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Bai Ling was born in Chengdu, People's Republic of China on October 10, 1966. She is a Chinese-born American actress known for her work in films such as The Crow, Red Corner and Wild Wild West, and in TV series such as Entourage and Lost. In 2011 she appeared in the fifth season of the VH1 reality television series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, which documented her recovery from alcohol addiction. She speaks both English and Mandarin fluently. Her father, Bai Yuxiang (白玉祥), was a musician in the People's Liberation Army, and later a music teacher. Her mother, Chen Binbin (陈彬彬), was a dancer, stage actress, and a literature teacher in Sichuan University. Ling's maternal grandfather was a military officer of the Kuomintang army, and thus was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. In the early 1980s, Bai Ling's parents divorced, and later remarried. Her mother remarried to the writer Xu Chi (徐迟), renowned for his report titled Goldbach's Conjecture, about Chinese mathematician Chen Jingrun. Bai Ling has one older sister named Bai Jie (白洁), who works for the Chinese tax bureau, and a younger brother Bai Chen (白陈), who emigrated to Japan and works for an American company. Ling has described herself as a very shy child who found that she best expressed herself through acting and performing. During the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, she learned how to perform by participating in Eight model plays, at her elementary school shows. After her graduation from middle school, Ling was sent to do labor work at Shuangliu (双流), a county near Chengdu, where the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is located.
She soon passed the People's Liberation Army exams, and became an 'artist soldier' in Nyingchi Prefecture, Tibet, where she served from the age of 14 until she was 17. Her main activity there was entertaining in the musical theater. She also served briefly as an Army nurse. Ling later stated that during her time in Tibet she, along with other female performers, was regularly plied with alcohol and sexually abused by older male Chinese officers, including one instance of rape that led to a pregnancy, which she was forced to terminate with an abortion. She cites this period of sexual abuse for her later struggles with alcohol addiction. Subsequently, Ling spent some time in a mental hospital. Soon after her release from the hospital, Ling joined People's Art Theater of Chengdu, and became a professional actress. Her performance as a young man in the stage play Yueqin and Little Tiger drew the attention of movie director Teng Wenji (滕文骥), which gained her the first movie role she ever did in On The Beach in 1985, as a village girl who becomes a factory worker and struggled against her father's will for her to marry her cousin. In later years, she appeared in several movies. She temporarily moved to New York in 1991 to attend the New York University film department as a visiting scholar, but later obtained a special visa that allowed her to remain in the United States until she became a citizen in 1999.
Ling had previously appeared in several Chinese movies, but in 1984, Ling appeared as a fishing village girl in the movie On the Beach (海滩). Later she filmed several other movies, including Suspended Sentence (缓期执行), Yueyue (月月), Tears in Suzhou (泪洒姑苏) without attracting much attention. She became famous after playing a girl with a psychological disorder who has an affair with her doctor, in the film Arc Light (弧光) directed by Zhang Junzhao (张军钊). She attended Moscow International Film Festival in 1989. Since coming to the United States in 1991, she has appeared in a number of American movies. Red Corner, shot in 1997, could be considered her break-out role in English language films. Bai Ling first gained the attention of audiences and critics alike when she won the coveted lead role opposite Richard Gere in Jon Avnet's "Red Corner". She received numerous accolades including the prestigious Breakthrough Performance Award from the National Board of Review. She also garnered the Discovery Star awarded by the Hollywood Women's Press Club for their Golden Apple Awards. While developing her remarkable facility with the English language, Bai Ling has worked with prestigious filmmakers such as Oliver Stone in "Nixon", George Lucas in "Star Wars III", Will Smith in "Wild Wild West", Spike Lee in "She Hates Me", Jodie Foster in "Anna the King", Ang Lee in the "Wedding Banquet" Alex Proya's "The Crow", Angelina Jolie in "Sky Captain World of Tomorrow", and Luc Besson's French movie "Taxi 3". Also Bai starred in Terrence Malik's broadway show “Sansho the Bailiff”. Bai Ling dazzled audiences with her portrayal of the sexy, mysterious Achara in the hit TV series “Lost”, and intrigued audiences with her seductive exhilarating role in HBO's “Entourage”
