Maggie Cheung (Chinese name Cheung Man Yuk) was born in Hong Kong on 20 September 1964. She emigrated with her family to England at the age of 8. In England Maggie lived in Kent and after completing her secondary school education worked in a bookshop for a year before returning to Hong Kong.

She then worked as a part-time model and entered the Miss Hong Kong contest where she was runner up. This led to contracts with both TVB and Shaw Brothers Studios. After appearances in several drama series and low budget comedies, Maggie left the Shaw Brothers organisation, appearing alongside Jackie Chan in Police Story in 1985.

A turning point in Maggie's career came in 1988 when she was cast in Wong Kar-Wai's As Tears Go By with Andy Lau and Jacky Cheung. She was nominated for Best Actress at the Annual Hong Kong Film Awards and soon came to be regarded as more than just a pretty face.

There followed a prodigious output of work up until 1994 when Maggie took a well earned rest. She resumed her career in 1996 with Irma Vep and Comrades, Almost a Love Story. In 1997 she starred in Chinese Box with Gong Li and Jeremy Irons and also Beijing Summer.