One of the hottest stars in the 60s and 70s, Li Ching was said to have been mired in gambling debts and money problems in her later years.
Li Ching, the baby-faced actress who was one of Hong Kong’s biggest film stars in the 1960s and 1970s, has died aged 69, media reports said.
Li was found slumped in her rented apartment in the Quarry Bay district in Hong Kong on Thursday.
She had apparently been dead for a few days, Hong Kong media reported.
The building’s security guard called the police after a foul smell emerged from her flat. Li apparently lived alone and had died of natural causes, the reports said. The police were trying to contact her next-of-kin.
Born Li Guoying in Shanghai and raised in Hong Kong, Li shot to fame at just 17 playing the lead opposite Ivy Ling Po in ‘The Mermaid’ in 1965.
The role won Li the Best Actress award at the Asian Film Festival.
She won the Most Popular Actress award at the same festival in 1972 playing a teenage wife in ‘The Merry Wife’, a romantic comedy.
The film also earned her the nickname of ‘Baby Movie Queen’.
In a career spanning two decades, Li made more than 50 films, most of them with Shaw Brothers studio. Her most celebrated works include ‘Three Smiles’, ‘The Lotus Lamp’, ‘Susanna’, and ‘Bodyguard’.
She was also known for her relationship with Run Run Shaw, who co-founded Shaw Brothers and was one of Asia’s most influential media moguls.
Since retiring from show business in 1983, Li had largely stayed out of the limelight.
She never married after her long-time boyfriend, a scion of the Kowloon Motor Bus Company, died in 1979.
She was said to have lost a fortune in stock investments and gambling, and was reduced to living in cheap rental apartments.
Reports said she was embroiled in a long-running court dispute with a landlord over unpaid rent. – The Straits Times