(Ting Pui, Ding Pei, Betty Ting Pei, Tang Mei Li)
A well known Shaw Brothers actress in the 1960's and 70's, Betty Ting Pei acted in
dramas, comedies, musicals and martial arts films. The sultry Taiwanese sex bomb
often played mistress roles and shot many bedroom scenes in her career. Betty was
a regular of director Inoue Umetsugu, for whom she performed in the musicals
The Millionaire Chase with Lily Ho and Chin Ping, The Yellow Muffler with
Tsung Hua, Irene Chen and Chun Pui., and the 'spy-fi' movie The Brain Stealers
with Peter Chen Ho and Lily Ho.
Betty Ting Pei's real name is Tang Mei Li. She adopted the stage name Ting Pei after
signing with Shaw Brothers in January 1967. Prior to moving her career from Taiwan to
Hong Kong, she starred in six movies for the China Motion Picture Corporation.
Shaw Brothers director Peter Pan Lei spotted the young talent, and recruited her to
play a dance hostess in his film The Purple Shell (1967). Already known in Taiwan,
Shaw Brothers held a press conference to introduce her to Hong Kong audiences. She
then began this new phase in her career with a larger role as a rich heiress in Pan's
Tomorrow is Another Day.
Sporting a brown tinted beavertail bob and bellbottoms, Ting Pei left Shaw Brothers by
1973 and became a free agent, continuing to make films in her native Taiwan as well as
Hong Kong. She starred with Ko Chuen Hsiung and Nora Miao in The Changing Clouds,
a Taiwanese romance, visited Bruce Lee in Rome while he filmed Way of the Dragon in the
Coliseum, and traveled Europe. Despite her efforts, it is for her relationship with that singular
kung fu star, and not her acting, that her name is most recognized outside of Asia.
According to press reports, Bruce Lee was going over the Game of Death script in Betty's
apartment when he requested some aspirin to alleviate a headache. Betty, who was slated to
co-star in the film, had planned to have dinner with Bruce, Golden Harvest CEO Raymond
Chow, and actor George Lazenby afterwards. She gave him some prescription equagesic
and Bruce then went to sleep in a bedroom.
When Bruce never awoke, Betty called an ambulance and Lee was rushed to the hospital,
where he was pronounced dead. Due to the mysterious circumstances of his death,
rumors of an alleged affair between the two have persisted ever since.
After Lee's death, Ting resumed her career in film. She appeared in Golden Harvest's Hui
Brothers comedy Games Gamblers Play (1974), which broke box office records when it
was released; and had passionate love scenes with former James Bond actor George
Lazenby in the Australian co-production Stoner, also with Jimmy Wang Yu and
Angela Mao Ying. Betty played Tang Ching's woman in the The Looks of Hong Kong,
a social comedy directed by Stanley Fung Shui Fan which also starred Hsu Feng, Lydia
Shum and Hu Chin.
The Hong Kong magazines and tabloids continued to speculate about the true nature of
Betty's relationship with Bruce Lee. Rather than deny claims of a sexual relationship, Betty
fueled them further by producing and starring in an exploitative bio-pic, Bruce Lee and I (1976).
Starring fellow Shaw star Danny Lee as Bruce and directed by John Lo Mar, the film purported
to tell the "true" story of Bruce's relationship with Ting Pei. "How he lived! How loved! How
he died! proclaimed the international movie poster of the film, which was distributed by
After marrying and then divorcing actor-producer Charles Heung, she co-starred in another
gambling picture. Scripted by a young Wong Jing, Mahjong Heroes (1981) also starred
Patrick Tse, Kwan Hoi San and Chin Siu Ho. By 1985 Betty appeared in her last film,
My Name Ain't Suzie, retired from show business and became a Buddhist.
Now, 30 years after Bruce Lee's death, Betty Ting Pei has re-emerged once again to tell her
side of the story of her true relationship with Bruce Lee. A tell-all autobiography is planned,
and this time, Betty promises, she'll deliver the goods.
Betty Ting Pei biography © Hong Kong Movie World
Betty Ting Pei Filmography
The Purple Shell
|1968||Tomorrow is Another Day|
|1968||The Brain Stealers|
|1969||The Singing Escort|
|1969||The Millionaire Chase|
|1970||Apartment For Ladies|
|1971||The Night is Young|
|1972||The Yellow Muffler|
|1972||The 14 Amazons|
|1972||Stranger in Hong Kong|
|1972||Madness of Love|
|1973||Love Across the Seas|
|1973||Adultery, Chinese Style|
|1973||The Call Girls|
|1973||The Rendezvous of Warriors|
|1974||The Changing Clouds (TAIWAN)|
|1974||The Chinese Godfather|
|1974||The Virgin Mart|
|1974||The Looks of Hong Kong (aka Life in Hong Kong)|
|1974||Games Gamblers Play|
|1975||A Debt of Crime|
|1975||Old Master Q|
|1976||Bruce Lee and I (also pr) *|
|1978||My Darling Girls|
|1978||The Mysterious Footworks of Kung Fu (also pr)|
|1982||The 82 Tenants|
|1985||My Name Ain't Suzie|
pr = producer
* = aka Bruce Lee: His Last Days, His Last Nights
Coming Soon: Betty Ting Pei Gallery
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