Chinese name 張曼玉 (traditional)
Pinyin Zhāng Mànyù (Mandarin)
Jyutping Zoeng1 Maan6 Juk6 (Cantonese)
Born 20 September 1964 (age 51)
British Hong Kong
Years active 1984–2004, 2010
Spouse(s) Olivier Assayas (1998–2001; divorced)
Maggie Cheung Man-yuk (Chinese:born 20 September 1964) is a Hong Kong actress. Raised in England and Hong Kong, she has over 70 films to her credit since starting her career in 1983. Some of her most commercially successful work was in the action genre, but Cheung once said in an interview that of all the work she has done, the films that really meant something to her are Song of Exile, Centre Stage, Comrades: Almost a Love Story and In the Mood for Love. As Emily Wang in Clean, her last starring role to date, she became the first Asian actress to win a prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Maggie Cheung was born in Hong Kong in 1964 to Shanghainese parents. She attended St. Paul’s Convent School, where she began at the primary one level. Her family emigrated from Hong Kong to the United Kingdom when she was eight. She spent part of her childhood and adolescence in Bromley, Kent, England. She returned to Hong Kong at the age of 18 in 1982 for a vacation but ended up staying for modeling assignments and other commitments. She also shortly obtained a sales job at Lane Crawford department store.
In 1983, Cheung entered the Miss Hong Kong pageant and won the first runner-up and the Miss Photogenic award as well. She was a semi-finalist in the Miss World pageant the same year.
Prior to 1988, Cheung screen appearance was often limited to eye candy roles. One of Cheung’s notable movie roles then is that of “May”, the girlfriend of police detective “Kevin” Chan Ka Kui in Jackie Chan’s Police Story series (however, she did not reprise the role in Police Story 4: First Strike or New Police Story). Maggie frequently cited her performance in the movie As Tears Go By (1988), her first of many collaborations with film director Wong Kar-wai, as the piece that truly began her serious acting career.
Cheung is a polyglot as a result of her upbringing in Hong Kong and England and ten years’ stay in Paris. In Centre Stage, Cheung performed in Cantonese, Mandarin and Shanghainese fluently, switching languages with ease. In Clean, she performed in fluent English, French and Cantonese.
Cheung had a relationship with Hong Kong film director Derek Yee in the late 1980s.
Cheung married French director Olivier Assayas in 1998. They divorced in 2001 but their relationship remained amicable. In 2004, Cheung made her award-winning film Clean with him. As part of her portrayal of recovering drug addict and aspiring singer Emily in Clean, Cheung performed songs written by David Roback of Mazzy Star and Dean Wareham of Dean & Britta.