Bai Ling

Last updated
Bai Ling
Bai in 2020
Born (1966-10-10) October 10, 1966 (age 53) [1] [2]
Years active1981–present
Parent(s)Bai Yuxiang, Chen Binbin
Awards Hong Kong Film Awards – Best Supporting Actress
2004 Dumplings

Golden Bauhinia Awards – Best Supporting Actress
2004 Dumplings

Golden Horse Awards – Best Supporting Actress
2004 Dumplings

Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 白靈
Simplified Chinese 白灵

Bai Ling (Chinese :白灵, born October 10, 1966) [1] is a Chinese-American actress known for her work in films such as The Crow , Red Corner , Crank: High Voltage , Three... Extremes , Wild Wild West , Anna and the King and Southland Tales , as well as TV shows including Entourage and Lost .


Early life

Bai was born in Chengdu. Her father, Bai Yuxiang (白玉祥), was a musician in the People's Liberation Army, and later a music teacher. Her mother, Chen Binbin (陈彬彬), was a dancer, stage actress, and a literature teacher in Sichuan University; Bai's maternal grandfather was a military officer of the Kuomintang army, and thus was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. In the early 1980s, Bai Ling's parents divorced, and her mother married the renowned writer Xu Chi. Bai Ling has one older sister Bai Jie (白洁), who works for the Chinese tax bureau, and a younger brother Bai Chen (白陈), who emigrated to Japan and works for an American company.

Bai has described herself as a very shy child who found that she best expressed herself through acting and performing. During the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), she learned how to perform by participating in eight model plays, at her elementary school shows. After her graduation from middle school, Bai was sent to do labor work at Shuangliu, in the outskirts of Chengdu.

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 she aborted. She cites this period of sexual abuse for her subsequent struggles with alcohol addiction. [3] Subsequently, Bai spent some time in a mental hospital.

Soon after her release from the hospital, in 1981, Bai joined People's Art Theater of Chengdu, and became a professional actress. Her performance as a young man in the stage play Yueqin and Little Tiger drew the attention of movie director Teng Wenji (滕文骥), which gained her her first movie role in On the Beach (1985), as a village girl who becomes a factory worker and struggled against her father's will for her to marry her cousin.

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.


At a party in July 2007 Bai Ling.jpg
At a party in July 2007

Bai began her acting career in China, appearing in several Chinese feature films. In 1984, she made her film debut as a fishing village girl in the movie On the Beach (海滩). Later she filmed several other movies, including Suspended Sentence (缓期执行), Yueyue (月月), Tears in Suzhou (泪洒姑苏) without much attention. She became famous after playing a girl with a psychological disorder who has an affair with her doctor, in the film The Shining Arc (弧光) directed by Zhang Junzhao (张军钊), her most highly acclaimed role in the Chinese film industry. In 1991, Bai moved to the United States, where she appeared in a number of American films and television shows.

Bai's first major American film role was in The Crow (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 . The New York Times praised Bai Ling's performance, saying that she gave the film "not only grace but also substantial gravity". [4] For her role in Red Corner , she received the National Board of Review Freedom for Breakthrough Female Performance and the San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress. [5] 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. [6]

Bai was named one of People 's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" in 1998. She shaved off her hair, which was longer than 36 inches (90 cm) for her role in Anna and the King , and is widely known in Thailand as "Tuptim", her character's name from the film, even though the film is officially banned because of its depiction of the King of Siam. She filmed scenes for Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) as Senator Bana Breemu, but her role was cut during editing. She claimed that this was because she posed naked in the June 2005 issue of Playboy magazine, whose appearance on newsstands coincided with the movie's May 2005 release but director George Lucas denied this, stating that the cut had been made more than a year earlier. [7] Her scenes were included in the deleted scenes feature of the DVD release.

