Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Happy Birthday to "The Crow" Actress Bai Ling

Born today, October 10, in 1966, Chinese-American actress Bai Ling. She is known for her work in films such as The Crow, Red Corner, Wild Wild West, Anna and the King and Southland Tales, as well as TV shows including Entourage and Lost.

Bai was born in Chengdu, in the People's Republic of China.

In 1978, after graduating from high school, she passed the People's Liberation Army's exams, and became an artist soldier in Nyingchi Prefecture, Tibet. Her main activity there was entertaining in the musical theater. She also served briefly as an Army nurse. Ling later stated that during her time in Tibet she, along with other female performers, was regularly plied with alcohol and sexually abused by older male officers, including one instance of rape that led to a pregnancy, which she was forced to terminate with an abortion. She cites this period of sexual abuse for her subsequent struggles with alcohol addiction.

In 1981, Bai joined People's Art Theater of Chengdu, and became a professional actress. In later years, she appeared in several movies. She temporarily moved to New York in 1991 to attend New York University's film department as a visiting scholar, but later obtained a special visa that allowed her to remain in the United States until she became a U.S. citizen in 1999.

Bai's first major American film role was in The Crow in 1994, where she played the half-sister/lover of the main villain, Top Dollar. In 1997, she played the lead female role, opposite Richard Gere, in the American film Red Corner. For this role she received the National Board of Review Freedom for Breakthrough Female Performance and the San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress. The film was critical of human rights abuse in China, and as a result, Bai Ling's Chinese citizenship was revoked. She later became a U.S. citizen.

Bai, who is openly bisexual, was named one of People's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" in 1998.

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