Date and Place of Birth
August 6, 1962
Place of Birth
001. Biography (below)
003. Personal Quotes
004. Official Instagram
005. Official Facebook
(from her instagram)
Michelle Choo-Kheng Yeoh was born on August 6, 1962 in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia to Janet and Kian Teik Yeoh. Her mother was a housewife, while her father was a lawyer. Her father was elected as a Senator of Malaysia from 1959-1969 and the founder of “Sri Maju”, a major intercity coach service in Malaysia and Singapore, in 1975. At an early age, Michelle began studying ballet, which paved the way for attending the Royal Academy of Dance in London as a teenager, though a back injury ended her dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer. She not only danced, but also played piano, basketball, rugby, swam, and was also a junior squash champion. After her injury, she changed her focus to choreography, graduating in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in creative arts with a minor in drama. Michelle had planned on opening her own ballet school, but her mother ended up entering her into the Miss Malaysia pageant in 1983. After becoming Miss Malaysia and placing eighth in the Miss World pageant, she appeared in a commercial with Jackie Chan which led to an acting contract. The Hong Kong production company who signed her requested Michelle go by Michelle Khan, before she settled with Michelle Yeoh as her stage name.
1984 brought Michelle her first credited acting role as Miss Yeung in The Own vs. Bumbo and quickly adding two more films, Yes, Madam! and Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars the next year. She went on to star opposite Michael Wong and Hiroyuki Sanada in Royal Warriors in 1986. Dynamite Fighters and Easy Money would come next in 1987.
Thanks to her extensive dance background, and training eight hours a day at the gym, she would perform a high majority of her own martial arts stunts throughout her career; Michelle even learned Cantonese. After marrying her then-husband Dickson Poon in 1987, she decided to retire from acting. Michelle returned to acting in 1992 for Supercop opposite Jackie Chan as Inspector Jessica Yang – Director of INTERPOL after divorcing Poon. She not only performed her own motorbike jump stunt from the bike onto a train, Michelle also learned how to ride a motorcycle for the film. 1993 became her busiest year in film, starring in six films total. First came Butterfly and Sword where she played Lady Ko, a loyalist who attempts to keep the King’s empire from being overthrown. Next came The Heroic Trio followed by Holy Weapon, and The Heroic Trio 2: Executioners. Michelle reprised her role as Inspector Jessica Yang for Supercop 2 followed by Tai Chi Master, where she starred as Sir Lin opposite Jet Li. 1994 brought three more action films: Wing Chun, Wonder Seben, and Shaolin Popey II: Messy Temple along with The Stunt Woman (1996) and The Song Sisters (1997) before taking the leap into international film. She almost quit acting due to injuring her back during the filming of The Stunt Woman, but a conversation with Quentin Tarantino encouraged her to continue acting.
Tomorrow Never Dies
Michelle was cast in the 1997 Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies as a Chinese agent, opposite Pierce Bronsnan. The film was quite notable as she was cast based on her acting rather than her stunt skills along with breaking the “Bond girl mold” by giving 007 him a female fighting partner. In 1999, she played the role of Michelle in Moonlight Express, a crime drama following a Japanese woman who lost her fiancé in a car crash meets a Chinese man named Karbo who looks exactly like him who himself is on the run from the police after being framed. The next year, Michelle starred alongside Chow Yun-Fat and Ziyi Zhang in the critically acclaimed film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
She earned countless nominations during award season including Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role at the 2001 BAFTAs. 2002 brought The Touch, an action adventure following a sister and brother being called upon by a Buddhist monk sect to retrieve an artifact that their ancestors have protected throughout the ages. Serving as one of the producers, Michelle earned the Huabiao Film Awards for Outstanding Co-Production for the film with Thomas Chung. She lent her voice for the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon video game in 2003 to voice her character You Shu Lien. Michelle starred in Silver Hawk in 2004 as Lulu Wong who is a socialite by day and vigilante by night. She would earn another Huabiao Film Award for Outstanding Co-Produced Film with Thomas Chung.
2005 brought the critically acclaimed romantic drama Memoirs of a Geisha where Michelle portrayed Mamesha alongside her Crouching Tiger… co-star Ziyi Zhang. Next came the biographical drama Fearless playing Miss Yang opposite Jet Li. The film follows Chinese Martial Arts Master Huo Yuanjia, who is the founder and spiritual guru of the Jin Wu Sports Federation.
