The early experience of Donnie Yen, he has also endured a similarly long road to fame

Updated: April 15, 2016

Donnie Yen was born on July 27th,1963 in Guangdong and his family was a martial arts family, when he was 2 years old, he came to Hong Kong with his family and until he was at the age of 11, he emigrated to Boston, Donnie Yen’s mother was an famous international martial artist and Tai Chi teacher, so Donnie Yen learned Chinese Kung Fu since childhood which helped him to lay a good foundation on traditional Kung Fu.


Donnie grew up in an atmosphere of Martial arts, he had watched a lot of kung fu films when he was a child, because of this, he learned traditional and modern Wushu, Tai Chi, he could understand the internal and external martial rules. When he saw the Kung Fu movies that starring by Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan, he often mimic their movements, and even truancy to watch a kung fu movie.


In 1978, Donnie Yen was deeply affected by superstar Bruce Lee and took a fancy to the MMA, and then his mother sent him to a martial arts team in Shichahai Sports School in Beijing, Donnie became the first non-Chinese mainland students in his school, in 1982, after returning to America, he participated in the Wushu competitions and won the championship.


In 1984, Donnie Yen starring in the film Drunken Tai – chi and became famous, Drunken Tai Chi is a Hong Kong martial arts action film directed by Yuen Woo Ping and it was also Donnie Yen’s first major role. Donnie Yen had signed a four-film contract after winning an open talent search hosted by Yuen Woo Ping, and "Drunken Tai Chi" was one of the contracted films. "Drunken Tai Chi" was the last film in its distinctive genre of kung fu comedy.


In 1987, Donnie Yen Zhao came to Xi’an, meeting the Premier of Chang-june Zhao Wushu Academy to learn the traditional routine of Chinese Kung Fu which helped him to lay the foundation for his future Kung Fu career.

In 1988, Donnie starring the film ‘Yen Tiger Cage’, in 1989, he starring the film ‘In the Line of Duty 4: Witness, in 1990, he starring the film ‘Tiger Cage 2’


In 1992, at the invitation of the director Hark Tsui, Donnie Yen starring the film ‘New Dragon Gate Inn’, ‘Once Upon a Time in China II’, and got the Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Hong Kong Film Awards by the film ‘Once Upon a Time in China II’.


In 1993, Donnie Yen starring the film ‘Iron Monkey’, ‘Hero Among Heroes’ which directed by Woo-ping Yuen and also starring the film ‘Butterfly and Sword’, he became another Kung Fu star after Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Sammo Hung


In 1997, Donnie started to direct the movies, the film ‘Legend of the Wolf’ is a Hong Kong action-martial arts film directed and produced by, and starring Donnie Yen. The film also marked Yen's debut as a film director. In 1998, he directed the film ‘Ballistic Kiss’ and he got the Best young director award at Japan's " Yubari " film festival by this film.


1999, Donnie flying to Berlin, as the first Chinese film producers from Hong Kong, he worked as the action director of the German TV series ‘Code name: The Puma’. In 2000, Donnie Yen was invited to Germany, America, Japan and other places to do martial arts director.


In 2003, Donnie Yen did the action design for the film ‘The Twins Effect’ and got the 23rd Hong Kong Film Award for Best Choreographer.


In 2005, Donnie Yen starring the film ‘SPL: Sha Po Lang’, ‘Seven Swords’, and starring the film ‘Dragon Tiger Gate’ in 2006.


In 2007, Donnie Yen and Wilson Yip co-directed the film ‘Flash Point’, the Prequel of the film ‘SPL: Sha Po Lang’, Donnie Yen worked as a main actor, producer and action director.


In December 2008, Donnie Yen starring the movie ‘IP MAN’ directed by Wilson YIP and in 2009, by virtue of the film IP Man, Donnie Yen on the 16th Beijing Student Film Festival for best actor.


In 2010, Donnie Yen starring the film ‘IP Man 2’, ‘14 Blades’ and ‘Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen’      

In 2011, he starring a romantic comedy film ‘All's Well, Ends Well 2011’ and an action film ‘Wu Xia’, he got the 48th Golden Horse Award for Best Action Choreography by the film ‘Wu Xia’.


In February 2014, the film ‘The Monkey King’ starring by Donnie Yen released, in April, the film ‘Iceman’ starring by Donnie Yen released, In October, Donnie accepted the invitation of Hollywood to co-produce the film ‘Noodle Man’.


In 2015, Donnie Yen starring the film ‘IP MAN 3’ which officially released in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia on 24 December 2015, released in the United States on 22 January 2016, and was released in mainland China on 4 March 2016.


In 2016, Donnie Yen starring the film ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny’ a American-Chinese martial arts film directed by Yuen Woo-ping, It is also a sequel to the 2000 film ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’. The film was released in Hong Kong on February 18, in China on February 19 and in the United States on February 26, 2016.


It was reported, Donnie Yen would also starring the xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, an upcoming 2017 action film, The film will be released on January 20, 2017.




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