Zhou Wenzhu 周文珠 was a native of Zhenhai, Zhejiang. She entered films via the Mingxing studio's film school, and with other Mingxing students made her first, uncredited screen appearance in 1922's "The King of Comedy Visits Shanghai." Although her first credited role was with Wang Hanlun in "An Orphan Saves his Grandfather," and actually made her film debut a bit earlier than Yin Mingzhu, Zhou Wenzhu never equaled their fame. This may have been because the majority of her early films were short features, but her personal life didn't help her career. After ending a relationship with an overseas Chinese returnee, she married her boss, actor-director Wang Cilong (younger brother of actor-director Wang Yuanlong). Husband and wife were both drug addicts, and their life together was on a steadily downward slope from the wedding day on, culminating in a divorce at the end of the 1930s (Wang Cilong had moved in with another woman). While he continued supporting Zhou and their child after that, Wang's drug use worsened, leading to his death in 1941, age 34. This terminated completely the financial support of his wife and child. She was unable to obtain any assistance from her former studio, and her own past drug use had left her physically and mentally incapable of making any sort of comeback. In the end, she was reduced to street begging, her child by the hand. Her ultimate fate is unrecorded.
Filmography (all acting):
The King of Comedy Visits Shanghai ... (uncredited)
An Orphan Saves his Grandfather ... Madame Huang
On a Stormy Night ... Yuqing
Tears on the Battlefield ... Huiru
Ma Jiefu ... Madame Yin
Mother's Happiness ... Mama [still photo, above right]
Cycles of Debt ...
Visiting the In-Laws... Zhou Meiyun
Transparent Shanghai ... Zhou Yunyu
The Beauty Trap ... Wu Guotai
Mutual Competition ...
Redressing a Grievance ... Liu's wife
Four Heroes of the Wang Family, pt.I ...
A Demon's Shadow in the Imperial Palace ...
The King of Money ... Kang Lin's mother
A Complicated Plot ... Meifang
Ma Zhenhua ... Ma Zhenhua
Secret History of the Qing Court ... Huifang
A Shanghai Dance Hostess ... Rose
Silver Gun Robber ... Zhou Ahmei
Four Heroes of the Wang Family, pt.II ... Wang Kejun / the beautiful concubine
Road to Riches ... Chen Liyun
Burning of the Red Lotus Temple, pts.XII, XIV ...
Circus Girl ... the circus girl
A Red Egg ...
Struggle Between Love and Desire ... Zhou Wanzhen
Hengniang ... Hengniang
A Free Soul ... Luo Lüniang
Two Galaxy Stars ...
Confronting the National Crisis Together ... first daughter-in-law
Hell at Sea ...
Give Back My Home ... Meili
Song at Midnight ... old woman
Youth on the March ...
Pan Qiaoyun ... Grandmother Hu
Under the Roofs of Shanghai
(actually filmed sometime before WW2, released in 1943)