In 2004, Bai made a comeback to Chinese cinema, co-starring with Hong Kong actress Miriam Yeung in independent filmmaker Fruit Chan's horror thriller Dumplings . Her portrayal of the villainous local chef Aunt Mei in the film earned her the 2005 Hong Kong Film Award for Best Supporting Actress, and led to her renewed popularity among the Chinese film audience. In the same year, she also received critical acclaim for her performance in another independent movie, The Beautiful Country , co-starring Nick Nolte, and directed by Hans Petter Moland.

Later in 2005, Bai was member of the official jury at the 55th Berlin International Film Festival. On television, she was a cast member on the VH1 program called But Can They Sing? . Also in 2005 Bai guest-starred in season 2 of Entourage in which she played a love interest of Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier).

In 2007, she starred as Coco in the film adaptation of the controversial Chinese contemporary novel Shanghai Baby , which premiered at Cannes Film Festival, and also guest-starred in one episode ("Stranger in a Strange Land") of the show Lost . Since 2007, she has appeared in a number of films including Love Ranch , Crank: High Voltage and A Beautiful Life , although she became more well known for her red carpet appearances and outrageous fashions. [8]

In 2013, Bai enjoyed a career resurgence with the movie The Gauntlet, which earned her the Best Actress award at the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood, and at the 2014 Asians on Film Festival. Also, for Speed Dragon, she received the Best Feature Film Award at the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival. In late 2014, Bai starred alongside David Arquette in The Key , Jefery Levy's adaptation of the novel by Nobel Prize laureate Jun'ichirō Tanizaki. In October 2014, Bai was a member of the jury in the "India Gold 2014" section of the Mumbai Film Festival.

Personal life

In a 2009 interview, Bai claimed that she is from the Moon, where her grandmother lives. "I'm not really in reality. I'm in my own universe and my mind is a million miles somewhere else", she stated, further explaining: "Why I feel like I come from the Moon is because my mother told me I was found somewhere". She believes that when she looks up at the Moon, she can often spot her grandmother there, still living in her childhood home. [9]

Regarding her public image and troubles over the years, she stated:

I accidentally or innocently destroyed the beautiful Bai Ling that everybody loved, that beautiful, talented actress. Instead, the media brought me out as this crazy slut showing her nipples everywhere. I become this character the pop culture Hollywood machine created. Somehow, I become a victim to that image. [10]

In 2011, she appeared in the fifth season of the VH1 reality television series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew , which documented her recovery from alcohol addiction. [11] Bai is openly bisexual. [12] [13]

On February 14, 2008, Bai was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport for shoplifting two magazines and a package of batteries. [14] It was an "emotionally crazy" day, Bai explained to E! News . She was coping with the "huge problem of breaking up [before] Valentine's Day...wrong boyfriend." [15] Bai also wrote on her blog after the incident: "Life happens to you whether you like it or not, sometimes I feel you have to be so brave to stand in front of the world, and just hope that people will have a tender heart towards you." [16]

On March 5, 2008, Bai pleaded guilty to the charge of disturbing the peace, and was fined $200 (US$700 including the fine and penalties). [17]


