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Name: Cheung Maggie
Native name: 張曼玉
Given name: Cheung Margaret
Nationality: Hong Konger
Born: September 20, 1964
Born in Hong Kong, Maggie Cheung traces her family roots to Shanghai. In 1971, she entered Primary one of St. Paul's Convent School. Her middle-class family emigrated from Hong Kong to the United Kingdom when she was eight. She spent part of her childhood and adolescence in the UK. She returned to Hong Kong at the age of 18 in 1982 for vacation, but ended up staying for modeling assignments and other commitments; she also shortly obtained a sales job at Lane Crawford department store. In 1983, she entered the Miss Hong Kong pageant, where she was the first runner-up, also winning the Miss Photogenic award. She was a semi-finalist in the Miss World pageant the same year.
Prior to 1988, her screen appearance was often limited to cameo roles. One of Cheung's notable movie roles then is that of "May", the girlfriend of police detective "Kevin" Chan Ka Kui in Jackie Chan's Police Story series (however, she did not reprise the role in Police Story 4: First Strike or New Police Story). Maggie frequently cited her performance in the movie As Tears Go By (1988), her first of many collaborations with film director Wong Kar-wai 王家衛, as the piece that truly began her serious acting career. In Centre Stage, she performed in Cantonese, Mandarin and Shanghainese fluently, switching languages with ease. In Clean, she performed in fluent English, French and Cantonese. She is a polyglot as a result of her upbringing in Hong Kong and England.
Audiences outside Asia have become increasingly familiar with her work, including Irma Vep, Centre Stage, Chinese Box, In the Mood for Love, Hero, 2046, and, most recently, Clean.
Cheung was a jury member at the 1997 Berlin Film Festival, the 1999 Venice Film Festival and the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. For the first time in its history, the 59th Cannes Film Festival (2006) used a photographic image of a real actress on its poster â€” that of Cheung.
On 7 February 2007, The New York Times rated Maggie Cheung as one of the 22 Great Performers in 2006 for her Cannes winning role as Emily in Clean. After 25 years of making movies, she decided to retire from acting to pursue a career as a film composer. She would like to compose music and paint, after fulfilling her acting potential. Her most recent film appearance was as the goddess Mazu in the film Ten Thousand Waves by British filmmaker and installation artist Isaac Julien.
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