Memoirs Of Geisha
In 2007, Michelle stepped away from action to star with Sean Bean and Michelle Krusiec in the romantic drama Far North, followed by the sci-fi cult film Sunshine with Cillian Murphy and Chris Evans. 2008 was busy for her, appearing in The Children of Huang Chi, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (also voicing her character for the video game), Babylon A.D., and Purple Mountain. 2010 brought True Legend, a historical drama set in 1861 China where a military general gets betrayed by this foster brother, Michelle portrayed Dr. Yu in the film. She followed that up by stepping into the role of Zeng Jing in Reign of Assassins which also starred Jung Woo-sung and Xueqi Wang. Michelle earned a Best Actress nomination at the Asian Film Awards, along with Outstanding Abroad Actress at the Huabiao Film Awards and Favorite Actress at the People’s Choice Awards for her performance. She would next lend her voice for the character Soothsayer in Jack Black’s Kung Fu Panda 2. Michelle next portrayed Burmese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in The Lady. Her performance earned her the Spotlight Award at the 2011 Mill Valley Film Festival, along with a nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture at the Satellite Awards the same year. That October, Michelle became Guerlain’s newest skincare ambassador to help strengthen the French company’s relationship with Asia.
Star Trek: Discovery
2013 gave Michelle her last motion picture before her first venture into television. Final Recipe, a drama following a grandson who wants to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps to become a chef and take over the family restaurant. “Strike Back” became her first television series, serving as a recurring role in 2015 playing Li-Na and Mei Foster.Michelle portrayed Lotus in the television movie Marco Polo: One Hundred Eyes, as well as the television series, before reprising her role as Yu Shu Lien in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny the next year.Also in 2016, Michelle appeared in Jason Statham’s action film Mechanic: Resurrection as Mei. She returned to the sci-fi world in Morgan as Dr. Lui Cheng. The film follows corporate risk-management consultant must decide whether or not to terminate an artificially created humanoid being. She entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2017 portraying the role of Aleta Ogord in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. 2018 brought Crazy Rich Asians, a romantic comedy following a native New Yorker to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family.
Crazy Rich Asians
Michelle portrayed Eleanor Young, the matriarch of her son’s family. The film was critically acclaimed and earned Michelle and the cast a Screen Actors Guild Nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, along with GALECA’s Dorian Award nomination for Film Performance of the Year – Supporting Actress. She would also appear in Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy as Tso Ngan Kwan and entering the Star Trek universe in “Star Trek: Discovery” as Philippa Georgiou in which she would also have a guest appearance on the series “Star Trek: Short Treks” and .“Star Trek: Discovery Logs”.
Michelle played Santa in 2019’s Last Christmas, reuniting her with her Crazy Rich Asians son Henry Golding. The next year, she appeared in the action comedy Boss Level as Dai Feng. The film stars Frank Grillo, following his character as he’s caught in a time loop that constantly repeats the day of his murder. Michelle appeared as Florence in Gunpowder Milkshake, an action film starring Karen Gillan.
She returned to Marvel, portraying Ying Nan in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings as Shang-Chi and Xialing’s maternal aunt. Michelle lent her voice for Minions: The Rise of Grunge and Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank before porting Professor Anemone in The School for Good and Evil with Charlize Theron.
Everything Everywhere All at Once
She even entered the world of The Witcher stepping into the role of Scian in the mini series The Witcher: Blood Origin. Most notably, 2022 gave Michelle her first starring role in Hollywood in the critically acclaimed Everything Everywhere All at Once, where the role was specifically written for her. She earned countless awards, most notably the Golden Globe Award and Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. Michelle made history by winning the Academy Award for Best Actress as the first Asian female to do so. She lent her voice for Airazor in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, the newest installment of the sci-fi series based on the Hasbro toys. She also portrayed the role of Guanyin in the Disney+ series “American Born Chinese”, which follows a young teenager balancing high school and home life.
American Born Chinese
Michelle upcoming projects include A Haunting in Venice, a crime drama set to be released on September 15, 2023. Da nao donghai is currently in post-production and also stars Lei Wu and Fengyi Zhang. She also has a couple television roles lined up, “The Brothers Sun” in post-production and ARK: The Animated Series which is currently in production.
(from her instagram)
Michelle will voice Mrs. Lee in The Tiger’s Apprentice and portray the role of Madam Morrible in the film adaption of the stage musical Wicked!. Both projects are currently in production. Star Trek: Action 31 is currently in pre-production where she will reprise her role as Philippa Georgiou. Michelle is also slated to appear in the next three Avatar films as Dr. Karina Mogue.
Michelle recently married her longtime partner Jean Todt, International Automobile Federation president.
She is fluent in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien and French.
Throughout the years, she has donated her time as a WildAid Ambassador for endangered animals and is the United Nations Development Program Goodwill Ambassador for sustainable development, appointed to the title in 2016. Michelle’s activism ranges to all well-being issues, including road safety to AIDS with Live to Love and the American Foundation for AIDS Research.