My Family History

Trace your ancestors and then immortalise them!

    Leslie Cheung  張國榮  Sept 12, 1956 - April 1, 2003

Leslie Cheung (Zhang Guorong) was born Cheung Fat-chung (張發宗) in Hong Kong on Sept 12, 1956 to Cheung Wut-hoi and Poon Yuk-yiu.  The youngest of ten children in a middle-class Hakka family. His ancestry was from Meizhou, Guangdong. His father, was a fairly well known tailor, whose customers included American actors William Holden, Marlon Brando, and Cary Grant. His parents divorced when he was quite young. In interviews, Cheung said "I didn't have a happy childhood. Arguments, fights and we didn't live together; I was brought up by my granny." "What I would say most affected me as a child, was that my parents were not at home with me. As a young kid, one could not always understand why his parents weren't at home. This made me depressed sometimes."

 

He was educated at Buddhist Wong Fung Ling College, Rosaryhill School, Wellington College, and at the age of 12, he was sent to Norwich School in England. He worked as a bartender at his relatives' restaurant in Southend-on-Sea and sang during the weekends. It was around this period that he chose his name, Leslie.  He chose this name because "I love the film Gone with the Wind. And I like Leslie Howard." He attended Leeds University where he studied textile management but his time there was cut short as he returned to HK to help his father who was ill.

He became a teen heartthrob and pop icon in Hong Kong during the 1980s, winning several awards. In 1989, Leslie announced his retirement as a pop singer to focus on other things such as composing. In 1993, he won Best Original Movie Song Award from Golden Horse Film Festival for the theme song Red Cheek, White Hair to the movie The Bride with White Hair. In 1995, he composed all three theme songs for the film The Phantom Lover. He won four nominations for Best Original Movie Song Award at the Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards and two nominations for Best Original Film Song at the Hong Kong Film Awards.


Returning to the Pop Scene in 1994, he released his chart-topping comeback album Most Beloved (寵愛)  His 1984 hit song Monica was voted as Hong Kong's "Song of the Century", and he was honoured as "Asia's Biggest Superstar" at the 2000 CCTV-MTV Music Honours. The turning point in Cheung's acting career had come in 1986 with his starring role in John Woo's A Better Tomorrow, which broke Hong Kong's box office record. In the following years Cheung was praised for his performances in many films including A Chinese Ghost Story in 1987. One of the crowning moments in his career. The title song remains for many , including myself, one of the definitive moments in Chinese Popular Music History.

Leslie was a supporter of several charities concerning children's welfare. He was a patron of the Children's Cancer Foundation, He was also a patron of the End Child Sexual Abuse Foundation (ECSAF), founded by veteran actress Josephine Siao. He moved to Vancouver in 1990 and became a Canadian citizen by naturalisation. He is the first foreign artist to hold 16 concerts in Japan that has yet to be broken and the record holder as the best-selling C-pop artist in Korea. He was ranked as the favourite actor in the 100 years of Chinese cinema. In 2010, he was voted the third "Most Iconic Musicians of All Time" (after Michael Jackson and The Beatles). CNN considered him as the "Most Beautiful Man from Hong Kong Cinema" and one of "Asia's 25 Greatest Actors of All Time." He is considered as one of the fathers of Cantopop and combined a hugely successful film and music career.

 

Leslie committed suicide on April 1, 2003 by jumping off the 24th floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hong Kong.  His suicide note in translation: "Depression! Many thanks to all my friends. Many thanks to Professor Felice Lieh-Mak (Leslie's last psychiatrist). This year has been so tough. I can't stand it anymore. Many thanks to Mr. Tong. Many thanks to my family. Many thanks to Sister Fei. In my life I have done nothing bad. Why does it have to be like this?" Bless you Leslie, and thank you for the treasures you gave us.

                          A nice garden for Leslie to sit in. A gift from Firefly, Hoa Tim, Arlene, and Chiron.