Profile of Andy Lau

Name: Andy Lau / Lau Tak-wah
Date of Birth: 27th September 1961
Birth Sign: Libra / Chinese year of the Ox
Country: Hong Kong

Training background

Perhaps surprisingly, Andy Lau was not a martial artist as such, prior to his acting career beginning when he joined TVB (Television Broadcasts Limited – A TV Broadcaster in Hong Kong).

When Lau started the artist training program organised and run by TVB, he started to learn a mix of skills, including acting, singing, presenting, martial arts and fight choreography.

Lau trains hard before each of his roles and specifically focuses on what is required for his latest role. In preparation for “Shaolin”, he spent 2 months studying Shaolin Seven Star Boxing on a daily basis, including a few days’ study in Hong Kong under Reverend Yongzhi (who had never taught anyone outside of the Shaolin premises before).

Here is my ID! - Infernal Affairs

Here is my ID! – Infernal Affairs


Andy Lau was born Lau Tak-wah on 27th September, 1961 in Tai Po, Hong Kong.

Lau was raised in a poor area which did not have running water and he had to make daily trips to fetch water for his family. Even though the family was poor, education was encouraged and he graduated from college in Kowloon.

Successfully applying for the artist training program offered by TVB, Lau started his training and his career. The training academy at TVB involved a wide variety of training for the entertainment industry and lasted over a year. While training, Lau also started to perform in their TV series, including fight scenes. While Lau has limited classical martial art training, he has mastered performing choreography.

The TVB classes were full-day classes (Monday to Friday – like a normal school). They started in 1971 for the purpose of training acting talent and initially they were a collaborative effort with Shaw Brothers Studios. This joint effort lasted until 1979 and at this point TVB started to run the classes on their own.

The first 6 months were dedicated to basic training required for performing in front of the camera (acting, presenting, martial arts, dance), also incorporating ‘behind-the-scenes’ knowledge of camerawork, editing, lighting, makeup etc. The last 6 months consisted of ‘hands-on practice’ and first performances.

Andy Lau looking smart in Shaolin

Andy Lau looking smart in Shaolin

During the year there were various examinations and tests that the students had to pass, and Lau had to pass all the tests to complete all the courses. Lau successfully graduated the academy and progressed to become a TVB artist.

After appearing on television for a year, Lau moved into films and in 1983, landed his first leading role in a Shaw Brothers film – “On The Wrong Track”.

The majority of Hong Kong actors get doubled during their career and Lau, with his limited martial arts training was often doubled in his early career by Chin Kar-lok. There is a documentary called “Cinema of Vengeance” in which behind the scenes footage of “Moon Warriors” is shown, displaying Kar-lok doubling Lau. Ridley Tsui has also doubled for Lau, performing somersaults in “God of Gamblers 2”. While most Hong Kong actors have been doubled at various points in their career (Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, etc), they also tend to do more of their own stunts and action scenes, including wire work, pyro work, etc, and Lau has performed a number of his own stunts.

During the 1980’s Lau worked in both television and film, becoming a very popular actor and leading man. In 1985 Lau also found time to start his musical career and has released over 50 albums since then -including 5 albums in 1991 alone! – winning many awards in the process. He is featured in the Guinness World Records for ‘Most awards won by a Cantopop Male artist’. Tak-wah performed with Jackie Chan when they sang together during the closing ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics, and also during the Paralympics Opening Ceremony of 2008.

In action in Firestorm

In action in Firestorm

In the late 1980’s, Lau faced contract issues with TVB as they wished to secure a 5-year exclusive contract. Lau declined to sign and started to focus on his film career.

Film Career

Lau appeared in a music video in 1981, which lead to him being spotted and offered a minor role in the 1981 film “Once Upon a Rainbow”. This in turn lead him to a role in the 1982 film “Boat People”, and in 1983 he secured his first leading role (as mentioned above) in the film “On the Wrong Track”.

Lau would appear in two to four films per year during the early to mid-1980’s, then in 1988 he concentrated on his film career landing roles in 10 films. Tak-wah would follow this in 1989 by appearing in 16 films. He went onto act in many films each year and has now been in over 100, and been the star in large proportion of them.

Andy and Jackie having a chat in Shaolin

Andy and Jackie having a chat in Shaolin

During the 1990’s, Lau started his own film production company, initially called Teamwork Motion Pictures Limited. In 2002 the company was renamed: Focus Group Holdings Limited.

Lau has featured in many films popular in both the East and the West, including “Infernal Affairs”, “House of Flying Daggers”, “The Warlords”, “Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame”, “Blind Detective” and “Shaolin”.

Did you know?

  • Lau established the Andy Lau Charity Foundation, to promote youth education and help people in need
  • While regularly singing in Cantonese and Mandarin, Lau has also sung in English, Japanese, Malay and Taiwanese
  • He won the ‘Asian Filmmaker of the Year’ award in 2006 at the Pusan International Film Festival
  • Lau was awarded the ‘Number 1 Box Office Actor 1985 – 2005’ of Hong Kong as his films have earned over 1.7 billion Hong Kong Dollars during that period.
  • Lau married his wife in 2008, after 24 years of being together.
  • In 2012 his wife gave birth to their first child, a baby girl called Hanna.