She was named one of the People Magazine 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 1998. She appeared in the Chris Isaak music video Please in 1998. She shaved off her hair, which was longer than 36 inches, or about 90 centimeters in length for her role in Anna and the King, and is widely known in Thailand as "Tuptim", her character's name from the film, even though the movie is officially banned because of its depiction of the King of Siam. She filmed scenes for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in 2005 as Senator Bana Breemu, but her role was cut during editing. She claimed that this was because she posed nude in the June 2005 issue of Playboy Magazine, whose appearance on newsstands coincided with the May 2005 release of the movie. But, director George Lucas denied this, stating that the cut had been made more than a year earlier. Her scenes were included in the "deleted scenes" feature of the DVD release. In 2004, Ling starred in independent filmmaker Fruit Chan's Dumplings and her performance earned her the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Supporting Actress. In the same year she had been critically accaimed for her performance in another independent movie, The Beautiful Country, with Nick Nolte, by Hans Petter Moland. Later in 2005, Ling was a cast member on the VH1 program called But Can They Sing?. The show gave several non-singer celebrities an opportunity to sing on every episode and then allowed the audience and home viewers to vote off one contestant each week. Bai Ling was most famous for her raunchy outfits and her performances of Madonna's "Like a Virgin" and The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated". Ling was eliminated just before the grand finale but was invited back in the final week for a special performance of Divinyls' "I Touch Myself".
In 2007, she starred as Coco in the film adaptation of the controversial Chinese contemporary novel, Shanghai Baby, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and she appeared in one episode ("Stranger in a Strange Land") of the show Lost. Ling made a guest appearance on an episode of Entourage titled China Town. She played a stunt co-ordinator named Li Lei, who sleeps with Vincent Chase played by Adrian Grenier. On February 14, 2008, Bai Ling was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport for shoplifting two magazines and a package of batteries. It was an "emotionally crazy" day, Ling explained to E! News. She was coping with the "huge problem of breaking up before Valentine's Day with whom she deemed the wrong boyfriend."
She also wrote on her blog after the incident: "Life happens to you whether you like it or not, sometimes I feel you have to be so brave to stand in front of the world, and just hope that people will have a tender heart towards you."
On March 5, 2008 she pleaded guilty to the charge of disturbing the peace. She was fined $200 or $700 including the fine and penalties. In a 2009 interview, Ling claimed that she is from the moon, where her grandmother lives.
"I'm not really in reality. I'm in my own universe and my mind is a million miles somewhere else," she stated, further explaining, "Why I feel like I come from the moon is because my mother told me I was found somewhere."
She believes that when she looks up at the moon, she can often spot her grandmother there, still living in her childhood home.
Bai Ling was voted one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world by People Magazine, and received the Spirit Diversity Award by The Hollywood Motion Picture Association. She appeared in the film "Southland Tales", directed by Richard Kelly and was in competition at Cannes Film Festival. She has just completed 8 movies lately and most proudly worked with Mr. Taylor Hackford in "Love Ranch", co-starring with Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci which premiered in the US. And her crazy role in worldwide release Lionsgate comedy action " Crank 2" co- star with Jason Statham. And just finished her first 3D film "Back 2 Hell". She made her CD debut with her first single called "REHAB" out on iTunes now: itunes.apple.com. Her first book called "Naked in Tibet" will be published soon and was an official jury member in San Sebastian International Film Festival in Spain along with Mrs. Frances McDormand from September 15th to 25th 2011. Her films are available online - Bai Ling Films at Amazon. Regarding her public image and troubles over the years, she stated:
"I accidentally or innocently destroyed the beautiful Bai Ling that everybody loved - that beautiful, talented actress. Instead, the media brought me out as this crazy slut showing her nipples everywhere. I become this character the pop culture Hollywood machine created. Somehow, I become a victim to that image." Ling at times has described herself as bisexual.
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