A Tribute to Alan Tang (1946-2011)

Fans and filmmakers all over the world have been paying tribute to the tragic loss of pioneering Hong Kong actor and producer, Alan Tang. Known as Hong Kong's version of Alain Delon and nicknamed ‘The Prince’, Tang developed a reputation as one of the brightest new actors in 1960's and 70's Hong Kong cinema and later one of the hardest working and most respected producers who helped drive critically acclaimed directors to stardom. Having worked on over 70 films throughout his prolific career, including Flaming Brothers and The Black Panther Warriors, he retired from the film business in the mid 1990's and focused on new interests such as restaurants and real estate. Tragically on 29 March 2011, Alan Tang passed away at the age of 64. He left behind a huge portfolio of work crossing countless genres while reaffirming his legacy as one of the all-time greats.

alantang2Alan Tang’s career in the film business took off almost by accident. He was discovered when a film was being made in his high school and his friends put him forward for a role. He appeared in The Student Prince which was shot in 1964. But, despite this early experience, life went on as normal for the next few years. In 1967, having graduated in Chinese History and started work as a teacher, he was offered roles in Hong Kong comedies and romances, no doubt as a result of his previous on screen experience, paired with his good looks, charm and likeable demeanour. However, despite modest success, it wasn’t until he pursued work in Taiwan that his career really took off. Quickly rising through the ranks and being high in demand meant the offers were soon rolling in. During one interview, he even claimed he was making six films at the same time and was reportedly earning a salary of HK$150,000 per picture due to his popularity. He continued working exceptionally hard in his film career in both Hong Kong and Taiwan in the late 1970's, starring in titles like Splendid Love in Winter and Dynamite Brothers, and even formed The Wing-Scope Company in 1977, marking a new chapter in his career as a producer and filmmaker.
After accumulating even more credits and ties within the industry, later in 1987 he established another production company called In-Gear Film Production Co, working alongside his brother Rover Tang. He continued producing and acting in films, focusing less on drama and romance and more on the action and Triad genres. Highlights of this era include Flaming Brothers, Gangland Odyssey and The Black Panther Warriors - his last acting role. He even produced two films by Wong Kar-wai: As Tears Go By and Days of Being Wild.

Following his retirement from the film industry in the 1990's, he pursued a second career in the restaurant business and remained an active philanthropist in Hong Kong and mainland China until he tragically died on 29 March 2011 from a heart attack. He left behind an incredible body of work and is remembered as one of the hardest working actors and filmmakers of his generation and an inspiration to many.