The life story of Michael Chow, known as AKA MR. CHOW, is a vibrant journey of resilience, creativity, as well as self-discovery. Born Zhou Yinghua in Shanghai, he overcame childhood trauma, personal loss, and prejudice to become an actor, artist, and successful restaurateur. Embracing his Chinese roots, he found fame and fortune in the West before returning to painting as the artist M. Chow. His inspiring tale showcases how one man triumphed over adversity to achieve greatness.

So, in this intimate interview, he shares his indomitable spirit and personal philosophy, overcoming early hardships to build a business empire. His restaurants showcased Chinese food and culture, attracting renowned artists, film stars, musicians, designers, and models.

The film delves into Chow’s personal journey, grappling with the loss of his parents and home at a young age. This longing shaped his work, personal life, and relentless pursuit of success. Through archival footage, animation, and photographs, AKA MR. CHOW reveals a man of boundless creativity and vitality, championing artists and redefining himself in his “fifth act” of life.



The documentary features interviews with the following people:

  • Artists Peter Blake, Julian Schnabel, and Ed Ruscha
  • Family members Cecilia Zhou, Maximillian, China, and Vanessa
  • Author Fran Lebowitz
  • Film producer Brian Grazer
  • Friends, colleagues, and art world experts

The documentary also includes images of celebrities as varied as Mae West, Calvin Klein, and Andy Warhol.

Nick Hooker directs the HBO Documentary Film “AKA MR. CHOW,” a Pulse Films Production. Diane Quon produces, and Jean Tsien edits and writes. Graydon Carter, Annabelle Dunne, as well as Jean Tsien serve as executive producers. Marisa Clifford and Miranda Soto are executive producers for Pulse Films, while Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller, and Sara Rodriguez are executive producers for HBO.

The HBO Original Documentary aka Mr. Chow premieres on Sunday, October 22, 2023 at 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT on on HBO and will be available to stream on Max.