Michelle Yeoh facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Dato' Seri
PSM SPMP DPMP
Yeoh in 2017
Yeoh Choo Kheng
6 August 1962
|Other names||Michelle Khan|
|Alma mater||Royal Academy of Dance (BA)|
|Title||Miss World Malaysia (1983)|
(m. 1988; div. 1992)
|Partner(s)||Jean Todt (2004–present)|
Michelle Yeoh Choo Kheng PSM ( yoh; born Yeoh Choo Kheng; 6 August 1962) is a Malaysian actress. Credited as Michelle Khan in her early films, she rose to fame in the 1990s after starring in a series of Hong Kong action films where she performed her own stunts, such as Yes, Madam (1985), Police Story 3: Supercop (1992), and Holy Weapon (1993). She gained international recognition for her roles in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and in Ang Lee's martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). The latter role earned her a BAFTA Best Actress nomination. After a career resurgence with a multi-year recurring role on Star Trek: Discovery (2017–2020), she received worldwide praise for her performance as Evelyn Wang in the 2022 film Everything Everywhere All at Once, winning the Golden Globe Award and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, and becoming the first Malaysian to win an Academy Award in any category & the first Asian to win for the Academy Award for Best Actress, and the second woman of color to win after Halle Berry in 2002.
Yeoh's other works include Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), Reign of Assassins (2010), Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016), and The Lady (2011), where she portrayed Aung San Suu Kyi. She played supporting roles in the romantic comedies Crazy Rich Asians (2018) and Last Christmas (2019), and the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021). On television, Yeoh recently starred in the fantasy miniseries The Witcher: Blood Origin (2022).
The film review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes ranked her the greatest action heroine of all time in 2008. In 1997, she was chosen by People as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World", and in 2009 the same magazine listed her as one of the "35 All-Time Screen Beauties". In 2022, Time named her one of the world's 100 most influential people on its annual listicle and its Icon of the Year.
Early life and education
Yeoh was born on 6 August 1962 in Ipoh, Perak, to a local ethnic Malaysian Chinese family of Hokkien and Cantonese ancestry. Her parents are Janet Yeoh and Yeoh Kian-teik (died on 5 November 2014), a lawyer and Malaysian Chinese Association politician, as well as the man behind the express bus service Sri Maju.
Yeoh was keen on dance from an early age, beginning ballet at the age of four. She studied at Main Convent Ipoh, an all-girls secondary school in Ipoh, as a primary student. At the age of 15, she moved with her parents to the United Kingdom, where she was enrolled in a boarding school. Yeoh later studied at the UK's Royal Academy of Dance in London, majoring in ballet. However, a spinal injury prevented her from becoming a professional ballet dancer, and she transferred her attention to choreography and other arts. She received a BA degree in creative arts with a minor in drama.
In 1983, at the age of 20, Yeoh won the Miss Malaysia World contest. She was Malaysia's representative at Miss World 1983 pageant in London. Later that year, she travelled to Australia where she won Miss International Tourism Quest pageant. From there, she appeared in a television commercial with Jackie Chan which caught the attention of a fledgling Hong Kong film production company, D&B Films.
Yeoh started her film career acting in action and martial arts films, where she did most of her own stunts. Already with her third credit, Yes, Madam (1985), she was given a main role. She was credited as Michelle Khan in these earlier films. This alias was chosen by D&B Films, who thought it might be more marketable to international and western audiences. Yeoh married Dickson Poon, who headed the D&B Group, in 1987 and retired from acting.
Yeoh returned to acting with Police Story 3: Super Cop (1992) after having divorced Poon. She appeared in The Heroic Trio (1993), and the Yuen Woo-ping films Tai Chi Master and Wing Chun in 1993 and 1994, respectively.
