Liu, a protégé of martial arts choreographer Lau Kar-leung, became famous as the bald-headed monk in The 36th Chamber of Shaolin in 1978 – an image that has stuck with him since – and went on to star in a number of acclaimed Shaw Brothers films, such as Dirty Ho, Martial Club and The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter.
“He has generally appeared in films of some quality,” a Hong Kong critic wrote in 1981.
Liu came into vogue again during the martial arts boom of the 1990s, taking supporting roles in movies such as Last Hero in China, and yet again in the 2000s when Quentin Tarantino cast him in the two Kill Bill films. Sadly, the affable Liu suffered head trauma when he fell while having a stroke in 2011, and has been in a nursing home ever since.
The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin (1977) 少林三十六房 **Official Trailer** by Shaw Brothers
Martial arts performers fall vaguely into different camps – actors who learn martial arts for their roles, former stuntmen who have picked up martial arts as their careers progressed, those who learn martial arts in Beijing Opera schools, and those who began their careers as martial artists and then moved into acting.
Liu hails from the latter camp, having studied hung ga kung fu at the school founded by Lau Kar-leung’s father, Lau Cham - whose own master had studied under Wong Fei-hung - which gives Liu’s martial arts lineage a direct connection to the legendary Wong