Simu Liu, (born April 19, 1989, Harbin, China), is an Canadian actor, stuntperson, author, and advocate. After spending many years as a moderately successful actor, Liu became a celebrity with the blockbuster Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021). He portrayed the titular martial arts superhero and was the first actor of Asian descent to play a lead role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise.
Liu was born in Harbin, China, and was raised by his grandparents while his parents, both engineers, pursued their education. When Liu was five years old, he left the happy childhood he had with his grandparents and moved to Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, to live with his mother and father. He had difficulty adjusting to the culture and to his parents’ high expectations. Liu consequently had a troubled adolescence.
Liu graduated from business school in 2011 and began working as an accountant. He was laid off after a few months and decided to break from the traditional path his parents had urged him to take and pursue a career in acting and stunt work. Liu worked steadily in movies, television shows, short films, and music videos. In 2015 he had a recurring role in the Canadian crime series Blood and Water, and starting in 2016 he had a main role in the critically acclaimed television show Kim’s Convenience (the series ended in 2021). For the rest of the decade, Liu continued to build his acting portfolio, taking small roles in such TV series as Taken (2017), Orphan Black (2017), and Fresh Off the Boat (2019). Continue reading from Encyclopedia Britannica
The Chinese-Canadian actor played kung fu master Shang-Chi in the 2021 film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”
This year, the 33-year-old actor released a memoir: "We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story." In the book, he chronicles his journey from his native China — as a Canadian immigrant, then failed accountant and finally successful superhero actor.
His story starts with his parents, who were teenagers during China’s Cultural Revolution. At the time, the government shuttered universities across the country, so many students would go from high school “into the fields to learn the value of hard labor,” Liu says. Continue reading from WBUR