Real name: Leon Lai
Birthdate: December 11, 1966
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Leon Lai Ming, MH (黎明; pinyin: Lí Míng; Cantonese: lai4 ming4; born December 11, 1966) is a Hong Kong-based actor and a Cantopop singer.
Born in Beijing, China as Lai Chit (黎捷), Leon was the only child in his family who were originally from Meixian(Hakka). His parents divorced when he was four. He migrated with his Malaysian father, Lai Xinsheng to Hong Kong during the Cultural Revolution in China. At the age of fifteen, he attended King's Way Princeton College (England) and returned back to Hong Kong at the age of seventeen. Before he became a singer in Hong Kong, he worked as a salesperson for a mobile phone company. He uses the stage name "Li Ming" or "Lai Ming" which literally means "dawn".
After getting the second-runner-up in the 5th New Talent Singing Awards, held by the TVB in 1986, he went to be taught singing by Dai Si Zong (戴思聰) and in the same year, he also obtained an artist contract from Capital Artist. However he didn't get to release any albums for four years. As a result, his teacher, Dai, arranged to have him signed a contract with Polygram (now known as Universal Music) and then got the contract with Capital Artist annulled after some negotiation.
In the early stages of his career, he mainly sang cantopop, but due to the influence of producer Mark Lui, he expanded his repertoire to include popular electronic songs with compelling music videos. In 2002, he was selected to sing "Charged up", the 2002 World Cup theme song for the Greater China Region.
In the period before he participated in the New Talent Singing Awards, he enrolled in the ATV actor training class, however he didn't complete the training with no apparent reason. Then, he applied for admission to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts but his application was rejected.
In 2002, Lai took the spotlight at the Golden Horse Awards, the Chinese-language version of the Oscars in Taiwan. He won Best Actor for Three: Going Home. Leon played a minor role as Superintendent Yeung Kam Wing in Infernal Affairs III in 2003. In 2004, Lai starred with Faye Wong in the romantic movie Leaving Me, Loving You, the story of which he co-wrote with Wilson Yip and he was also the creative/production controller of the movie. However, the movie was a flop. The movie raked in HK$ 10,529,501 in the box office.
Leon tryst with serious charity work started when his father had carcinoma of the rectum at an advanced stage. The doctors said he was incurable. But when his father went through an operation, he prayed to the Buddha to let the operation be successful and he will do a lot of good things to thank heaven. The operation was successful and his father got cured. So when the cancer foundation and the U.N. organization approached him for help, he started getting involved in charity work actively.
Ever since his decision not to receive any music award in HK, he has not appeared on the TVB Jade Gold Solid Awards Ceremony even as a guest, but in order to secure more funds for charity, he agreed to perform in the ceremony as a guest performer on Jan 8, 2005. Leon co-operated with Mark Lui to compose the song "8858". The song will be used as the promotional song of the China Children and Teenagers' Fund (CCTF). The title of song means "Help me" and the number "8858" represent the SMS number people can use to donate the money.