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Joan Chen

actress, director
Born: 4/26/1961
Birthplace: Shanghai, China

Chen has found critical and commercial success in Hollywood, Hong Kong, and China. Her film career began in China, at age 14, when she appeared in Xie Jin's Youth (1976). As a student at the Shanghai Foreign Language Institute, Chen also pursued acting, starring in Little Flower (1978). She won China's equivalent of the Oscar, the Hundred Flowers Best Actress Award, for the performance. She left China and enrolled at California State University, while pursuing an acting career in the U.S. Her first American film was Wayne Wang's Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart (1985). Despite her obvious talent, roles were few and far between for Chen, but she landed a breakthrough role in Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor (1987). She appeared in David Lynch's offbeat television series Twin Peaks (1990). Her other films include Oliver Stone's Heaven and Earth (1993) and The Wild Side (1995). She made her directorial debut with Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl (1998). She also directed Autumn in New York (2000), starring Winona Ryder and Richard Gere. Chen returned to China in the mid-1990s, where she starred in several successful films, including Temptation of a Monk and Red Rose, White Rose. Her 2006 films include Americanese and Tonight at Noon.

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