Cynthia Rothrock is an American martial artist and actress who specializes in martial arts films such as Yes, Madam; China O’Brien and Guardian Angel. Rothrock’s ass-kicking ability spans further than the silver screen as she holds five Black Belts in various Eastern martial arts including Tae Kwon Do and Eagle Claw. Her career has been so successful that she was even an inspiration for the video game character Sonya Blade in the Mortal Kombat franchise.
Rothrock was thirteen years old when she began taking Karate lessons at a private gym in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Her natural talent for martial arts was quickly noticed by her instructor and was encouraged to enter competitions to showcase her abilities. While at the time she thought she’d never make a career out of her passion, she would later on earn a coveted spot into the Black Belt Hall of Fame, Kung-Fu Insider Hall of Fame and become the undefeated World Karate Champion in both forms and weapons competition from 1981 to 1985.
With her martial arts career skyrocketing, she was picked up by Golden Harvest who had observed her forms and maneuvers in her various exhibitions with the West Coast Demonstration Team in Northern California. Golden Harvest signed a contract with Rothrock and two years later she made her first martial arts movie for them, Yes, Madam also starring Michelle Yeoh, which proved to be a box office success. Rothrock ended up staying in Hong Kong and completing another seven films there, becoming the first Caucasian actress to ever have a lead role in a Chinese film as the heroine and one of the few Caucasian actresses to achieve stardom in Hong Kong before achieving success in her own country.
Attempting to broaden her appeal to action films back in the U.S.A, Rothrock made her first film on American turf, Martial Law and for the next ten years she led a successful career in kung-fu film. With a roster of well over thirty movies, Cynthia Rothrock is one beauty that definitely packs a punch and can easily be called one of the most successful stars of the century.