Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh Choo Kheng, PSM (/jo/ YOH; born August 6, 1962). Yeoh’s early Hong Kong films have her listed as Michelle Khan. Yes, Madam (1985), Police Story 3: Supercop (1992), and Holy Weapon (1995) were just a few of the Hong Kong action films in which she starred and performed her own stunts, propelling her to renown in the 1990s (1993).
Among the films that brought her international fame were Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), a James Bond thriller, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (1997), a martial arts film directed by Ang Lee (2000). In the latter case, she was nominated for a BAFTA Award in the Best Actress category for her performance.
She also played Aung San Suu Kyi in the 2011 film The Lady and has appeared in the films Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), Reign of Assassins (2010), Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016), and Kung Fu Panda 3 (2017).
She had a leading role in the 2018 American romance comedy-drama film Crazy Rich Asians, for which she was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award. In addition, she had supporting roles in the films Master Z: Ip Man Legacy (2018) and Last Christmas (2019). In the MCU film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, she plays the role of the original character Ying Nan (2021). Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, a science fiction film she starred in 2022.
Yeoh’s portrayal as Philippa Georgiou on Star Trek: Discovery, which airs on Paramount+ from 2017 through 2020, has made her a household name among Star Trek fans. In 2019, Yeoh will star in her own spinoff series that has yet to be given a title.
Yeoh Best Movies and TV Shows
‘Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Michelle Yeoh is often referred to be a Bond girl by the western media, however, Pierce Brosnan is more accurately referred to as one of Yeoh’s boys.
She completely outshone 007 as the Chinese superspy Wai Lin in Brosnan’s second picture as the secret agent. Yeoh proved that Wai Lin, despite being written as a damsel in distress, is a more skilled fighter who can easily save herself.
Yeoh’s career takes a major turn with Tomorrow Never Dies, marking her first venture into Western cinema. Yeoh has shown she has more range than only as a skilled martial arts actress.
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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Yeoh’s breakout role was in Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon around the turn of 2000, following her appearances in the James Bond franchise. The movie centers on two warriors who set out to find a legendary blade. Master Li (Chow Yun-fat) is a seasoned warrior who entrusts the legendary “Green Sword” to Shu Lien (Yeoh).
Yeoh’s character, Shu Lien, fights Jen Yu, and their epic showdown is widely regarded as one of the greatest action scenes in film history (Zhang Ziyi). Yeoh was recognized for her performance in the film with several nominations for Best Actress.
‘Yes, Madam!’ (1985)
In this throwback film, Inspector Ng (Yeoh) and Inspector Carrie Morris (Cynthia Rothrock) are on the hunt for two petty thieves who have stolen something far more precious than they think. The film established the “ladies with weapons” type of Hong Kong action film and launched the In the Line of Duty film franchise, which starred powerful female police officers.
Yeoh keeps the film’s humorous tone while displaying her incredible martial arts talents in the frantic fight scenes. Yeoh’s performance here is great, albeit it may not be as well-known as her work in other Hong Kong action films of the early 1990s.
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‘The Lady’ (2011)
Taking on the role of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi in Luc Besson’s The Lady must have been a difficult undertaking for Yeoh. Her classic love story with her husband, Michael Aris (David Thewlis), an Oxford academic, is also included.
Yeoh has been able to display her range as an actress thanks to Suu Kyi, whose life has been both trying and uplifting. The film’s tropical settings and photography earned praise, as did the performances of Yeoh and Thewlis. For her efforts, Yeoh was nominated for a Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture.
‘Wing Chun’ (1994)
Yeoh played the title role in Wing Chun, the film widely credited with inspiring the martial arts subgenre known as Wing Chun. She co-stars with Donnie Yen as a young tofu store owner who fights to save her family and village from a band of bandits in this action film.
Yeoh’s rapid reflexes and pinpoint accuracy make her kicks, punches, blocks, and leaps look easy while she strikes just the right balance between playfulness and seriousness. Yeoh has portrayed a female superhero in her own image, and the performance is one of her best known.
‘Tai Chi Master’ (1993)
Yeoh co-stars alongside the legendary martial artist Jet Li in the film Tai Chi Master as the lead female character, Siu-lin, a young woman who becomes unwillingly embroiled in a struggle with local rebels during the fictionalization of the origins of tai chi.
Yeoh gets some screen time to show off her fighting prowess, and she makes the most of it when she confronts her unfaithful husband. In addition, Yeoh’s character was able to mature and become more nuanced through Tai Chi Master’s more routine and quieter moments, unlike in her prior films.
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‘Royal Warriors’ (1986)
After foiling a plane hijacking attempt, Michelle Yip (Yeoh) of the Hong Kong police is the focus of Royal Warriors. The story gets more complicated when she becomes a target of the criminal’s relatives.
Because of its cheesy dialogue, exaggerated action sequences, and sappy love story aspects, this film is not for everyone. Yeoh’s expertly coordinated dances and interpretation of her character’s cool demeanor will win over fans of the edgier features of films from that era.
‘Far North’ (2007)
Saiva, portrayed by Yeoh, is a recluse in the Siberian tundra who is an outcast since a shaman told her she was born cursed. Her life and that of her friend Anja (Michelle Krusiec) were altered, however, by the appearance of a lost soldier played by Sean Bean.
It’s a great picture, and the wide vistas throughout it are stunning. In spite of the movie’s minimal dialogue, the director nonetheless manages to convey his message effectively. It’s a new and challenging part for Yeoh, but she’s eating it up like a seal.
‘Crazy Rich Asians’ (2018)
Yeoh was featured in Crazy Rich Asians, a romantic comedy based on the 2013 novel of the same name, in 2018. Rachel (Constance Wu), a Chinese-American teacher, falls for Nick (Henry Golding), whose family is among the wealthiest in Singapore. Yeoh portrays Nick’s domineering mother, Eleanor.
The tone, acting, and visual grandeur of Crazy Rich Asians was hailed by critics. Yeoh’s performance in the film received some of the highest praise of her career. In addition, numerous reviewers singled her out, saying that she deserved an Oscar consideration for Best Supporting Actress.
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