Veteran HK Actress Lydia Sum Dies

19 Feb

HONG KONG : Hong Kong comedian and actress Lydia Sum Din-Ha has died on Tuesday after a long battle against liver cancer.

The Shanghai-born star was 60. Tributes have been pouring in from all sectors of Hong Kong society.

The actress tickled the funny bone of Hong Kongers and Asians alike for four decades.

Affectionately known to fans as ‘Fei-fei’ or ‘Fatty Sum’, she made her film debut in 1960, joining Shaw Brothers as a child actress.

In the 1970s, she shot to fame with local station TVB’s variety show ‘Enjoy Yourself Tonight,’ which was widely-televised across Chinese communities the world over.

As an actress, she proved her versatility in both comic and dramatic roles across a host of genres. She is fondly remembered playing the matriarch in the all-star comedy ‘It’s a Mad, Mad World’ about a money-obsessed family. She retired from movies in 1997.

More recently, Sum starred in Singapore’s MediaCorp Channel 5 sitcom ‘Living with Lydia’.

Her performance won her the ‘Best Comedy Performance by an Actress’ award at the 2003 Asian Television Awards.

Last year, she also received a lifetime achievement award for her contribution to television by TVB.

But her health took a turn for the worst in recent years. In 2006, she was diagnosed with liver and gall bladder cancer. Since then, she has been in and out of the hospital for treatment.

In October last year, she had to be rushed back to hospital for emergency treatment after collapsing at home.

Many in Hong Kong paid tribute to her life and career, testament to her indelible contribution to the entertainment scene.

“For most adults in Hong Kong, she grew up with us during the city’s rise and prosperity,” said one Hong Kong resident.

Lydia is survived by a daughter, Joyce Cheng, from her marriage to Hong Kong actor-singer Adam Cheng.

Her family members were reportedly by her bedside when she died on Tuesday morning at Queen Mary Hospital. They have declined to comment at this stage.

Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang praised the actress’s her gritty fight against cancer.

“She represented a kind of spirit that was respected by many Hong Kong people and her passing makes me feel very sad. The sound of her laughter has been a part of growing up in Hong Kong and brought us a lot of joy,” said Hong Kong Chief Executive Tsang.

Her infectious laughter and exuberant personality will surely be missed by many. – CNA /ls

Channel News Asia

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