Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh Choo-Kheng (born 6 August 1962- ) is a Malaysian actress, best known for performing her own stunts in the Hong Kong action films that brought her to fame in the early 1990s. Born in Ipoh, Malaysia, she was chosen by People as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" in 1997.
She is best known in the Western world for her roles in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, playing Wai Lin, and the multiple Academy Award-winning Chinese-language martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, for which she was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in 2000. In 2008, the film critic website Rotten Tomatoes ranked her the greatest action heroine of all time. In 2009, she was listed by People magazine as the only Asian actress as one of the "35 All-Time Screen Beauties".
She is credited as Michelle Khan in some of her earlier films. This alias was chosen by the D&B studio who thought it might be more marketable to international and western audiences. Yeoh later preferred using her real name.
Yeoh was born to a Malaysian Chinese family in Ipoh, Malaysia. Her parents are Janet Yeoh and Yeoh Kian Geik, a lawyer and MCA politician. She is a Hokkien. She was keen on dance from an early age, beginning ballet at the age of four. At the age of 15, she moved with her parents to England, where she was enrolled in a boarding school. Yeoh later studied at the Royal Academy of Dance in London, majoring in ballet. However, a spinal injury prevented her from becoming a professional ballet dancer, and she transferred her attention to choreography and other arts. She later received a B.A. degree in Creative Arts with a minor in Drama.
In 1983, at the age of 20, Yeoh won the Miss Malaysia beauty pageant. She represented Malaysia at the Queen of the Pacific 1983 beauty pageant which was held in Australia and won the crown. She was also Malaysia's representative at the 1983 Miss World pageant in London. From there, she appeared in a television commercial with Jackie Chan which caught the attention of a fledgling Hong Kong film production company, D&B Films. Yeoh started her film career acting in action and martial arts films such as Yes, Madam in 1985, after which she did most of her own stunts. The D&B Group in Hong Kong was run by Dickson Poon. Yeoh married Poon in 1987 and retired from acting. After the couple divorced in 1992, Yeoh returned to acting.
On 22 June 2011, Yeoh was deported from Burma, allegedly over a new film The Lady, in which Yeoh portrays Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Yeoh was married to Hong Kong entrepreneur Dickson Poon, who owns businesses such as Harvey Nichols and Charles Jourdan. She is a Buddhist.
In March 2008, she visited Vietnam to film a documentary for the Asian Injury Prevention Foundation (AIPF). On 31 July 2008, she confirmed news that she was engaged to Jean Todt, a leading figure in motor racing, during an interview with Craig Ferguson on CBS's The Late Late Show. Yeoh is also a patron of the Save China's Tigers project committed to protect the endangered South China Tiger.