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Michelle Yeoh Choo-Kheng (杨紫琼) is a Chinese Malaysian actress, best known for performing her own stunts in the Hong Kong action films that brought her to fame in the early 1990s. Born in Ipoh, Malaysia, she was chosen by People as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" in 1997; in 2008, Rotten Tomatoes named her the greatest action heroine of all time. She is best known in the Western world for her roles in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, playing Wai Lin, and the Chinese-language martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, for which she was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in 2000.
Yeoh began dancing at an early age and later studied at the Royal Academy of Dance in London; however, she suffered from a spinal injury and thus turned her attention to choreography. In 1983, Yeoh won the Miss Malaysia beauty pageant. She also represented Malaysia at the 1983 Miss World pageant in London.Her film career began in earnest in the mid-80's with her 1995 role in martial arts movie Yes Madam, followed by more action-packed starring turns in Royal Warriors and Magnificent Warriors; but after she appeared in a commercial with Jackie Chan, she caught the attention of Hong Kong film production company, D&B Group. Yeoh married Dickson Poon, who ran D&B Group, in 1987 and retired from acting. When the two divorced in 1992, Yeoh returned to acting with still more stunt-heavy action flicks.
After her return to acting, some of her most prominent works were Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, Memoirs of a Geisha , and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Pierce Brosnan described her as "serious and committed about her work." Brosnan also referred to her as a "female James Bond," in reference to her combat abilities. While filming Tomorrow Never Dies, Yeoh filmed all of her own fighting scenes. Yeoh was also offered the role of Seraph in The Matrix sequels, but had to decline due to a scheduling conflict.
In 2002, Michelle Yeoh produced her first English film, The Touch, through her production company Mythical Films. In 2011, she portrayed Aung San Suu Kyi in The Lady. Consequently, Yeoh was blacklisted by the Burmese government for her participation in The Lady. Recently, Yeoh has begun to branch out into television with her role in the fifth season of Strike Back. In 2016, she was cast as Federation Captain Philippa Georgiou of the Shenzhou in Star Trek Discovery. Her most recent film role is family matriarch Eleanor Young in the adaptation of the novel Crazy Rich Asians.