Joan Chen

Striking Chinese-born leading lady who became a star in her native country at age 14 when she was whisked from an athletic rifle team to star in a film sponsored by Mao Tse-tung's wife. Chen subsequently proved very popular in several other Chinese films, acquiring the sobriquet of "the Chinese Elizabeth Taylor." One of her best-remembered films during this time was "Little Flower" (1978), in which she played a deaf-mute girl, cured by acupuncture, whose first words are "Long live Chairman Mao!." The winner of many awards in China, Chen made her US debut with a small role in Wayne Wang's "Dim Sum: a Little Bit of Heart" (1985). Given her star status at home, she was an appropriate choice for the lead role, opposite Bryan Brown, in the English-language film "Tai-Pan" (1986), the first significant collaboration between an American filmmaker and the Chinese government.