People’s Artist Lý Huỳnh, one of the pioneers who brought martial arts to the Vietnamese cinema, passed away yesterday in HCM City after long illness. He was 78. — Photo by Lữ Đắc Long
HCM CITY — People’s Artist Lý Huỳnh, one of the pioneers who brought martial arts to Vietnamese cinema, passed away yesterday in HCM City after a long illness. He was 78.
Born into a martial arts family in Vĩnh Long Province, Huỳnh's real name was Lê Kim Tuyền.
He was a famous martial arts master in South Việt Nam, before becoming involved in the film industry in 1972.
Huỳnh played 50 different roles in action films and dramas.
After 1975, Huỳnh become known after starring in feature films on revolutionary, such as Cô Nhíp (Miss Nhíp) by director Khương Mễ, and Mùa Gió Chướng (Season of the Whirlwind) and the two-part Vùng Gió Xoáy (Cyclone Area) by director Hồng Sến.
The role of a farmer named Hai Lúa in Vùng Gió Xoáy brought the actor a Golden Lotus Award for best leading actor given by the Việt Nam Cinematography Administration at the 1983 Việt Nam Film Festival.
In the 1990s, Huỳnh became a producer and director. He was one of the pioneers in the country producing commercial films, which quickly dominated the market.
His famous productions include Lửa Cháy Thành Đại La (Fire in Đại La Citadel), Thăng Long Đệ Nhất Kiếm (Undefeated Swordman of Thăng Long), and Phạm Công - Cúc Hoa (The Tale of Phạm Công and Cúc Hoa).
Huỳnh also cooperated with filmmakers from Hong Kong and Taiwan to produce action films Hồng Hải Tặc (Red Pirates) and Kế Hoạch 99 - Lưới Trời Lồng Lộng (Plan no 99 - Sky Net).
His latest work, Tây Sơn Hào Kiệt (Heroes of Tây Sơn), a historic film portraying Emperor Quang Trung - Nguyễn Huệ, released in 2010, left a strong impression on audiences in southern provinces.
The VNĐ12 billion (US$517,900) film won the best film prize at the Golden Kite Film Awards given by the Việt Nam Cinematography Association in 2011.
In recognition of Huỳnh’s contributions to the country’s film industry, he was awarded the title of Meritorious Artist in 1993, and then People’s Artist in 2012.
Martial artist Lý Hùng, son of Huỳnh, said his father’s actions in his last will was supporting people hit by storms and flood in the Central and renovating a nursing home for artists in District 8.
“After the funeral, my family will move to the Central region to do my father’s will. We will also work with the HCM City Theatre Association to do his second will,” Hùng said.
Huỳnh will be buried tomorrow at the Phúc An Viên cemetery in District 9. — VNS