Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lydia Shum - Hong Kong's Favourite Fat Lady

Lydia Shum Tin Har, who died of cancer at the age of 62 on February 19, 2008, will always be remembered as Hong Kong's Favourite Fat Lady.

Lydia, who loved wearing her trade-mark butterfly glasses, was long associated with Hong Kong Television Broadcasts' (HKTVB) long-running entertainment programme the Enjoy Yourself Tonight Show.

She also acted in many comedies on the big and small screen, and even produced and acted in her very own sitcom Living With Lydia, which was broadcast in Singapore.

Lydia was famously married to macho Hong Kong actor Adam Cheng Siu Chow from 1985-1988. They have a 20-year-old daughter Joyce Cheng, who is also an actress.

She was the sister of Canadian designer Alfred Sung.

Born in Shanghai on July 21, 1945, Lydia made her film debut in 1960, joining Shaw Brothers as a child actress.

She subsequently appeared in comedies and dramas produced by the film company, which was formed by Shanghai-born brothers Tan Sri Runme Shaw and Tan Sri Run Run Shaw.

The Shaws were also responsible for developing Malaysia's film industry and discovering Malaysia's King of Entertainment, actor, director, singer, composer and songwriter Tan Sri Teuku Zakaria Teuku Nyak Puteh or P. Ramlee.

In the 1970s, she became a television host with HKTVB, also owned by the Shaws.

From then onwards, she became associated with the Enjoy Yourself Tonight Show, and numerous TV productions and comedies produced by the station.

The Enjoy Yourself Tonight Show, hosted by Lydia, helped discover most of Hong Kong's acting and singing talents of the 1980s and beyond.

Lydia's most memorable films included The Iron Lady Against The One-Eyed Dragon (1967), Four Gentlemanly Flowers (1968), Love Is A Four Letter Word (1973), King Of Stanley Market (1988), Faithfully Yours (1988), Eat A Bowl Of Tea (1989), It's A Mad, Mad, Mad World (1989), The Banquet (1991), The Perfect Match (1991), Happy Together (1997) and In-Laws, Out-Laws (2004).

Besides Living With Lydia, which won her the Best Actress award at the 2003 Asian TV Awards, Lydia also starred in another Singaporean television series Slim Chances.