01 April 2008

The Legend - Leslie Cheung

Known affectionately as "Gor-gor," Leslie Cheung Kwok-Wing, was one of the Chinese-speaking world's most popular artists. Time magazine's Richard Corliss called him, "James Dean with a mean streak, a deeper Johnny Depp."

Born in Hong Kong in 1956, Gor-gor rose to superstardom as a singer with a bad-boy image in the 1980s. He followed up his musical successes with a distinguished film career - often in homosexual roles, which are uncommon in Chinese-language movies.

Leslie announced his retirement in 1989, but he picked up the microphone again in 1996. During his 1999 Passion Tour, Leslie grew his hair to waist length and performed in skirt and red high heels. Although It was bitterly critized by Hong Kong media, the Tour was a huge success.

On 1 April 2003, when many people were playing April Fool's jokes, the legend leapt from the 24th floor of the Hong Kong Mandarin Oriental Hotel. He died at the age of 46.

Leslie's death is the end of an era: one of vanity, youth-worship, image-consciousness, self-indulgence, innocence. It is also an end to, as one of Leslie's best films is entitled, Days Of Being Wild.

Even today, there are few who can equal Gor-gor. He has truly left an indelible mark in the world of entertainment.

Leslie is the most widely adored and admired male diva of the late 20th century. He is forever a legend.