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Shaw Brothers Cinema: Austin Wai Tin Chi Passes Away At 55
It's being reported on Chinese websites and various facebook fan pages that Austin Hui Tien Chi (also Wei Tien Chi and Wai Tin Chi in Cantonese) has passed away at 55 years of age from an undisclosed illness. If you're a fan of HK cinema, you've likely seen his face in numerous Shaw Brothers productions and independent kung fu features mostly as a background, or supporting player.
Appearing in movies since he was 12 years of age, Austin Wai's pending lead role status was sidelined after he incurred a severe back injury in September of 1979 while working on KILLER CONSTABLE (1980) from director Kuei Chi Hung. His lead debut in THE MAGNIFICENT SPEARMAN (see spread below), also in production at that time from director Lo Mar (MONKEY KUNG FU, FIVE SUPERFIGHTERS [which featured Wai as one of the five]; both 1979), was abandoned leaving the film unfinished and Austin's career was temporarily stalled for several months.
Wai's lead role in Shaw's GANGMASTER (1982) from television director and martial arts choreographer Tsui Siu Ming (see photo at right) was telling of a possibly stellar career ahead. However, he never broke big, but he did find steady work in many more movies and television after he left Shaw studio.
Austin himself became an action choreographer and was nominated for a Best Action Choreography award for GENERATION PENDRAGON in 1999. His sister is HK cinema superstar Kara Hui Ying Hung. Austin Wai's career in Asian cinema lasted nearly four decades.
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I've been a huge movie buff since childhood catching old horror and monster flicks on Shock Theater and kung fu movies at the drive-in during the late 70's and early 80's. I've had a long time fascination with, and appreciate all genres of fantastic cinema, good and bad. One fans cheese is another fans juicy steak. I like both equally and seldom find a film I truly dislike as I will find something of interest in just about anything. The bulk of the films or tv series' seen here are mostly from my childhood, or films I own in what has become an Amazing Colossal DVD collection.