Hong Kong novelist and screenwriter Ni Kuang, who penned some 300 screenplays including The One-Armed Swordsman and The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin, has died. According to local media, he passed away on Sunday at age 87.
Tenky Tin Kai-man, actor and spokesman of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers, confirmed Ni’s passing to the South China Morning Post. The cause of death was reportedly skin cancer.
Hailed as a giant in the Chinese literary world, Ni rose to fame with the New Adventures Of Wisely series which was first published in Chinese daily Ming Pao in 1963. He specialized in martial arts, wuxia and science fiction.
Beginning in 1965, Ni branched out into screenwriting, often working for the Shaw Brothers. His credits include 1967’s The One-Armed Swordsman; 1975 superhero movie Infra-Man; and 1978’s The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin and Enter The Fat Dragon (the latter directed by and starring Sammo Hung); along with hundreds of others.
He is also widely associated with Bruce Lee-starrers The Big Boss and Fist Of Fury. Although the eventual writing credit on 1971’s The Big Boss went to director Lo Wei, Ni created the character of Cheng Chao-an portrayed by Lee in his first major role. Similarly, Lo is credited with 1972’s Fist Of Fury which also starred Lee as Ni creation Chen Zhen, a character who would go on to be played by such actors as Jet Li and Donnie Yen.
Ni wrote some 140 Wisely novels about a man who encounters strange creatures and aliens on futuristic adventures around the world. The stories have been adapted into movies, TV series, radio dramas and comics.
Ni won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2012 and the Jubilee Honour Award from the Hong Kong Screenwriters’ Guild in 2018.
Ni was born in Shanghai in 1935 and smuggled himself into Hong Kong in 1957; he never returned to the mainland.