|Early Years (1947-59)
Connie Chan Po-chu was born in 1947 in
Guangdong, China. Her father Chan Fei-nung and mother Kung
Fan-hung were renowned Cantonese Opera stars. (It is interesting
to note that, just as Connie would become famous for playing male
roles, her father was famous for playing female roles.) At the
age of five she started learning Cantonese Opera from her parents
and later became an apprentice of Peking Opera master Fen Juhua,
who was one of the first martial-arts actresses in Shanghai during
the 1920s. When Connie was nine, she began performing onstage. One
year later she and Leung Bo-chu (the daughter of the great comic actor
and opera clown Leung Sing-po) were the leading stars of the Double
Chu Opera Troupe.
In 1958, Connie made her film debut in
the Cantonese opera Madam Chun Heung-lin.
The following year she played in two Mandarin-language productions
for the MP&GI studio: as a widow’s daughter in Yue Feng’s
melodrama For Better, For Worse and as a young
boy in Tao Qin’s comedy The Scout Master.
That same year she also played the role of a filial son in
Breaking the Coffin to Rescue Mother.
Young Connie with her father
and teacher Fen