Actor Bai Yan Was A Beloved Veteran In Singapore’s Entertainment Scene
Joy turned to sorrow for fans of veteran actor Bai Yan, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday in the company of his colleagues.
As the legendary entertainer went to bed last night, no one would have predicted that it would be his last farewell to the world.
Lianhe Zaobao reported that actor Bai Yan had passed away at around 3am in the morning, on Monday (19 Aug).
We believe Bai Yan’s illustrious 80-year career as a local artiste speaks for itself. Here are some milestones he achieved, explaining why he’s so well-respected in the industry.
1. Born in 1920, trained in song & dance
Multi-talented from a young age, the actor was born in 1920, in Wuhan, China. He trained hard in the arts, within a “song and dance troupe” before moving to Singapore.
2. Met his love in Singapore
Bai Yan met the love of his life, Ye Qing in 1944, after he got to know her in the course of working here. She was one of Singapore’s first bona fide movie stars, and the match was ‘made in heaven’.
In light of his passing, we hope Bai Yan will be reunited with his beloved wife who left this world at the ripe old age of 95, back in 2016.
3. Did magic tricks & acrobatic routines
The versatile artiste also began experimenting with various ways to spice up his performances — magic tricks, acrobatics, songs, dance, and witty one-liners that cemented his career as an all-rounded entertainer.
This performance evolution began in the 1950s and lasted till the ’60s, where Bai Yan would host stage plays to get up close and personal with his fans.
4. Breakout TV role in ‘Sunshine Honey’
Actor Bai Yan broke onto the silver screen in 1985 in a big way. He was already 65 years old at that point, but it didn’t stop him from headlining his first TV series, Sunshine Honey to critical acclaim.
The humble veteran made fast friends within the industry and kept in touch with his castmates — who admired him for being a person who was always so full of life.
5. Age was no barrier to onscreen talent
Then came 1996, when the actor won a well-deserved ‘Red Star Award’ Lifetime Achievement Award, and continued his acting career well into his 80s for another 11 years.
6. Hosted a 100th birthday bash with local starlets
So vast was Bai Yan’s influence in the Chinese local acting scene, that his 100th birthday bash hosted on 5 May, saw many famous local artistes grace the occasion.
From Li Mingshun, Hong Huifang, to Wang Xiangqin and at least 100 more celebs, tons of well-respected local artistes turned up to wish Bai Yan many happy returns, having grown up watching him light up the screen themselves.
A life well-lived
Singapore’s entertainment scene remains close and tight-knit, so the passing of veteran star Bai Yan will surely be felt by his fans who have grown alongside him over the years.
His tenacity and dedication to his craft will continue to be respected in the generations of actors and entertainers to come.
Our hearts go out to his loved ones in this time of bereavement and we take comfort in the fact that he has lived an extraordinary life and will always be remembered.
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