Who is Bolo Yeung?
On his social media profiles, he represents himself as a bodybuilder, powerlifter, martial arts specialist, and actor. He held the title of Mr. Hong Kong for ten years from 1967, and is nicknamed The Chinese Hercules because of his muscular physique and massive pectoral muscles. He’s also known as the ‘Beast from the East’. You’re guessing that we talk about Bolo Yeung, who is probably still widely known best as Chong Li in the 1988 box office hit movie “Bloodsport”, also starring Jean Claude Van Damme.
Bolo has over 100 acting credits to his name, and in addition to the aforementioned part, he is perhaps known best for his portrayal of the name he’s since taken – Bolo in the film “Enter the Dragon”, which starred the legendary Bruce Lee.
Early life, family, and education
Born Yeung Sze under the zodiac sign of Cancer on 3 July 1946, he’s today aged 77. A native of Guangzhou, Guangdong, Republic of China, he holds Chinese nationality. Bolo was raised by his parents, whose names he hasn’t disclosed, but it’s known that his father was a local businessman, and that his mother was a housewife. It isn’t clear if he has any siblings.
Bolo began training in martial arts aged ten under several renowned Kung-Fu masters, and as a teenager, he became interested in bodybuilding. As mentioned, in 1967, he became Mr. Hong Kong- bodybuilding champion, and for the next 10 years, Bolo was undefeatable.
Speaking of his educational background, Bolo attended a local high school, and upon matriculating in 1964, he didn’t go to college, but eventually swam to Hong Kong to escape communism, and subsequently launched his acting career.
Acting career- beginnings and breakthrough role
Bolo made his acting debut playing Du Kuo Lung in the 1970 movie “The Wandering Swordsman”. Because of his appearance, he was often chosen to play ‘bad guys’ roles, and was seen in “The Lady Professional” (1971), “The Angry Guest” (1972), and “Dao Bing Fu” (1973), among many others, before he landed his breakthrough role as Bolo in the crime drama “Enter the Dragon”, which was registered at the National Film Preservation Board, USA, in 2004.
Bolo met the legend of Kung-Fu classic movies, Bruce Lee, while they were working together for the Winston cigarettes commercial, and the two became close friends. Bruce called him to star in this epic movie which followed the story of a Shaolin martial artist who travels to an island fortress disguised as a fighter in a tournament, to spy on a former monk from his temple who has become an opium lord.
During the ’70s and early ’80s, Bolo co-starred in numerous movies, until his first lead role in the 1977 action comedy “Bolo”, which he co-wrote and directed. Later, he was seen in “Game of Death” (1978), “Young Dragon” (1979), “Challenge of the Tiger” (1980), and “The Boxer’s Omen” (1983), among many others. Since the list of Bolo’s roles is too long to enumerate, we’ll mention some of his most notable.
Most notable roles
Bolo’s most significant role came in 1988 when he was cast to play Chong Li in the biographical sports drama “Bloodsport”, which followed the story of an American martial artist, Frank Dux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), who left the army to fight in a martial arts tournament in Hong Kong. Bolo played the dominant martial arts specialist who was Frank’s opponent.
The early ‘90s saw Bolo starring opposite Cynthia Rothrock and Nick Dibley in the 1991 action movie “Tiger Claws”, and its sequel, “Tiger Claws II” in 1996. Another of Bolo’s notable roles was his portrayal of Shingo, in the 1993 action movie ”Shootfighter: Fight to the Death” and then in its sequel, “Shootfighter II” (1996), for the first time playing the ‘good guy’.
After almost a decade, Bolo was cast to play Askar Trainer in the 2007 movie “Blizhniy Boy: The Ultimate Fighter”, also starring Cung Le, Eric Roberts and David Carradine, which followed the story of the son of the rich businessman who with ties to a Russian mobster family who force him to fight in martial arts tournament. Bolo directed the first 60 minutes of the movie, but had other commitments so couldn’t complete the remaining part of the movie filmed in Russia – the producer, Erken Lalgashev directed the rest. Bolo’s next role came in 2015, when he landed the role of Bulo in “Diamond Cartel”, but which was poorly rated by the audience (3.0/10).
— Toshing'$ (@toshing1) July 22, 2019
Most recently, Bolo returned on the big screen as Mr. Cheung in the action drama “AFEREZ”, in which he stars opposite Ali Surmeli and Erkan Can. The movie follows the story of a man who wakes up in a strange place and realizes that he’s tied up. Suddenly, he hears a voice telling him that he’s been poisoned and that if he doesn’t acquire the antidote, he will die in 60 minutes. His daughter is kidnapped and poisoned as well. The voice asked the man to give him the formula or they both will die. What will happen next? The pandemic breaks out worldwide. Intrigued? The movie is announced to premiere by the end of 2023.
Wife, sons, and daughter
Bolo is quite secretive when it comes to his personal life, however, it’s widely known that he’s a married man, but his wife’s name has stayed secret to this day. They have two sons, Danny and David, and daughter Debbra. David is also an actor, and former bodybuilding champion, while Danny prefers to keep his life away from the public eye.
Speaking of Debbra, she’s a bodybuilding and fitness champion, married to her former long-term boyfriend, Anu McKnight, who’s also a fitness and bodybuilding enthusiast. The couple married in 2014, and they have two children together.
Bolo and his wife live in their residence in Monterey, California.
How rich is Bolo Yeung? Net worth
In one of his rare interviews, Bolo stated that he never imagined himself as an actor, and that his aim was to become an opera singer. Acting happened by chance and eventually became his profession, bringing him respectable wealth in addition to fame. According to sources, as of July 2023, Bolo has a net worth estimated at over $1.5 million.