Joan Chen

  • Birth Name: ??
  • Birth Place: Shanghai, China
  • Profession: Actor, Director
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Fast Facts

  • Birth name Chén Chōng is translated as "charge on." 
  • Her parents, both physicians, were sent to re-education camps during China's Cultural Revolution.
  • Was a teen film star in China after being discovered by Jiang Qing, the wife of Chairman Mao Zedong, who sent her to study acting at the Shanghai Film Studio.
  • Moved to the U.S. at age 20, and was discovered (in the parking lot of Lorimar studios) by producer Dino Di Laurentiis, who cast her in the 1986 adventure Tai-Pan.
  • Breakout role was as the drug-addicted Chinese empress in Bernardo Bertolucci's 1986 epic The Last Emperor. 
  • Biggest TV role was mill owner Josie Packard in Twin Peaks; had guest roles in a number of series in the '80s and '90s, including MacGyver, Miami Vice, Night Stalker and Homicide: Life in the Streets.
  • Her directorial debut, Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl (1999), an acclaimed drama critical of the cultural revolution, was banned in China.


  • 2007, Australian Film Institute Awards — Best Lead Actress: Winner
  • 2000, Independent Spirit Awards — Best First Feature over $500,000: Nominee


  • Peter Hui — Husband
  • Angela Frances Hui — Daughter
  • Chase Chen — Brother
  • Chen Xing Rong — Father
  • Zhang An Zhong — Mother
  • Audrey Hui — Daughter
  • Jim Lau — Ex-husband


  • Atended State University of New York, New Paltz, New York, United States; California State University, Northridge, California, United States (BA in Film Production, 1991)

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