1 April was the 20th anniversary of the death of Hong Kong singer and actor Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing, affectionately known to Hongkongers as “gor gor”, or big brother in Cantonese.
As well as numerous fans gathering outside the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Central to lay down flowers at the spot where Leslie Cheung jumped to his death in 2003, several exhibitions and events are paying tribute to the Hong Kong beloved star, including Miss You Much Leslie Exhibition at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum until 9 October.
Throughout a 26-year career, Leslie Cheung (1956-2003) released over 40 music albums and acted in 56 films. He was one of the leading avant-gardiste who shaped the identity of Cantopop during the 1980s, known for his theatrical and ostentatious stage appearance.
In 1984, with his self-titled album and its single Monica, and its upbeat dance production, Cheung introduced a new popular trend to Cantopop in addition to the contemporary pool of sentimental ballads.
His 1987 Summer Romance was a best-seller album.
In addition to music, Cheung started acting, playing a disillusioned teenager in Nomad by Patrick Tam (1982) and a police officer torn between justice and brotherhood in A Better Tomorrow by John Woo (1986).
Cheung achieved a broader recognition as an actor in the 1990s, especially for his portrayal of gay characters in a then-conservative film industry.
He played a womaniser longing for the return of his estranged mother in Days of Being Wild by Wong Kar-wai (1990).
His role as a gay Peking opera actor in Farewell My Concubine by Chen Kaige (1993) brought him attention from the western world, with the movie winning several awards worldwide, including the Palme D’Or at Cannes Film Festival.
In 1997, Cheung starred in the drama Happy Together with actor Tony Leung, a film by Wong Kar-wai explicitly depicting a gay male relationship.
In 2000’s, Cheung collaborated with French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier, to transform “From Angel to Devil” in four costumes, the Angel, the Pretty Boy, the Latin Lover, and the Devil, denoting cross-cultural drag.
The Passion Tour, his final concert tour in 2000-2001 visited Asia, the UK and the US, and broke attendance records throughout Asia.
On 1 April 2003, Leslie Cheung, who was suffering from depression, took his own life, leaving fans in desperation and grief and sending shockwaves across the city.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of his passing, the Leisure and Cultural Service Department (LCSD) and the Hong Kong Heritage Museum have organised the Miss You Much Leslie Exhibition, centred around the theme “Love only lasts for eternity, beyond time and space”,