Qin Yi, an actress and recipient of the national honorary title "People's Artist", passed away at age 100 in Shanghai on May 9, 2022. (Photo/For China Daily)
It is a sad moment for loyal movie fans.
Qin Yi, an actress and recipient of the national honorary title "People's Artist", passed away at age 100 in Shanghai on Monday, a huge loss to the Chinese film industry after the departure of director Huang Shuqin on April 21 at 82 and actor Liu Zifeng on May 7 at 83.
Qin died at Huadong Hospital, at 4:08 am on Monday. Respecting the wishes of her family, the funeral will be simple, according to an obituary released by the Shanghai Film Group Corp.
Qin, who was born in Shanghai in 1922, grew up a cinema buff and turned her passion for the silver screen into a lifelong career, starting from her debut role in the movie Hao Zhang Fu (A Good Husband) in 1939.
During early interviews with domestic media, Qin once recalled she had become a self-made actress, polishing her acting chops by performing in many movies and stage shows.
Acting in more influential films produced after the founding of New China, Qin played a string of popular roles in classics ranging from Railway Guerrilla in 1956 to Basketball Player No 5 in 1957 and Song of Youth in 1959, propelling her to nationwide fame and making her an icon of the older generation.
With the rise of television in China in the 1980s, Qin also appeared in major roles in a variety of TV dramas, accumulating more applause, such as for the 1982 hit Under the Roofs of Shanghai, for which she won the best actress award at the first China TV Golden Eagle Award ceremony.
A devoted artist who was part of China's century-old cinema history, Qin kept a passion for the big screen over eight decades, exemplified by her recent movies like the fantasy epic Legend of the Demon Cat and the biography The Beautiful Kokonor Lake, both released in 2017.
Deemed as synonymous with Shanghai-style elegance, Qin had been part of the cultural exchanges between China and the United States, exemplified by her reception and treatment of Hollywood giant Gregory Peck during his visit to Shanghai in 1987.
Describing Qin as one of the most iconic Chinese actresses in the 20th century, Shi Chuan, deputy chairman of the Shanghai Film Association, described Qin as a "national treasure" with her decadeslong contribution to the domestic movie industry.
Shi, who met Qin many times, said Qin was an adorable and strong person who was always optimistic, despite a challenging personal life.
The Chengdu-based Cover News said Qin took care of her husband, Jin Yan－who spent the rest of his life battling a severe stomach ailment－for more than 20 years.
Her son, Jin Jie, was diagnosed with a serious mental disorder when he was 16. Qin looked after him for 40-plus years before he died in 2007 at age 59.
Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger purchased one of Jin's paintings, titled Hengshan Park, for $25,000 in an auction in 2000, praising Qin as a great mother, Cover News reported.
Zhu Xijuan, a veteran actress known for the 1960 movie The Red Detachment of Women, said Qin was not only an excellent performer but also a moral idol who inspired her and fellow actors.
Recalling her first meeting with Qin during a rehearsal of the stage show Thunderstorm, a tribute to New China's 10th founding anniversary in 1959, Zhu said Qin was like a mother in always caring for the youngsters there, said a report by Beijing Daily.
A lot of celebrities and movie fans have gathered online to mourn Qin's death, with most of her fellow stars such as Huang Xuan and Sun Qian looking back fondly on their moments together as well as highlighting her donation of 200,000 yuan ($29,740), the majority of her savings, to help people hit by the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.