Lily Chen Foster: Ac­tress plays many dif­fer­ent roles BIO

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By MAY ZHOU in Hous­ton mayzhou@chi­nadai­

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.

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