in the wuxia genre. It was the first Hong Kong movie to gross HK$1 million, and Wang became an instant superstar. Wang also starred in the 1969 sequel, Return of the One-Armed Swordsman. In 1970, he starred in another smash hit, The Chinese Boxer.

Wang made over 80 moves between 1965 and 2013 when he retired. He also directed 12 movies, including The Hammer of God, One-Armed Boxer, The Man from Hong Kong, The One-Armed Swordsmen, The Savage Killers, and Return of the Chinese Boxer. He made his final film appearance in the acclaimed horror movie Soul.

The actor also made headlines outside the movie industry. In 1981, he faced a murder charge that was later dropped due to lack of evidence. He also claimed he was hired to assassinate a politician but never went through with it. In 2011, he suffered a stroke and lost strength in the left side of his body, notes PEOPLE. In 2019, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan.

"The contributions you've made to kung fu movies, and the support and wisdom you've given to the younger generations will always be remembered in the industry," Jackie Chan wrote on Facebook. "And your movies will always remain in the hearts of your fans. We will miss you!"


Filmmaker Ang Lee also sent his condolences to Wang's family. "It's with the deepest sorrow that we learned of his passing today," the Life of Pi director said. "For many fans like me, he represents the vibe of a certain era. His films and his heroic spirit will be deeply missed."