Filmmaker King Hu had great influence on Hong Kong martial arts films. It was he who popularized the use of lightning-cut montage to make action sequences more exciting. He also helped popularize the genre with the addition of humor, something that greatly influenced such directors as Tsui Hark and John Woo. Born near Beijing, young Hu was raised in Hong Kong (he had been visiting there when the Communists took over mainland China and was not allowed to return). He broke into films as a set painter. He then worked as an actor and a writer as well as writing and producing radio shows for the Voice of America. In the early '60s, Hu began directing martial arts actioners for Shaw Brothers. In total, Hu directed 16 films. In the West, Hu is best known for A Touch of Zen (1973) which won an award at Cannes. King Hu spent the last decade of his life living in Los Angeles. He was visiting friends in Taipei and preparing to direct The Battle of Ono when he suffered a fatal stroke.