Raymond Chow Man-wai, the man whose name was synonymous with kungfu legend and cultural icon Bruce Lee, has died at the age of 91.

Known as the “godfather of the Hong Kong film industry”, Chow had been the one who introduced Bruce Lee to the world after the late kungfu star appeared on Hong Kong’s popular variety show Enjoy Yourself Tonight.

Long-time friend Robert Chua, widely known as the pioneer of terrestrial television in Hong Kong, said on Friday (Nov 2) that Chow’s death “is a loss to the film industry”.

“He brought Bruce to the world and, in turn, Hong Kong to the world,” he said.

Describing Chow as soft spoken, down to earth and a gentleman, Chua said: “I just find that unlike some people who are very active and kungfu, he’s very mild but also passionate.”

Born in 1927, Chow began his professional life as a newspaper reporter before working as a radio and television producer for several years.

In 1959, he joined the Shaw Brothers group and later held a key position in Run Run Shaw’s empire.

In 1970, he set up Golden Harvest with the late Leonard Ho Koon-cheung and started producing a series of acclaimed movies, including Fist of Fury, Police Story and The Private Eyes.

In his career, Chow also nurtured and groomed those who worked in front or behind the camera, including actors Jackie Chan, the Hui Brothers, Sammo Hung and film director John Woo.

Digital news outlet HK01 said Chow was in 1998 awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star by the government for his very distinguished service to the community.

In 2007, he sold his shares in Golden Harvest and announced his retirement at age 81 in 2008, the same year he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Hong Kong Film Awards. – The Straits Times/ANN