Yuen Siu-tien

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Yuen Siu-tien
Born(1912-11-27)27 November 1912
Died8 January 1979(1979-01-08) (aged 66)
Other namesSimon Yuen
Simon Yuen Siu-tien
Years active19491979
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese 袁小田
Traditional Chinese 袁小田
Hanyu Pinyin Yuán Xiǎotián

Yuen Siu-tien (Chinese :袁小田) (27 November 1912 – 8 January 1979) (also known as Yuan Xiaotian, Simon Yuen, Sam Seed or "Ol' Dirty") was a Hong Kong martial arts film actor in the late 1970s. Yuen is perhaps best known as Beggar So (a.k.a. Sam Seed) in three films: Drunken Master , Story of Drunken Master and his final film Dance of the Drunk Mantis . He starred in several films with film actors like Jackie Chan and under the direction of his real life son Yuen Woo-ping.


Film career

Yuen trained in the traditional Peking opera role of Wu-Shen. He began his acting career at age 37, in the first Wong Fei-hung film to star Kwan Tak-hing, Story of Huang Feihong (1949), though his film appearances were rare until the late 1950s. He is best known for portraying mentors and kung fu masters, and featured in almost 150 films throughout his career.

One of his internationally best-known films came late in his career, Drunken Master (1978), in which he played Beggar So (Sam Seed in some English dubs), an old hermit who had mastered the art of drunken boxing, aiding a young Wong Fei-hung, played by Jackie Chan. The role was a reprisal (in all but name) of the one he had played in another of Chan's films, Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (1978). At the time, Drunken Master proved to be the most successful film to feature Chan. The film portrayed Wong Fei-hung as a young and mischievous rascal as opposed to the venerable, Confucian master of kung fu played in many films by Kwan Tak-hing. The movie was a surprise international hit, and greatly helped to boost the career of the then 66-year-old actor. Yuen reprised the role of the beggar So for three further films, Dance of the Drunk Mantis , Story of Drunken Master , and World of the Drunken Master (in which he had a cameo).

Personal life

Yuen is the father of eleven children, six of whom assumed various professional roles in the Hong Kong film industry. The five eldest sons were known collectively as the "Yuen clan" and often worked in combinations on many films:

Yuen had two additional sons and three daughters. [1]


On January 8, 1979, Yuen died of heart attack. He was 66 years old. Yuen was considered for the role of Beggar So in the 1979 film Magnificent Butcher alongside Sammo Hung, but died as production of the film began. Yuen was replaced by Fan Mei-sheng (father of the Story of Ricky star Fan Siu-wong). Filming was continued with Fan's Drunken Master character, which necessitated reshooting some of Yuen's scenes. However, Fan's character is never referred to as "Beggar So" in this film.




TV series

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  1. "Yuen Clan : Father and Sons". hkcinemagic.com. Retrieved 2008-10-31.