04/08/2015, 00.00
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Taipei: Catholics remember George Wang, an actor "who knew how to listen"

by Xin Yage
The artist made more than 30 films, in Taiwan and Italy. Exponent of the local Catholic community, he prayed every morning and evening to thank God for his life. He worked with Ang Lee and Liliana Cavani.

Taipei (AsiaNews) - The Catholic community in Taiwan prepares to bid a final farewell to George Wang (王 玨), a famous Chinese artist belonging to the Catholic community, who took part in the production of more than thirty films as an actor. He died last March 27 and will be buried tomorrow in the capital.

He was born in 1928 in Dandong (丹東 today Liaoning Province, mainland China), but spent most of his life between Taipei and Rome, because since 1959 he starred in numerous martial arts films of Asian production made in Europe. His daughter was born, grew up and got married in Rome. Today she emotionally recalls her father’s career: "An exceptional person, an unforgettable artist."

George Wang in Italy was often called upon to recite parts which required an Asian artist and became a celebrity on the big screen and on television, from spy movies to other action movies in by well-known directors like Liliana Cavani (Milarepa , in 1974, he was given an excellent review by Pier Paolo Pasolini), Renzo Merusi (Revelation on the Yellow River, 黃河 的 啟示, 1960) and Umberto Lenzi, one of the masters of the Italian crime films.

Before and after his Italian period he was alos a leading actor in Taiwan and occasionally in the United States. Along with Sihung Lung (郎雄, 1930-2002), another leading actor in great movies with famous directors, he helped organize the annual meeting of Catholic artists. Since 1978, he had returned to live in Taiwan and had worked with other artists in the film sector.

"In periods of rest we found ourselves at Sihung Lung’s home by the sea – remembers a producer friend, now retired - George was a rather reserved type, Sihung instead spoke constantly, they complemented  each other very well."

Father Jerry Martinson (丁松筠 神父) television personality who also belongs to this generation of Catholic artists, remembers the late artist fondly: "He wanted to give the best of himself in his scenes, had a very deep voice that touched the emotional side of the viewer. And, off the set, he was a person who knew how to listen, which is not common".

Between 1978 and 2013 George Wang participated in many film and television works in the Chinese language, including the famous "Eat, drink, man, woman" (飲食 男女) by Ang Lee and "The coldest winter in Beijing" (皇天后 土) for which he won the prestigious Golden Horse for Best Supporting Actor (第 18 屆 金馬獎 最佳 劇情 片 男 配角). In 2009 he again won a golden horse (台北 金馬 影展) for his career.

He also participated in the filming of the acclaimed "The Grandmaster" (一代 宗師) directed by Wong Kar-Wai (王家衛) with Tony Leung (梁朝偉) and Zhang Ziyi (章子怡). This was the last work in which he took part, when he was already 94 years old.

His daughter recalls how in recent times (when his family, children and grandchildren from Europe and America gathered in Taipei with him) he used to repeat a phrase of great gratitude to God and to his friends: "What more can I ask? (夫 復 何求) ".

He prayed in the morning and evening, thanking God for all the gifts received in life, for his family and the opportunity to pursue a profession with great directors, actors and actresses (he was also in two movies with Anita Ekberg).

The funeral of George Wang will be held in Taipei Thursday, April 9, celebrated by Fr. Jerry in the presence of family and close friends. His daughter will carry a cross that was very dear to her father as a sign of his faith and the values ​​of fraternity which always inspired him.

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