She changed her stage name back to Michelle Yeoh when she started her Hollywood career with Tomorrow Never Dies in 1997. In the 1997 James Bond film, she played Wai Lin opposite star Pierce Brosnan. Brosnan was impressed, describing her as a "wonderful actress" who was "serious and committed about her work". He referred to her as a "female James Bond" in reference to her combat abilities. She wanted to perform her own stunts but was prevented because director Roger Spottiswoode considered it too dangerous. Nevertheless, she performed all of her own fighting scenes. In 1997, she played Soong Ai-ling in the award-winning The Soong Sisters. Yeoh was approached by Ang Lee to star as Yu Shu Lien in the Chinese language martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). The film was shot in various provinces around China. Yeoh had grown up speaking English and Malay, before learning Cantonese. She spoke little Mandarin, and learned the Mandarin lines for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon phonetically. The film was an international success, and earned Yeoh a BAFTA 2000 nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
In 2002, Yeoh produced her first English film, The Touch, through her own production company Mythical Films. In 2005, Yeoh starred as Mameha in the film adaptation of Memoirs of a Geisha, and she continued her English-language work in 2007 with Sunshine. In 2008, Yeoh starred in the fantasy action film The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor with Brendan Fraser and Jet Li. In 2011, she portrayed Aung San Suu Kyi in Luc Besson's The Lady. Yeoh was blacklisted by the Burmese government allegedly because of her participation in The Lady; she was refused entry to Myanmar on 22 June 2011 and was deported on the same day.
In October 2011, Yeoh was chosen by Guerlain to be its skincare ambassador. Yeoh's role was to help strengthen the French cosmetics company's relationship with Asia.
Yeoh did not branch out into television until 2015, with her first role playing Mei Foster, wife to the British Ambassador to Thailand, who is secretly a North Korean spy named Li-Na, on the fifth season of the Cinemax/Sky series Strike Back. In 2016, Yeoh was cast as Starfleet Captain Philippa Georgiou of the starship USS Shenzhou in the series Star Trek: Discovery, and recurs as Georgiou's "mirror" doppelganger later in the story.
In 2018, Yeoh played family matriarch Eleanor Young in Jon M. Chu's Crazy Rich Asians, a film adaptation of Kevin Kwan's book of the same name, opposite Constance Wu and Henry Golding. Carlos Aguilar of TheWrap described her performance as "convincingly subdued". In 2019, she played Christmas themed-store owner "Santa" in Last Christmas, opposite Henry Golding and Emilia Clarke. The film was released on 8 November 2019, and was a box office success grossing over $121 million worldwide.
Yeoh played Ying Nan in Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. The film was released in theaters on 3 September 2021. It was announced at The Game Awards 2020 that Yeoh would star in Ark: The Animated Series, a series based on the video game Ark: Survival Evolved by Studio Wildcard, in which she plays the role of Mei-Yin Li, the Beast Queen of the Jungle.
In 2022, Yeoh starred in the science fiction black comedy film Everything Everywhere All at Once from filmmaking duo Daniels, released in March to near-universal acclaim. In the film, she played struggling laundromat owner Evelyn Wang, a role that brought her widespread critical acclaim, with David Ehrlich of IndieWire claiming it the "greatest performance that Michelle Yeoh has ever given".
Yeoh is set to appear in the upcoming Disney+ series American Born Chinese, based on the book of the same name by Gene Luen Yang. In June 2022, it was announced that she will star in the eight-part series The Brothers Sun for Netflix and in August 2022, she had joined the cast of Russo Brothers's The Electric State starring Millie Bobby Brown and Chris Pratt for Netflix.
She is set to star in A Haunting in Venice directed by Kenneth Branagh.
Yeoh was married to Hong Kong entrepreneur Dickson Poon, owner of businesses such as Harvey Nichols and Charles Jourdan, from 1988 to 1992. In 1998, Yeoh was engaged to Alan Heldman, an American cardiologist. In 2004, she started dating Jean Todt, then the General Manager and CEO of Scuderia Ferrari and later the president of the FIA. In July 2008, she confirmed her engagement to him during an interview with Craig Ferguson on CBS's The Late Late Show.
