Cynthia Rothrock is a martial arts expert and athlete, who went on to become a film actress, starring in a number of highly successful B action movies. She first made a name as an action actress in Hong Kong before going on to wow audiences in her home turf. At the time of her popularity, she was well-known as the “Queen of Martial Arts films”.
Rothrock began her passion for martial arts when she was 13 years old. At the time when most teenagers were figuring their interests, Rothrock knew martial arts was her passion, and she pursued it relentlessly. Over the years, she won several competitions. During the 80s, when men and women competed in the same categories, Rothrock won a World Championship for the form and weapon category. She went on to win a Grand Master, bagging awards in five categories.
To date, Rothrock has seven belts in martial arts: Tang Soo Do, Taekwondo, Karate, Eagle Claw, Wu Shu, Northern Shaolin, and Pai Lum Tao Kung Fu. Her latest black belt was that for the Tang Soo Do, her 8th degree and tested by Grand Master Robert Kovaleski.
Cynthia Rothrock’s acting career started in 1983 when Golden Harvest discovered her. Fast forward 2 years, and she was casted in her first action movie, Yes, Madam alongside Michelle Yeoh. The movie, which was a box office success, made a household name of Rothrock in Hong Kong. She stayed in the country doing 7 more films. Rothrock was credited as 羅芙洛 or Fu Lok Law in her Hong Kong films.
To expand Rothrock’s appeal in her home country, she was given a co-starring role alongside Chad McQueen for Martial Law. The movie was a hit! Golden Harvest went on to financed two movies in 1990 for her to star in: China O’Brien and a sequel of the movie. Hit after hit, Rothrock appeared in several more action movies. Aside from those mentioned above, her most notable films include No Retreat, No Surrender, Honor & Glory, Guardian Angel, Lady Dragon, Tiger Claws, Irresistible Force, and Eye for an Eye. At Rothrock career’s peak, she starred in 30 films.
Trivia: Sonya Blade, the female character in the Mortal Kombat game, was patterned after Cynthia Rothrock.
Cynthia Rothrock’s career spanned decades. She made several more movies, a few TV appearances, and a voice over before she decided to retire in 2004. She now operates a California martial arts studio, giving private lessons.
Cynthia Rothrock has appeared in some films in recent years, but she has remained in a semi-retirement status, spending time with her daughter Skyler Sophia and running her martial arts studio.