Shaw Brothers Film Library

Ivy Ling Po, originally known as Jun Hai-tang, was born in Xiamen, on 16 January 1940. At the age of 14, she began to appear in Fukien dialect movies under the alias of Xiao Juan. Ling was discovered by Li Han-hsiang while lip-synching Huangmei Opera for Shaw Brothers’ The DreamOf The Red Chamber(1961). She starred in her first movie, The Love Eterne (1962), later that year.

Most of Ling's movies were Huangmei Opera movies in which she usually cross-cast the male characters. While it was not an uncommon practice in Chinese opera, it rarely happened in movies. Because of that, Ling became one of the leading figures of the category. The Huangmei Opera Ling starred in included A Maid From Heaven (1963), Lady General Hua Mu-Lan (1963), Inside The Forbidden City (1963), The Mermaid (1964) and The Three Smiles (1969).

One of Ling's most popular movies was The Love Eterne (1962). It was such a huge box-office success in Taiwan that it screened in cinemas for months. Even today, Taiwanese media referred to Ling as “Brother Liang,” the name of her character in Love Eterne. The movie also won Ling the special awards for outstanding performance at the Second Golden Horse Awards. Although Ling played a male role in the movie, the Film Festival did not think it was appropriate to give her either the Best Actor Award or the Best Actress Award, and hence they created the Special Acting Award especially for her. The next year, Ling was named the Best Actress at the 11th Asia-Pacific Film Festival for her performance in Lady General Hua Mu-Lan (1963).

Ling has also starred in many non-Huangmei Opera movies, including The Grand Substitution (1964), Too Late For Love (1966), Song Of Tomorrow (1967) and The Silent Love (1970). In 1965, She won the Best Talent Award at the 12th Asian Film Festival for her performance in The Mermaid (1964). Three years later, she was named Best Actress at the Sixth Golden Horse Awards for Too Late For Love (1966), confirming her status as the leading lady in Chinese language films.

Ling Po's ability to learn from her experience is a key factor to her success. Early in her career when she starred in small budget productions, Ling used that opportunity to perfect her singing and acting skills, so she was ready for the big time when she joined Shaw Brothers. At that time, she was probably the busiest actress at Shaw Brothers but all her movies were very well received by the public.

Ling topped the list in the inaugural Ten Most Popular Chinese Movie Stars Awards in Taiwan. She was also voted the Most Popular Mandarin Movie Actress in the Li Sing Cup, held jointly by Hong Kong's Star Newspaper Group and Rediffusion, a cable TV company. Ling was also voted the Most Popular Movie Actress in Singapore, as well as winning The Jin Qiu Award for the ten most popular stars in Hong Kong. She was the top grossing movie star in Asia.

Ling became semi-retired during the 1970s and emigrated to Canada with her family in 1989. Ling rarely appeared on the big screen these days, although she performed Huangmei Opera and her own songs occasionally on charity concerts.

(Film available in Celestial’s Shaw Brothers Film Library with year of production/ theatrical release)

The Love Eterne (1962)
A Maid From Heaven (1963)
Between Tears And Smiles (1963)
Lady General Hua Mu-Lan (1963)
The Female Prince (1963)
Inside The Forbidden City (1963)
The Mermaid (1964)
The Grand Substitution (1964)
Vermillion Door (1964)
West Chamber (1964)
Temple Of The Red Lotus (1965)
Too Late For Love (1966)
The Mirror And The Lichee (1966)
Song Of Tomorrow (1967)
The Three Smiles (1969)
A Cause To Kill (1969)
The Younger Generation (1969)
Raw Passions (1969)
The Silent Love (1970)
The Crimson Charm (1970)
Duel For Gold (1971)
The Mighty One (1972)
Finger Of Doom (1971)
The 14 Amazons (1972)
Flight Man (1973)
It's All In The Family (1974)
The Empress Dowager (1975)
The Last Tempest (1975)

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