1984 Hai tan (海滩, The Beach)Lu Xiao Mei (陆小妹)
1985 Tears in Suzhou (泪洒姑苏, Lei sa Gu Su)Wang Lingjuan (王怜娟)
Suspended Sentence (缓期执行)Yang Lei (杨蕾)
1986 Yue Yue (月月)Yue Yue (月月)
The Bloody Trace (血案疑踪)
1987 Shan cun feng yue (山村风月, "Wind and Moon of Mountain Village")桂儿
College Student Stories (大学生轶事, Da xue sheng yi shi)Xiao Qian (小钱)aka On Their One
1988 Hit Without Gun (无枪枪手, Wu qiang qiang shou)Yan Hong (严红)
1989 The Shining Arc (弧光, Hu guang)Jing Huan (景唤)
The Illegal Gunman (非法持枪者, Feifa chiqiangzhe)Nu Siji
1992 Pen Pals Sharice
1993 Homicide: Life on the Street Lin Chang/Teri ChowTV series (1 episode)
1994 The Crow Myca
Dead Funny Norriko
1995 The Cosby Mysteries Dr. Valerie ChongTV series (1 episode)
Dead Weekend Amelia ATV film
Nixon Chinese Interpreter
1997 Red Corner Shen Yuelin Best ActressSan Diego Film Critics Society Awards
Breakthrough Female Performance – National Board of Review
Female Discovery of the Year – Golden Apple Awards
1998 Touched by an Angel Jean ChangTV series, 2 episodes
Somewhere in the City Lu Lu
1999 Row Your Boat Chun Hua
Wild Wild West Miss East
Anna and the King Tuptim
2000 Chi-Chian: The Black Seed Chi-Chian (voice)TV series
Angel JhieraTV series (Episode: "She")
The Wild Thornberrys Mei-Mei/Mother PandaTV series
2001 The Monkey King Guanyin TV film
Shaolin Soccer MuiVoice (English Version)
The Breed Lucy Westenra
2002 Face Kim
Storm Watch Skylar
Point of Origin Wanda Orr
2003 Taxi 3 Qiu
The Extreme Team RJ
Paris Linda/Shen Li
Jake 2.0 Mei LingTV series (1 episode)
2004 My Baby's Daddy XiXi
The Beautiful Country Ling
She Hate Me Oni
Dumplings (餃子; Jiao zi)Mei Best Supporting Actress2005 Hong Kong Film Awards
Best Supporting Actress – Golden Bauhinia Awards
Best Supporting Actress – Golden Horse Film Festival
Best Supporting Actress – Chinese Film Media Awards
Three... Extremes (三更2; Sam gang yi)MeiSegment: Dumplings
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Mysterious Woman
2005 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith Senator Bana BreemuDeleted scenes
Lords of Dogtown Punky Photographer
Entourage Li LeiTV series (1 episode)
Nomad GaukharVoice
Edmond Peep show Girl
2006 Man About Town Barbi Ling
Best of Chris Isaak Segment: "Please" (uncredited)
Southland Tales Serpentine
Scarface: The World Is Yours U-Gin Bar Manager (voice) Video game
2007 Lost AcharaTV series (Episode: "Stranger in a Strange Land")
Living & Dying Nadia
The Unit PrincessTV series (1 episode)
Shanghai Baby Coco
The Gene Generation Michelle
2008 Toxic Lena
The Hustle Han
A Beautiful Life Esther
Dim Sum Funeral Deedee
2009 Crank: High Voltage Ria
Chain Letter Jai Pham
2010 The Lazarus Papers Kyo
Comedy Makes You Cry (拍卖春天, Pai mai chun tian)Zhang Qian (张倩)
Love Ranch Samantha
Circle of Pain Victoria Rualan
The Confidant Black
Magic Man Samantha
Petty Cash Coco
Locked Down Guard Flores
The Bad Penny Nok
The Being Frank Show TV series
2012 Hawaii Five-0 EsmeraldaTV series (1 episode)
Clash of the Empires Laylan
Yellow Hill: The Stranger's Tale The StrangerShort
2013 Speed Dragon JackieBest Feature Film – New York International Independent Film & Video Festival
Game of Assassins Kim LeeBest Actress – Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood (Fall 2013)
Best Actress – 2014 Asians On Film Festival
American Girls Amanda Chen
2014 Blood Shed Lucy
Assassin's GameThe Bodyguard
The Key Ida
2015 6 Ways to Sundown June Lee
Call Me King Li Soo
Everlasting Cristiane
Finding Julia ZiZi
ABCs of Superheroes Galvana
Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance Doggé
Party Pieces Lydia
Boned The Mistress
2016 Enter the Samurai Herself Documentary on the creation of Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance
Better Criminal Miss Jasmine Feng
2017 Maximum Impact Scanlon



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  16. BAI LING OFFICIAL WEBSITE 白靈官方網站: No matter what happens, today is a Valentines day, I still want to wish all the loved ones are together sharing love and smile and a tender kiss under the beautiful sky. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  17. Bai Ling Enters Shoplifting Plea Deal. Fox News. March 7, 2008
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Further reading