This is a Chinese name; the family name is Leung (梁).
Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (Chinese: 梁朝偉; pinyin: Liáng Cháowěi; Cantonese Yale: Lèuhng Chìuh Wáih; born June 27, 1962) is a Cannes Film Festival and 5 times Hong Kong Film Award-winning Hong Kong movie and TV actor. He has been a major film star since the 1990s.
To distinguish himself from fellow actor Tony Leung Ka-Fai, he is known colloquially in Hong Kong as "Little Tony", while Ka-Fai is known as "Big Tony", nicknames which correspond to the actors' respective physical statures.
Leung is a Toisanese-Chinese born in Hong Kong, though his family came from Taishan, Guangdong, China. Leung's early childhood was punctuated with parents' quarrels and arguments about money. A mischievous boy in his early years, Leung's personality changed when his father, a chronic gambler, left the family when he was eight; he and his younger sister were brought up single-handedly by their mother.
Leung became a reticient, quiet child; his childhood experiences made it difficult for him to trust in marriage and paved the way for his acting career, which allow him "to express my emotions without me getting embarrassed. I can cry or smash things on the set, but no one knows that's just acting or that's how I am really feeling." "After my father left me when I was eight, I became afraid to talk to other people. In school, when other children talked about their parents, I would get very embarrassed. I didn't want to mention my father, so I seldom talked to others".
His childhood has had a lasting effect on Leung's personality. "I am very restrained, very suppressed, very quiet. I don't like to talk too much because I don't know what to do in front of an audience. Actually, I don't know how to communicate with others because of my background and I am scared".
Leung's mother worked hard to keep him attending a private school, but even so, Tony had to quit school at the age of 15 due to financial difficulties. As an adolescent he behaved himself and remained very close to his mother. During a DVD interview on the making of Hero, he says that he sees his mother as his definition of a "hero" for having brought up two children alone.
After quitting his studies, Leung worked in a variety of jobs, first as a grocer's runner at his uncle's shop, then a showroom salesman in a Hong Kong shopping centre. He met actor and comedian Stephen Chow who influenced his decision to become an actor and remains a good friend.
In 1982 he passed the training courses of television channel TVB. Due to his boyish looks, TVB cast him as host of a children's programme, 430 Space Shuttle. Leung enjoyed comedies during his television years; it was for these he became well known.
Many consider Tony Leung's role in director John Woo's 1992 action film Hard Boiled in which he co-starred with Chow Yun-Fat, as his breakthrough role in film. However, Leung first gained international exposure through Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 1989 film A City of Sadness, which won the Venice Golden Lion.
Leung often collaborates with director Wong Kar-wai and has appeared in many of his films. His most notable roles in Wong Kar-wai's films include the lonely policeman in Chungking Express (1994), a gay Chinese expatriate living in Argentina in Happy Together (1997), and a self-controlled victim of adultery in In the Mood for Love (2000), for which he won the Best Actor award at Cannes.
He is considered by many to be the finest actor of his generation in Hong Kong. Robert De Niro is an admirer of his work, and Leung has been called Asia's answer to Clark Gable.
Leung also has an on-and-off Cantopop and Mandarin pop singing career and sang the theme song of Infernal Affairs with Andy Lau.
Leung speaks decent English and is well read and well versed on historical issues. During the late 1990s, some predicted that it would be difficult for him to break into Hollywood since he would not take on degrading roles because of his pride and character. To date, he has not done a Hollywood film, but is primed to appear in one after signing on with an American film agent.
In addition to Cantonese and English, Spanish, Leung is also able to speak Mandarin and Japanese (as heard in Tokyo Raiders).
During the promotion of the film Hero, some politicians and commentators in Hong Kong attacked Leung for expressing the view that the Tiananmen Square demonstration crack down was necessary to maintain stability. Under constant political pressure and boycott threats, Leung made a single statement that he may have been quoted out of context but refused to retract his statement in the magazine. However, the movie magazine editor maintained that the original statement was not out of context and challenged people to read the complete interview.
Leung has dated Carina Lau since the end of 1989. He had known her since The Replica in 1984 as she had been good friends with Margie Tsang, his previous girlfriend. He worked on-screen with Lau in Replica (1984), Duke of Mount Deer (1984), Police Cadet (1984, 1985, 1988), The Yangs' Saga (1985), Days of Being Wild (1991), He ain't heavy, he's my father (1993), Ashes of Time (1994), and 2046 (2005).
In 1990, during the filming of Days of Being Wild, Lau was abducted for several hours. Wong Kar-wai said, "Originally, there were plans for Days of Being Wild I and II, and the sequence featuring Tony Leung was meant to be the opening scene of the second movie. But two things happened, one of which was that Days of Being Wild didn't do well in Hong Kong, so the producers said, "No Part 2." The other reason was the Carina Lau's kidnapping".
On July 21, 2008, the couple got married in Bhutan in a royal fashion. The wedding created a media frenzy in Hong Kong, with companies spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to pursue the wedding party.
According to Ming Pao Daily News, Faye Wong and her husband actor Li Yapeng had taken them to India in 2007 to visit the 17th Karmapa. The Karmapa's counsel helped them to resolve a crisis in their relationship, and he also suggested Bhutan as a wedding venue.
Their first TV serial together was the highly successful Police Cadet in 1984 (later named Police Cadet 84 to distinguish it from subsequent sequels). Leung played an outgoing young man who decides to become a police officer in order to earn a living for his family; Maggie Cheung played a shy bookworm, Tony's upstairs neighbour and love interest. Since then they have worked together on The Yangs' Saga (1985), Days of Being Wild (1991), Ashes of Time (1994), In the Mood for Love (2000), Hero (2002), and 2046 (2005).
In an interview by renowned director Wong Kar-wai, Leung had this to say about Cheung:
"She is like my alter ego. We started our careers at almost the same time and acted opposite each other in our first television series and on some other occasions - like on the Days of Being Wild sequel, which was never released, and on Ashes of Time. But we did not work opposite each other again until In the Mood for Love. Maggie is a truly formidable partner - one to waltz with. We do not spend a lot of time with each other, as we like to keep some mystery between us. Whenever I see her, I discover something new about her".