Once dubbed the “Baby Queen” of Hong Kong’s famed Shaw Brothers Studio, former actress Li Ching was found dead yesterday in her small Quarry Bay apartment, where her body had reportedly lain for days.
According to Apple Daily, police received a report at 4pm yesterday from residents living in the Hoi Kwong Court apartment block on Hoi Kwong Street that there was a foul smell in their building.
When firefighters broke into one of the apartment, they found the body of former actress Li Ching. She was 69-years-old and lived alone.
According to the newspaper, officers found nothing suspicious and are trying to contact her family.
Born in Shanghai in 1948 as Li Guoying, Li was raised in Hong Kong and — against the wishes of her parents — joined Shaw Brothers, Hong Kong’s then-largest film production company, when she was just 15 years old.
She started acting in films in 1964, and is most well-known for her starring role in the 1965 film The Mermaid, a Chinese opera film about a scholar who falls in love with a human girl played by Li and a carp that takes on human form, also played by Li.
She went on to win the award for Best Actress at the 12th Asian Film Festival for her performance, earning the nickname “Baby Queen” of Shaw Brothers. She was 17 at the time.
In a career that spanned 19 years, she appeared in more than 60 movies, winning over audiences with performances in films like Susanna, Hong Kong Rhapsody, and The Merry Wife.
According to Apple Daily, at one point she lived in a luxurious home on the Peak that was more than 1,000 square feet and even had a personal chauffeur.
But tragedy struck in 1979 when her boyfriend of 10 years passed away, and again when her mother died of illness in 1983. Shortly after her mother’s death, Li announced she would retire as an actress.
Apple Daily reported that the luxurious flat on the Peak was later sold and Li went on to live a life in quiet obscurity.