Michelle Yeoh is an actress from Malaysia, and she is best known for her magnificently choreographed and graceful stunt moves in martial arts movies, most notably the highly acclaimed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Michelle was born on August 6, 1962 in Ipoh, a mining town in Perak, Malaysia. Her father Yeoh Kian Geik was a politician and lawyer. Her family is of Chinese and Malay descent and is quite prominent. Her traditional name is Yeoh Chu Kheng. She is multi-lingual, speaking fluently in English, Malay and Chinese. However, she cannot read Mandarin Chinese and has to rely on Pinyin (a system of phonetic notation) to recite her lines. Sometimes the script has to be read to her and she had to repeat them.
Michelle showed real promise as a ballerina. She studied ballet since the age of 4 and, as a teenager, she was sent to the Royal Academy in London to seriously pursue it. She had a brief dance career before winning the Miss Malaysia beauty pageant and the Miss Moomba beauty pageant in Melbourne, Australia.
The name Michelle Yeoh became very well known to Western audiences with her string of big-budget action movies like Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) with Pierce Brosnan playing James Bond and crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon directed by Ang Lee. She will actually be reprising her role as Yu Shu Lien in a sequel slated to be released in 2015. In 2011, Michelle was deported from Burma because she played the role of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the film entitled “The Lady”. Her other film credits include the voice of Soothsayer in Kung Fu Panda 2 and Memoirs of a Geisha. She is now one of the most highly paid Asian actresses in the world, and in 2008 she was ranked as the Greatest Action Heroine of All Time by film critic website Rotten Tomatoes.