Yeoh is a Buddhist. In March 2008, she visited Vietnam to film a documentary for the Asian Injury Prevention Foundation. Yeoh is a patron of the Save China's Tigers project committed to protect the endangered South China tiger.
Awards, honors, and styles
In 1999, she was a member of the jury at the 49th Berlin International Film Festival. On 19 April 2001, Yeoh was awarded the Darjah Datuk Paduka Mahkota Perak (DPMP), which carries the title Dato', by Sultan Azlan Shah, the Sultan of Perak, her home state, in recognition of the fame she brought to the state. On 25 November 2002, Yeoh was honored as The Outstanding Young People of the World (TOYP) (Cultural Achievement) by JCI (Junior Chamber International). On 23 April 2007, French President Jacques Chirac conferred upon Yeoh the title of Knight of the Legion of Honor (French: Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur). The decoration was presented to her in a ceremony in Kuala Lumpur on 3 October 2007. She was promoted to Officer of the same French Order (Officier de la Légion d'honneur) by French President Nicolas Sarkozy on 14 March 2012 at a ceremony held at the president's residence, the Élysée Palace on that day, and promoted to Commander (Commandeur), the highest honour available to non-French citizens, by François Hollande at the official residence of the French Ambassador in Kuala Lumpur in 2017.
On 22 May 2012, Yeoh was awarded the Darjah Seri Paduka Mahkota Perak (SPMP) which carries the title Dato' Seri during the investiture ceremony in conjunction with the Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah's birthday. Yeoh received the Excellence in Asian Cinema award during the 7th Asian Film Awards in March 2013 in Hong Kong. On 1 June 2013, Yeoh was awarded the Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM) which carries the title Tan Sri during the investiture ceremony in conjunction with the birthday of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah. On 30 November 2013, Yeoh presided as the Chief Guest at the International Film Festival of India.
On 12 February 2016, Yeoh was made an Officier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French ambassador to Kuala Lumpur, becoming the first Malaysian citizen to receive that honour. Yeoh was included in the BBC's 100 Women list of 2020. She was placed on Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2022. On 13 August 2022, Yeoh received an honorary doctorate of fine arts degree from the American Film Institute for her contributions of distinction to the art of the moving image. She became the first Asian artist to receive the honor. On 9 December 2022, Yeoh received the Kirk Douglas Award from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
Awards and nominations
|1986||Hong Kong Film Awards||Best New Performer||Yes, Madam||Nominated|
|1998||MTV Movie Awards||Best Fight||Tomorrow Never Dies||Nominated|
|Hong Kong Film Awards||Best Supporting Actress||The Soong Sisters||Nominated|
|2001||British Academy Film Awards||Best Actress in a Leading Role||Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon||Nominated|
|Blockbuster Entertainment Awards||Favorite Action Team||Nominated|
|Chlotrudis Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Golden Horse Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Hong Kong Film Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Fight||Nominated|
|Toronto Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Runner-up|
|Vancouver Film Critics Circle||Best Actress||Nominated|
|2011||Huading Awards||Best Actress in a Motion Picture||True Legend||Nominated|
|Asian Film Awards||Best Actress||Reign of Assassins||Nominated|
|Huabiao Awards||Outstanding Abroad Actress||Nominated|
|2012||Satellite Awards||Best Actress – Motion Picture||The Lady||Nominated|
|2018||Saturn Awards||Best Guest Starring Role on Television||Star Trek: Discovery||Nominated|
|Greater Western New York Film Critics Association Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Crazy Rich Asians||Nominated|
|National Board of Review||Best Cast||Won|
|2019||AARP Movies for Grownups Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|
|Dorian Awards||Film Performance of the Year – Supporting Actress||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Nominated|
|2022||Critics' Choice Super Awards||Best Actress in a Superhero Movie||Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings||Nominated|
|Boston Society of Film Critics||Best Actress||Everything Everywhere All at Once||Won|
|Chicago Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Runner-up|
|Dublin Film Critics' Circle||Best Actress||Won|
|Florida Film Critics Circle||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Gotham Independent Film Awards||Outstanding Lead Performance||Nominated|
|Greater Western New York Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Won|
