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Born Hsia Ling-Jun (夏令正) in Hong Kong (Jul 26, 1957), Yuen studied at the Peking Opera School between the ages of five to 16. In 1973, Yuen became a stunt double for Bruce Lee. He was one of the "fake" Bruce Lee's in Game of Death, doing the acrobatics and stunts that the Bruce Lee "body double" (Taekwondo expert, Tai Chung Kim) was unable to perform. Yuen continued working as a stuntman, doubling for actors in Hong Kong action films. In the late 1970's and early 80's, thanks to his good friends and former classmates, Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan, he also began working as an actor. He was the star of several successful films in the early '80's, notably The Prodigal Son (directed by Sammo Hung) and Dreadnaught (directed by Yuen Woo-ping). He later co-starred alongside his Peking Opera "brothers", Chan and Hung, in Wheels on Meals and Dragons Forever, and also appeared in smaller roles in films such as Hung's Lucky Stars trilogy.

During his early acting period, he adopted the anglicized name Bill Yuen for use on the Hong Kong films that were released internationally. However, recognizing the growing success of Jackie Chan, Golden Harvest were keen to give him a similar name, and on some international film prints, he was credited as Jimmy Yuen. Both anglicized names were later dropped.

Yuen's acting roles waned somewhat in the early 1990's, but films such 1997's Hero and 1999's A Man Called Hero saw him return to the big screen. In 2000, Yuen went to the United States to work with Jackie Chan as the fight choreographer on Shanghai Noon. In 2001, he co-starred alongside Sammo Hung in The Avenging Fist. Yuen also starred in a more comedic role in the 2002 Japan-HK film No Problem 2. He is best known for his acrobatic action scenes which often overshadow the work of his more famous co-stars, especially in films such as Eastern Condors (with Sammo Hung) and Dragons Forever. In most of his roles he plays inexperienced and foolish young men, or eccentrics caught up in the schemes of his co-stars.

As of 1984, he is married to DiDi Phang Sau-Ha and has two children.

In 2005, he starred in a TV series called "Real Kung Fu", which gave him the opportunity to demonstrate his kung fu skills.

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