1982Once Upon a RainbowCameo
1982Boat PeopleActor
1983On the Wrong TrackActor
1983The Home at Hong KongActor
1984Everlasting LoveActor
1984Shanghai 13Cameo
1985The Unwritten LawActor
1986The Magic CrystalActor
1986Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky StarsActor
1986Lucky Stars Go PlacesActor
1987Rich and FamousActor
1987Sworn BrothersActor
1987Tragic HeroActor
1988As Tears Go ByActor
1988The Crazy CompaniesActor
1988The Crazy Companies IIActor
1988The Dragon FamilyActor
1988In the BloodActor
1988Lai Shi, China's Last EunuchCameo
1988The Romancing Star IIActor
1988Three Against the WorldActor
1988The TruthActor
1988Walk on FireActor
1989Bloody BrotherhoodActor
1989Casino RaidersActor
1989China WhiteActor
1989City KidsActor
1989Crocodile HunterActor
1989The First Time Is the Last TimeActor
1989God of GamblersActor
1989Little CopCameo
1989Long Arm of the Law Part 3Actor
1989News AttackActor
1989Perfect MatchActor
1989Proud and ConfidentActor
1989The Romancing Star IIIActor
1989Runaway BluesActor
1989Stars and RosesActor
1989The Truth - Final EpisodeActor
1990Days of Being WildActor
1990Dragon in JailActor
1990The Fortune CodeActor
1990Gangland OdysseyActor
1990God of Gamblers IIActor
1990A Home Too FarActor
1990Island of FireActor
1990Kawashima YoshikoActor
1990Kung Fu VS AcrobaticActor
1990A Moment of RomanceActor
1990No Risk, No Gain (Casino Raiders - The Sequel)Actor
1990Return EngagementActor
1991The BanquetCameo
1991Casino Raiders IIActor
1991Dances with DragonActor
1991Don't Fool MeActor
1991Hong Kong GodfatherActor
1991The Last BloodActor
1991Lee RockActor
1991Lee Rock IIActor
1991Saviour of the SoulActor
1991The TigersActor
1991Tricky BrainsActor
1991Zodiac KillersActor
1992Casino TycoonActor
1992Casino Tycoon 2Actor
1992Gameboy KidsActor
1992Gun n' RoseActor
1992Handsome SiblingsActor
1992Moon WarriorsActor
1992The Prince of Temple StreetActor
1992Saviour of the Soul IIActor
1992The StingActor
1992What a Hero!Actor
1993Days of TomorrowActor
1993Future CopsActor
1993Come Fly the DragonActor
1993Perfect ExchangeActor
1994Drunken Master IICameo
1994Drunken Master IIIActor
1994A Taste of Killing and RomanceActor
1994The Three SwordsmenActor
1994Tian DiActor, Producer
1995The AdventurersActor
1995Full ThrottleActor
1995PocahontasVoice only
1996What a Wonderful WorldActor
1996A Moment of Romance 3Actor
1996Shanghai GrandActor
1996Thanks for Your LoveActor
1997Cause We Are So YoungCameo
1997Made in Hong KongProducer only
1997Island of GreedActor
1998A True Mob StoryActor
1998The ConmanActor
1998The Longest SummerProducer only
1999Fascination AmourActor
1999Prince CharmingActor
1999The Conmen in VegasActor
1999Century of the DragonActor
1999Running Out of TimeActor
2000The DuelActor
2000Needing You...Actor
2000A Fighter's BluesActor, Producer
2001Love on a DietActor
2001Fulltime KillerActor, Producer
2001Dance of a DreamActor, Producer
2002Fat Choi SpiritActor
2002The Wesley's Mysterious FileActor
2002Infernal AffairsActor
2002Golden ChickenActor
2003Love Under the SunActor, Director
2003Cat and MouseActor
2003Give Them a ChanceActor
2003Running on KarmaActor
2003Infernal Affairs IIIActor
2003Golden Chicken 2Actor
2004Magic KitchenActor
2004Jiang HuActor
2004McDull, Prince de la BunVoice only
2004House of Flying DaggersActor
2004Yesterday Once MoreActor
2004A World Without ThievesActor
2005Wait 'Til You're OlderActor
2005The Shoe FairyNarrator, Producer
2005All About LoveActor
2006I'll Call YouCameo, Producer
2006My Mother is a Belly DancerCameo, Producer
2006A Battle of WitsActor
2007BrothersActor, Producer
2007The WarlordsActor
2008Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the DragonActor
2009Look for a StarActor
2009The Founding of a RepublicActor
2010Future X-CopsActor
2010Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom FlameActor
2011What Women WantActor
2011The Founding of a PartyActor
2011A Simple LifeActor, Producer
2012Cold WarActor
2013Blind DetectiveActor
2013FirestormActor, Producer
2014Golden Chicken 3Cameo
TBDLost and LonelyActor

Image Gallery

Stuart Grimes

Stuart Grimes is a fan of all martial arts. He has studied Shotokan Karate for a few years as a teenager and also taken classes in Judo, boxing and Kickboxing. His children have inherited his love of martial arts and currently train over 12 hours a week, incorporating Chin Woo Kung Fu, Gymnastics and Sport Karate. His eldest two children compete regularly and either hold or have held English, British or European titles in the WTKA, WKU, ISKA, WKKC, WMO, WMKF and WKC, as well as a Unity International Games title.

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