Legendary HK Actor Tam Ping-man Dies at 86

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In a career spanning more than 60 years Tam was TVB’s longest-serving voice actor and a major part in its hit variety show, Enjoy Yourself Tonight

Tam Ping-man, a legendary actor and the Hong Kong voice for stars such as Marlon Brando, died on Saturday after a battle with lung cancer. He was 86.

In a career spanning more than six decades, Tam was the voice of hundreds of characters in films, cartoons and drama series, and a regular fixture on the televisions of the city’s residents.

His family said he died at Ruttonjee Hospital in Wan Chai on Saturday morning.

A voice actor since the 1950s, Tam’s own film career began in 1964, and he joined free-to-air broadcaster, Television Broadcasts (TVB), four years later.

As well as being the voice of Brando’s character in The Godfather, he was also the Hong Kong voice for Charlie Townsend, the title character in Charlie’s Angels, the American crime drama that aired on ABC in the late 1970s.

Tam had renewed his contract with TVB in June this year and was the broadcaster’s longest-serving voice actor. He was also a key part of Enjoy Yourself Tonight, TVB’s well-known variety show, from 1969 to 1989.

A prolific performer, he was also a Canto-pop singer, and the 1960s hit, Old Loves Like A Dream, was his best-known song.

Tam is survived by a son and a daughter, Tam Suk-ying, who is also an actor.

Speaking outside Ruttonjee Hospital on Saturday afternoon, Tam Suk-ying said her father, who had previously been diagnosed with cancer, had difficulty breathing around midnight on Friday.

His condition got worse after he was sent to hospital. “I still can’t accept my father’s passing as his mind was still sharp,” she said.

Veteran actress and a former deputy to the National People’s Congress, Liza Wang Ming-chun, who has known Tam since the 1970s, expressed sadness over the actor’s death.

“Tam was a nice guy and he had taught me a lot in the past few decades,” she said. “I lost a good friend and a senior.”

She said she was a bit surprised by Tam’s sudden passing, as he was still in reasonably good health in recent years.

Nancy Sit Ka-yin, another veteran actress, described Tam as “the king of voice-overs”.

“He had groomed a lot of voice actors in the past few decades,” Sit said. “He was the role model of young actors and voice actors.”