Worked as a bellboy, camera salesman and assistant postman before becoming an actor.
Got his big break in John Woo's 1986 Hong Kong action flick A Better Tomorrow.
Hailed as "the coolest actor in the world" by the Los Angeles Times in 1995.
Named Star of the Decade in 1997 by CineAsia.
Made his American film debut in 1998's The Replacement Killers.
Most of his scenes were cut from the Chinese version of 2007's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, because censors thought his portrayal of pirate lord Sao Feng presented negative views of the Chinese.
After the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, he released a book of photographs called Moving Pictures and donated all proceeds to the Hong Kong Red Cross.