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Ruan Lingyu
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    (April 26, 1910-March 8, 1935)
    Born in Guangdong Province, Shanghai, China
    Birth name was Ruan Fenggen
    Frequently billed as Lily Yuan or Lingyu Ruan
    Acted in 'Love and Duty' (1931), 'A Spray of Plum Blossoms' (1931), 'Peach Blossom Weeps Tears of Blood' (1931), 'Three Modern Women' (1933), 'Night in the City' (1933), 'Little Toys' (1933), 'Life' (1934), 'Coming Home' (1934), 'Goodbye Shanghai' (1934), 'A Sea of Fragrant Snow' (1934), 'The Goddess' (1934), 'New Women' (1934), and 'National Customs' (1935)
    Worked under the Mingxing Film Company and later Lianhua Studios
    Many of her films have either been lost, destroyed or exist in extremely poor quality.
    She was live-in mistress to a gambler named Zhang Damin and then a tea tycoon, Tang Jishan (both provided fodder for tabloid gossip).
    It was believed that her thick Cantonese accent did not translate well to 'talkies,' and she was made to spend months smoothing over her speaking voice's rough edges.
    She feuded with rival star Hu Die who beat her out for the coveted title, 'Empress of the Movies.' She eventually left Mingxing Films in protest of their decision to promote Hu Die over her (1929).
    Her death is surrounded by mysterious circumstances (she allegedly was driven to suicide by the tabloids' coverage of her private life).
    In a case of eerie retrospective foreshadowing, her penultimate film, 'New Women,' had her portraying a writer driven to suicide by merciless tabloid coverage (art imitating life or the other way around?)
    Her three suicide notes, one of which reads 'gossip is a fearful thing,' are believed to have been forged by Damin or Jishan.
    Three women committed suicide during her funeral procession.
    She remains a household name in China, but is virtually forgotten outside of her home country, particularly in the West.
    She got into filmmaking by answering an ad in the newspaper (back when it was that simple).
    She was the sole means of support for her mother and gambling common-law husband.
    She has been compared to Greta Garbo, Lillian Gish, and Louise Brooks.
    She worked well with Chinese matinee idol, Jin Yan.
    By the age of 24, within an eight year period, she had made 29 films.
    She depicted modern Chinese women with gritty realism (credited with revolutionizing Chinese cinema by doing so).
    Maggie Cheung won Best Actress at the Berlin International Film Festival for playing her in 'Centre Stage' (1991).
    She was in several abusive relationships (Jishan allegedly threw her pet dog out the window during a heated argument).
    She was reportedly found alive by Jishan around 4am, but he waited six hours before bringing her to the hospital for treatment (she was pronounced dead on arrival).
    Her three mile long funeral procession was called 'the most spectacular funeral of the century' (it attracted over 300,000 mourners).
    Her death, for many, symbolized the end of the comparably innocent and hopeful period in Chinese history, before the Japanese Invasion, WWII, and Mao's Great Leap Forward.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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