|Hollywood Critics Association Midseason Film Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|Indiana Film Journalists Association||Best Lead Performance||Runner-up|
|IndieWire Critics Poll||Best Performance||3rd place|
|Las Vegas Film Critics Society||Best Actress||Won|
|Los Angeles Film Critics Association||Best Lead Performer (shared with Danielle Deadwyler)||Runner-up|
|National Board of Review||Best Actress||Won|
|Nevada Film Critics Society||Best Actress||Won|
|New York Film Critics Online||Best Actress||Won|
|North Carolina Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Won|
|North Texas Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Won|
|Online Association of Female Film Critics||Best Actress||Won|
|Phoenix Critics Circle||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Phoenix Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Won|
|Saturn Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|Southeastern Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Won|
|St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Won|
|Sunset Circle Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|UK Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Won|
|Utah Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Won|
|Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Women Film Critics Circle||Best Actress||Won|
|Best Screen Couple (shared with Ke Huy Quan)||Won|
|2023||AACTA International Awards||Best Actress – International||Nominated|
|Academy Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|AARP Movies for Grownups Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|Alliance of Women Film Journalists Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|Actress Defying Age and Ageism||Nominated|
|Most Daring Performance||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in the Film Industry||Nominated|
|Austin Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Won|
|British Academy Film Awards||Best Actress in a Leading Role||Nominated|
|Chicago Indie Critics||Best Actress||Won|
|Columbus Film Critics Association||Best Lead Performance||Nominated|
|Critics Association Of Central Florida||Best Actress||Won|
|Critics' Choice Movie Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Critics' Choice Super Awards||Best Actress in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie||Pending|
|Denver Film Critics Society||Best Actress||Won|
|DiscussingFilm Critic Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|Dorian Awards||Lead Film Performance of the Year||Won|
|Wilde Artist Award||Won|
|Georgia Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Won|
|Gold Derby Film Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy||Won|
|Hawaii Film Critics Society||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Hollywood Critics Association||Best Actress||Won|
|Houston Film Critics Society||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Independent Spirit Awards||Best Lead Performance||Won|
|Iowa Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Runner-up|
|Latino Entertainment Journalists Association||Best Actress||Won|
|London Film Critics' Circle||Actress of the Year||Nominated|
|Minnesota Film Critics Alliance||Best Actress||Runner-up|
|Music City Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Won|
|National Society of Film Critics||Best Actress||Runner-up|
|North Dakota Film Society||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Oklahoma Film Critics Circle||Best Actress||Runner-up|
|Online Film Critics Society||Best Actress||Won|
|Portland Critics Association||Best Actress||Won|
|San Diego Film Critics Society||Best Actress||Nominated|
|San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical||Won|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role||Won|
|Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Won|
|Seattle Film Critics Society||Best Actress||Nominated|
|Toronto Film Critics Association||Best Actress||Runner-up|
|Vancouver Film Critics Circle||Best Actress||Won|
|1998||Asian Media Award (Asian American International Film Festival)||Won|
|2001||ShoWest Award for International Star of the Year||Won|
|2013||Lifetime Achievement Award (ASEAN International Film Festival and Awards)||Won|
|Asian Film Award for Outstanding Contribution to Asian Cinema||Won|
|2015||Cinema Legend Award (Singapore International Film Festival)||Won|
|2019||Outstanding Achievement in Cinema (The Asian Awards)||Won|
|2022||Kirk Douglas Award (Santa Barbara International Film Festival)||Won|
|Share Her Journey Groundbreaker Award (TIFF Tribute Awards)||Won|
|2023||International Star Award, Actress (Palm Springs International Film Festival)||Won|
|Dilys Powell Award (London Film Critics' Circle)||Won|
In Spanish: Michelle Yeoh para niños
- Asian Americans in arts and entertainment
- List of Asian Academy Award winners and nominees
Michelle Yeoh Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.