Tam Sin-hung and Yam Bing-yee both hailed from Macau. They were born in the same year, in the same month. Both entered film industry through Cantonese opera, both learned their craft under the tutelage of opera luminary Yam Kim-fai and both worked their way up the opera ranks. Each with a career in show business of over 50 years and both remaining active today, Tam and Yam together have over a century of experience on stage and screen.
Tam Sin-hung entered showbiz at the age of 13, her fascination with Cantonese opera compelling her to join a troupe, playing bit roles while studying under superstar Yam Kim-fai. Gradually working her way up the opera ranks, she also crossed over into film and made her screen debut in 1953.
She appeared in a wide variety of films, from opera flicks with historical backdrops to comedies in contemporary settings to martial arts movies that feature physical skills honed from years of opera performances. Her acting versatility found her assuming many types of roles, from good girls to wicked queens, in comic modes or in serious gear. She retired from Cantonese cinema in 1970, only to return in 1987 when she started her fruitful second career as a character actress.
Yam Bing-yee was born in Macau and entered Cantonese opera at age eleven. She trained under her cousin, famed opera star Yam Kim-fai, starting with small roles and eventually earning the honor as Erbang Huadan, The Queen of Second Lead Actresses. She made her film debut in 1948 and had appeared in over 200 films, many of them opera films with historical settings. Though she played mostly character parts like loyal maids and ignored cousins, she is widely respected for her acting range and her dedication to complementing fellow performers in unsung roles.
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