Lily Chen Foster: Actress plays many different roles BIO
It not easy to define who Lily Chen Foster is, for she has played many different significant roles throughout her life: movie star, community activist and bridge-builder between China and the United States.
To herself, Foster (Chinese name Chen Ye) is a mother to two sons, devoted daughter to her parents, and wife to Charles Foster, attorney and chairman of the Asia Society Texas Center.
In her husband’s words, “she gives 100% to everything”.
When word came that Foster was selected as one of Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women of 2014 by Houston Woman magazine, it came as no surprise to the people who know her.
Foster’s life is not without dramatic turns. She was sent to the Chinese countryside as an educated urban youth for re-education in the 1970s. On a bus trip to visit her home in Shanghai, she was spotted by a film producer.
When she returned to the farm, a few mysterious black automobiles appeared, and she was called out to be examined head to toe. Before she knew it, she became an actress at the famous Shanghai Film Studio. She was assigned to play the leading role in the first film she appeared in.
After playing leading roles in a few big-budget movies such as The Burning of Yuanmingyuan and Reign Behind a Curtain, Foster became a household name in China in the early 1980s. She is best remembered for her depiction of different empresses of the Qing Dynasty.
In the mid-1980s, Foster went to the US to seek greater artistic opportunities and to pursue a master’s of drama degree at the University of Houston. She met her future husband, who often jokes that he discovered her before Hollywood did and made her his wife.
After becoming a wife, then a mother,
Actress, community activist
Lily Chen Foster talks about her passion for charity.