Zhang Ziyi
Zhang Ziyi

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Birth Name: Zhang Zi-Yi (Chinese name; the family name is Zhang.)

Date of Birth: February 9, 1979

Place of Birth: Beijing, China

Occupation: Actress

Height: 5' 5"

Best Known For: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha

Zhang Ziyi Biography

Zhang Ziyi (born February 9, 1979 in Beijing, China), is one of the most well-known Chinese actresses working today, with a string of international hits to her name. She has worked with renowned directors such as Zhang Yimou, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-Wai and Rob Marshall.

Of the characters making up her name, Zhāng is her surname and can be literally translated as an essay or a chapter of a book, Zǐ means child or esteemed person, and Yí means joy or happiness. Her name is sometimes represented in the Western order (Ziyi Zhang).

Zhang joined the Beijing Dance Academy at the age of 11, and at 15 she entered China's prestigious Central Academy of Drama. At the age of 19, she was offered her first role in world renowned director Zhang Yimou's The Road Home, which won the Silver Bear award in the 2000 Berlin Film Festival. Zhang further rose to fame due to her role in the phenomenally successful Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, for which she won the Independent Spirit's Best Supporting Actress Award and the Toronto Film Critics' Best Supporting Actress Award. She went on to make Hero which was a huge success in the English-speaking world and an Oscar and a Golden Globe contender. Her next film was the avant-garde drama Purple Butterfly which competed at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. She went back to the martial arts genre with House of Flying Daggers, which earned her a Best Actress nomination from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

For her next drama 2046, directed by Wong Kar-wai, starring many of East Asia's best-known actresses, Zhang won the Hong Kong Film Critics' Best Actress Award and the Hong Kong Film Academy's Best Actress Award.

Showing her whimsical musical tap-dancing side, Zhang starred in Princess Raccoon directed by 82-year-old Japanese legend Seijun Suzuki who was honored at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.

She plays the leading role of Sayuri in the adaptation of the international bestseller Memoirs of a Geisha, with her Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon co-star Michelle Yeoh, as well as Gong Li and Ken Watanabe. The movie was produced by Steven Spielberg, directed by Rob Marshall, and released in December 2005. Zhang received a Best Actress - Drama Golden Globe nomination for her role.

Zhang has also been known to sing, and was featured on the House of Flying Daggers Soundtrack with her own musical rendition of the ancient Chinese poem "Jia Rén Qu" ("The Beauty Song"). The song was also featured in a scene in the film.

On June 27, 2005 it was announced that Zhang had accepted an invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), placing her among the ranks of those able to vote on the Academy Awards.

In the fall of 2006, Zhang is set to release a new drama set in Tang Dynasty China, called The Banquet, though the Chinese title literally translates to The Evening Banquet.

Zhang Ziyi has also been an advertiser for famous brand name companies such as the following: Maybelline, Pantene, Visa, Coca Cola, Asience (Japanese shampoo brand), LVMH Group, Lenovo, and Got Milk?.

She has tried very hard to improve her English, both in the States and in China, and has made great strides, using some of the best English instructors, schools in New York, and apparently American and Canadian tutors in Beijing.
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