Ying Ruocheng

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Ying Ruocheng (Chinese: 英若诚; pinyin: Yīng Ruòchéng; June 21, 1929 - December 27, 2003) was a Chinese actor, director, playwright and vice minister of culture from 1986 to 1990. He first came to the attention of Western audiences for his portrayal of Kublai Khan in the 1982 miniseries Marco Polo. He is best known for playing the part of the governor of the detention camp in the Bernardo Bertolucci's film The Last Emperor, and the role of the Tibetan Buddhist Lama Norbu in Little Buddha. He is also well known as a theater translator, director, and actor for the Beijing People's Art Theatre, particularly for his role as Pockmark Liu in Lao She's masterpiece "Teahouse" and as Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman" in 1983, directed by Arthur Miller (Ying also translated the script).

Ying was born in Beijing into a Manchu family. He studied in a church school in Tianjin in his early years, and later graduated from the Department of Foreign Languages of Tsinghua University. He was forced into the provinces to perform manual labor during the Cultural Revolution.

His wife, Wu Shiliang (1928-1987), was a translator, and his son, Ying Da, is also a noted actor. His grandson Ying Rudi is a noted ice hockey player.

Ying died on December 27, 2003, at the age of 74.

Ying is the author of a memoir, co-authored by Claire Conceison, "Voices Carry: Behind Bars and Backstage During China's Revolution and Reform" (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009).


Year Film Role Notes
1964 Baiqiuen dai fu Secretary Tong
1981 Zhi yin Yuan Shikai
1982 Marco Polo Kublai Khan TV mini-series
1987 The Last Emperor Governor of Detention Center
1993 Little Buddha Lama Norbu

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