Kung Fu Cinema takes another kick to the crotch: Shih Kien dead at 96
Martial arts actor Shek Kin dead at 96
By Mark Pollard on June 4, 2009
Shek Kin Hong Kong has lost one of its greatest and longest living film treasures. Veteran martial arts actor Shek Kin (aka Shih Kien, Sek Kin), best known internationally for his role in ENTER THE DRAGON as "Mr. Han," died this morning at the venerable age of 96.
Gregory So, Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development expressed regret at the loss.
"Mr. Shek's brilliant career in the performing arts industry started in the 1940s. Since then he devoted lifelong commitment to the industry. He played a villain role in the Wong Fei-hung film series and had become one of the most recognizable faces of Hong Kong cinema," said So.
"With his death, Hong Kong has lost an outstanding performing arts talent. On behalf of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, I offer our deepest condolences to Mr. Shek's family."
Shek was one of the territory's most recognizable actors thanks to a prolific career that spanned over 50 years. Born in 1913, Shek was among the first generation of martial arts stars including Walter Cho, Kwan Tak-hing and Yu So-chow, who flourished during the initial genre boom of the 1950s and '60s. Trained in several northern kung fu disciplines rather than Chinese opera like so many of his peers, Shek began appearing in Cantonese-language martial arts films in the late 1940s. Up until he was cast as the lead villain in ENTER THE DRAGON, Shek was best known as the lead villain in the long-running WONG FEI HUNG film series where he frequently crossed fists and wits with series star Kwan Tak-hing.
In the 1970s and '80s, Shek continued to appear in a variety of films, most notably in ENTER THE DRAGON but also in a comedic supporting role opposite Jackie Chan in THE YOUNG MASTER. He also frequently appeared in local television series. Shek Kin retired from the entertainment industry in the mid-1990s. His final film role was in Bosco Lam's comedy HONG KONG ADAM'S FAMILY (1994).