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Co-founder of the Shaw Brothers Studios Sir Run Run Shaw dead at 106

Life of Sir Run Run Shaw
Life of Sir Run Run Shaw
Mike Clarke

Sir Run Run Shaw passed away from natural causes in his native Hong Kong Tuesday (local time), he was 106 years old. Shaw along with his older brother Run Me founded Shaw Brothers Studio in 1958. The Shaw family has been involved with the cinema since the 1920's and the Studio was an expansion into the Hong Kong market and over the years into Asia and throughout the globe. The Shaw Brothers shield logo (based upon Warner Brothers) has become synonymous with the unique style of films that came out of their studio from the late 60's through the early 80's. But Sir Shaw also look towards the burgeoning television market and took advantage of it and founded TVB (Television Broadcasts Limited) making the Shaw Brothers a media mogul and entertainment powerhouse in film and television.

Sir Run Run Shaw

Born on November 19, 1907 in Shanghai, China Sir Shaw was the youngest of six brothers and joined his brothers in the film business at the age of 19. Along with his older brother Run Me, the Shaw brothers started the Shaw Organisation as a forerunner to their own major studio. The company was a film distribution center and movie theater chain that was the foundation of Shaw Brothers Studio. Sir Run Run based his studio upon the old Hollywood system. Stars were created from within, actors were signed to exclusive studio contracts and went through extensive dramatic training. The company created many well known actors and filmmaker such as Chang Cheh, Jimmy Wang Yu, Ti Lung, David Chiang, Alexander Fu Sheng, Lo Lieh and the Liu brothers. Despite being mostly known for their kung-fu films, Shaw Brothers Studio produce a variety of film such as comedies, dramas, horror and musicals.

Through Sir Run Run Shaw's business moves, the family prospered and because of his contributions to entertainment he was appointed with a CBE in 1974, knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1977, awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal in 1998 and received a special BAFTA award on December 3, 2013 for his work in cinema. Sir Shaw was also a well known philanthropist who gave away millions of dollars to charities and a patron of the arts as well. His generous donations have been used in building hospitals, schools and colleges along with numerous grants and scholarships for poor and needy students.

Besides being an Executive Producer for a majority of the Shaw Brothers Studios productions, Sir Run Run Shaw was an associate producer on a few western films such as "Blade Runner", "Meteor", "Blood Beach", "Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold" and "Cannonball!". Sir Shaw also had a working relationship with Hammer Studios during that company's waning years. The two companies collaborated on two productions "Shatter" (co-starring Shaw Brothers star Ti Lung and Stuart Whitman) and "The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires" (co-starring Shaw Brothers star David Chiang and Peter Cushing). In the early 70's Sir Shaw also co-produced another crossover film with an Italian film company for the film "The Stranger and the Gunfighter" (co-starring Shaw Brothers star Lo Lieh and Lee Van Cleef).

Sir Run Run Shaw was a brilliant businessman and a producer on a 1,000 films who's innovative ideas and risk taking turned a small family owned company in a media empire. He was also a dedicated family man and philanthropist who gave back to the indigent. But most importantly Sir Shaw gave cult-cinema lovers unique films that turned his Shaw Brothers Studio productions into a genre itself that is still highly regarded to this very day.

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