Thursday, October 4, 2012

[Celebrity News] Old TVB Actor, Austin Wai, Died at 55

I'm not sure if you are familiar with this old actor, Austin Wai, but he remains one of my fondest childhood supporting actors in TVB wuxia series. He actually started out as an action performer in the early 1970s and later diverted into a TV actor. Most of his TVB characters were rather rather wooden, stony, or cold, but there was a still noble charm to whoever he portrayed.  The most poignant memory I have of him was his role as the straitlaced and noble Lu Guanying in 1983 version of Legend of the Condor Heroes with Felix Wong and Barbara Yung. He co-starred opposite another veteran TVB actress, Rebecca Chan, as the wuxia verion of Romeo and Juilet.

Austin Wai in 1983 Legend of the Condor Heroes
Sadly, Austin Wai was found dead at age 55 in this Beijing apartment today.  The cause of death is still unknown. His famous younger sister, Kara Hui, is probably heartbroken right now. I feel terrible for her and have nothing to offer except for my condolences. I surprisingly had no idea Kara Hui was Austin Wai's younger sister until today. I had actually watched these two people in dramas growing up.(Note: their last names are spelled differently because Austin's last name is based in Cantonese phonetics while Kara's last name uses mainland Chinese pinyin.)

I read that both Kara and Austin were born into an affluent Manchurian family in northeastern China before the Cultural Revolution. Their father was the stereotypical spoiled rich boy who didn't know how to make a living and enjoyed a luxurious life with multiple concubines in his youth. The onset of the Cultural Revolution drove the family to Hong Kong and after some poor business decisions, the father lost his wealth. Having a large family to feed and without the required income, Kara and Austin's parents give them up at a young age to some stage drama schools who trained children in martial arts. They both grew up become action stars and slowly curved a name for themselves in Hong Kong entertainment industry.

After reading about Kara and Austin's rough childhood and career struggles, it further increases my respect for the older generation of actors/actresses who worked really hard to earn the success they may or may not achieved today. Sometimes I feel many celebrities nowadays get famous too quick and too easy that they feel entitled to the fame.
A younger Austin and Kara, date unknown.

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